Wednesday 31 August 2011

Guest Post on Haiku by Maeve O'Sullivan

A guest post from Maeve O'Sullivan first posted on

Haiku. This small two-syllable word conjures up a multitude of others: Japan. Nature. Short. Funny?

I have had the haiku bug for about fifteen years now, and it shows no sign of leaving my system. I am very enthusiastic about the form (some would say evangelical, though I’m not sure how that works if one is a Buddhist). In this guest post, I am going to try and communicate how they work, or how they work for me, more specifically because, like any other form of poetry or writing, views on ‘how to’ will differ from person to person.

You probably know that haiku originated as a stand-alone form in seventeenth century Japan. It was largely nature-based and often written by practitioners of Zen Buddhism, of whom Matsao Basho, ‘The Shakespeare of Haiku’, is the best-known. It remains hugely popular in Japan today, and that has been spreading worldwide since around a century ago when Ezra Pound and other Imagists were exploring eastern forms. Pound’s poem, ‘In a Station of the Metro’, published in 1913 in the journal Poetry, is regarded as something of a precursor of haiku in English: ‘

The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.

Basho himself has a famous haiku about a crow on a tree, one with which Pound may well have been familiar:

a crow
has settled on a bare branch
autumn evening.

But how do you go about writing haiku? Is it easier to write shorter poems than longer ones? The answer to the second question is: not necessarily, though it does depend on the writer as well.
Let’s get the syllable thing out of the way first, as it’s usually the first question that arises. In Japanese, haiku are generally arranged in a pattern of 5-7-5, i.e. 5 syllables (or word sections, to be more precise) in line one, seven in line two and five in line three. Easy, right? I’m afraid not! Since a syllable in English packs more in than a Japanese word-section, or so I’m told - I don’t speak Japanese – many writers of haiku in English prefer to use fewer than a total of seventeen syllables in their verses.
Somewhere between 10-14 is often considered to be the equivalent of the Japanese 5-7-5 system, although one is free to stick to the conventional 5-7-5 in English if one so chooses. In my experience of teaching haiku, I am very wary of anyone being slavish to the 5-7-5, especially when it results in a haiku that has been contrived for the sake of adding in extra syllables.
haiku anorak
hung up on syllable count
catching the moment.
Of course all haiku from the Japanese masters are read by us in English translation, so that can make the insistence on 5-7-5 even more forced. Some of these work okay, such as this translation of one by Issa:

in early spring rain
the ducks that were not eaten
are quacking happily.
Others work better without the constraint of the 5-7-5 in translation, such as this one by fellow haiku master Buson:
coolness -
separating from the bell,
the bell’s voice.
That’s the syllables out of the way. What else do we need to know? We need to know that haiku (haiku and not haikus is the plural of haiku) are not ditties, jokes or aphorisms. Haiku do not spring from ideas or
concepts, they should ideally come through the senses. This is the part that many regular poets struggle with. Some writers feel that their witty ideas and fertile imaginations need to be poured into this short form, but they’re the talents that actually need to be set aside.
However, once the first draft has been written down, the editing skills that are applied to all forms of poetry come into play in a similar way, albeit to a much reduced number of lines. To give an example of my own, the following haiku went from this first draft:

day of his death
soft autumn rain
after several phone calls
to this final one:
father’s death day
after hours of phone calls
soft November rain
The approach to writing haiku, therefore, is very different to that when writing poetry. I think I can say this because I have written and published both for fifteen years now, so it’s certainly true for me. It’s more important to be aware and mindful of your surroundings, be they urban or rural, indoor or outdoor, than to have clever concepts. Basho advised that one should become the pine while observing the pine, and so we as poets need to put our egos aside and take our cues from nature – both bucolic and human, by being in the moment and allowing sensations from all five senses in.

Traditional season words can be used, but are not de rigeur. Simple language should be used. James W. Hackett said ‘Remember that haiku is a finger pointing at the moon, and if the hand is bejewelled, we no longer see that to which it points,’ which is as good a guideline as any other.
Generally speaking, there are no similes, few metaphors, no rhymes, no titles and little punctuation. That’s a lot of ‘nos’, you might say, but do give it a try. You never know, you might also get the bug. Be warned, it’s very hard to shake off!
Maeve O’Sullivan is a media lecturer and a writer of haiku and poetry, and a member of Haiku Ireland (, The Poetry Divas Collective (@PoetryDivas) and the Hibernian Poetry Workshop. Her first solo collection of haiku, Initial Response, was launched in April ( You can find her on Twitter @maeveos

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Interesting Links

The hard working Seven Towers on how to publicise your book from

Five telltale signs of an amateur writer from a former editor at HarperCollins at The Art and Craft of Writing Creatively. To be honest, there's nothing I haven't heard before but maybe it's news to someone. She did say she could reject a manuscript in 8 seconds which is disheartening.

50 of poetry's most poignant lines here. Read 'em and weep.

Poems for politicians from the New York Times. Which would you choose?

Monday 29 August 2011

Brittle Star Magazine

Brittle Star is an international literary magazine that has been dedicated for a decade to publishing new poetry and short fiction. It has earned a reputation for providing a platform for writers at the beginning of their careers, many of whom have seen their work in print for the first time.

As well as great new poetry and fiction, the magazine has regular and inspiring critical features, including interviews with established writers (David Constantine, Jeremy Hooker, Mimi Khalvati, Galway Kinnell and more), close readings and in-depth articles on literature.

There's a review of one of the issues here that gives a flavour of the type of things they like. Of course, I recommend you ALWAYS buy a copy of a magazine before you submit to it. I do. ALWAYS. It's only polite (and sensible)

Brittle Star welcomes submissions of unpublished, original work in the following categories:

Poetry: 1 – 4 poems

Short fiction: 1 – 2 stories up to 2000 words each (double-line spaced)

Deadline for issue 30: 28 October 2011.

Please send to:

Brittle Star
PO Box 56108
E17 0AY

Link here

Sunday 28 August 2011

Interview with Galway Poet Kevin Higgins

First published on Poetic License at

Kevin Higgins the well known Galway poet graciously agreed to be interviewed about his journey to poetry and about the well known Poetry nights under the Over the Edge banner.

Thanks very much for agreeing to this interview and welcome to Could you introduce yourself to the readers please?
I was born in London in 1967 to Irish parents (both of whom were originally from County Galway). We moved back to Galway (City) in 1974; so I grew up mostly here. From the age of 15-27, I was an active member of Militant, the predecessor to Joe Higgins’s Socialist Party, both here in Galway and then later in London, where I was very involved in the anti-poll tax movement in the early nineties. I was chair of the local branch of the campaign Enfield Against The Poll Tax.
I moved back to Galway in 1994 and began writing poetry in late 1995. I’ve published three collections of poetry, ‘The Boy With No Face’ (Salmon, 2005); ‘Time Gentlemen, Please’ (Salmon, 2008) and ‘Frightening New Furniture’ (Salmon, 2010). I also have some poems in the Bloodaxe anthology, edited by Roddy Lumsden,Identity Parade: New British and Irish Poets’ (2010).

With my wife, Susan Millar DuMars, I co-organise Galway City’s literary events organisation, Over The Edge. I teach creative writing at Galway Technical Institute, at Westside Library locally and on the Brothers of Charity ‘Away With Words’ programme. I facilitate a range of poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre, have been Writer-in-Residence at Merlin Park Hospital since 2007 and am the poetry critic of The Galway Advertiser. I am, as you can see, far too busy most of the time.
How did you first get into poetry?
The impending world revolution I’d been hoping for had failed to materialise and I’d come face to face with the reality that most of the organisations on the far political left, such as the one I’d been a member of, were/are very dodgy outfits in terms of the way they run their affairs. 1995 was a kind of delayed ‘gap year’ for me.

I began writing poetry in late 1995 immediately after the divorce referendum campaign, in which I was very involved on the Yes side. I collapsed with a terrible flu at the end of that. And that was it, active politics was over for me from then on really. A man called Andy Johnston had lent me a computer. I started writing on that. The poems were terrible, of course. But I had great fun and took what I was doing immensely seriously. Maureen Gallagher, another Galway poet, gave me a book called ‘The Penguin Book of The Beats’ for my twenty ninth birthday in April 1996. And I was away, writing poems and reading poetry anthologies fairly voraciously too. I also wrote a novel, a couple of plays and even a few screen plays. But it was always the poetry I came back to.

What do you consider the highlights so far?

I would say being included in Roddy Lumsden’s anthology ‘Identity Parade: New British & Irish Poets’ (Bloodaxe, 2010). I remember buying the predecessor to that anthology ‘The New Poetry’ (Bloodaxe, 1993) just after I’d started writing. That was a big one. Having a poem published in The Irish Times last year. Going to read in places like New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, West Virginia, Washington DC and Athens. Athens in 2008 was particularly magical. Having one of my poems, ‘Letter To A Full Time Revolutionary’, quoted on The Guardian website during the financial crash in 2008…
Tell us a bit about the Over the Edge and how it started?

It was Susan’s idea; she felt that there weren’t enough reading platforms for new writers in Galway. The Over The Edge: Open Readings in Galway City Library have from the beginning maintained the format of three featured readers, plus an open-mic with a limit of (usually) eight readers reading one poem each. Susan is the ideas person, I’m the executioner, as it were. It was a simply idea, like all the best ones.

What do you think about the perceived split in poems for the stage and for the page?

There is a genuine issue, but most of what has been written about this is hypocritical rubbish. There have been, and continue to be, those who attack poetry slams and open-mics (and the poetry which emerges from them) for no other reason than that they have personal grievances against the organisers of said poetry slams and open-mics. There have been those who have joined in with these attacks having themselves competed in poetry slams repeatedly. One of the sad, little bands that make up what might be called the ‘anti-slam party’ actually accepted the job of judging a major poetry slam a while ago. These people make a lot of noise but could be counted on the fingers of one hand, with some spare fingers left over. They are not to be taken seriously.

This might come as a surprise to you, but I have no interest at all in ‘stage’ poetry which doesn’t also work on the page. If the work is all performance and no interesting new metaphors, no startling little similes, then however groovy your sunglasses are, I’d rather read The Financial Times. The new poets who interest me most, people such as Elaine Feeney, Sarah Clancy, Mary Madec, Dave Lordan and Colm Keegan (to name just a few) are those whose poetry works on both levels. I think that these poets are the real new movement in contemporary Irish poetry. In contrast, poets who don’t rigorously workshop their poems or submit their work to magazines, but just read at open-mics and slams always seem to me to end up producing poems that are way too long and full of bombast and air. The literary equivalent of flatulence. They are almost always male.
But, as I say, those poets who manage to both write well and perform well are hugely interesting to me.
What advice would you give to new writers now?

Work on your writing, then send it out; read it to an audience any chance you get and take any constructive feedback you get. If someone suggests a way you can make a poem or story better, then take that advice very seriously. If on the other hand you encounter destructive feedback, the only purpose of which is to discourage you from writing at all, then smile and thank the person in question but never ever listen to another word they say. When a friend of yours wins a competition you also entered be GENUINELY happy for them. Jealousy will destroy you, if you let it in the door at all.

What magazines, poets, presses and/or online sites do you read regularly and recommend?

I love Magma magazine, based in London, also the website, the brainchild of Kit Fryatt and co. The Irish Left Review website is becoming an important literary outlet, which says something about the times we’re living in. A favourite poet of mine would be Charles Simic, but I also love the Augustan poets of the 18th Century, Swift and Pope and co. In terms of presses, I have to say Salmon, but I mean it too. Jessie Lendennie does amazing work. And Bloodaxe for all the great anthologies they do.
What have you got coming up both at Over the Edge and for yourself?
I have a collection of my essays and book reviews, ‘Mentioning The War,’ coming out early next year from Salmon. Susan and I are going to do some readings in Australia in November, which should be great.

In terms of Over The Edge, we have our first Over The Edge: Open Reading after the summer break on August 25th. Clare Pollard is one of the readers. Very much looking forward to hearing her. That same evening we’ll also be announcing the shortlist for this year’s Over The Edge New Writer of The Year competition; the judge this year is Elaine Feeney. Later on the in the Autumn we have our third annual Fiction Slam, at which the Featured Reader (and one of the judges) will be Emer Martin. That’s always a highlight.

Saturday 27 August 2011

Revival Literary Journal

Revival Literary Journal is calling for submissions from local, national and international poets and writers for the next issue (No.21) which will be published in Limerick, November 2011.

Submissions, poetry and short fiction or extracts (500 words) now being sought for the next issue (Nov 2011). Also Review and Criticism pieces. They are also interested in receiving black and white images/line drawings for inclusion.

Deadline: Fri 16th Sept 2011
Hard Copy Submissions should also include a CD disc of the submission.

Send to: The Editor, Revival, Moravia, Glenmore Ave., Roxboro Rd., Limerick.


Submission guidelines:

Friday 26 August 2011

On The Farm

Poetry and Farming. A match made in Galway.

On the Farm present - Mixed Grazing.

When: Saturday October 1st 12 pm

Where: Held on a family farm in Ballinderreen South Galway in a corner of a field under the trees over-looking a turlough.
Event not weather permitting.
  • Susan Lindsay; poetry 
  • Colm Brady; fiction
  • Mike and Sue Fahy; music
  • Eleanor Tiernan; comedy
  • Anthony Daly; theatre
  • M.C Mags Treanor.
Refreshments served and it’s Free.

For more info: 087 9139698
Facebook: On the Farm

Thursday 25 August 2011

The Joseph Brodsky/ Stephen Spender Prize 2011

A poetry translation competition with some serious money up for grabs.

This international competition invites entrants to submit an English translation of a published Russian poem, together with a commentary of no more than 300 words.

Self-translation is not accepted. The submitted translation should be no more than 60 lines long, so entrants may submit an extract if their chosen poem is longer. Collaborations are permitted so long as the names of all the collaborators are declared on the entry form.

Three prizes: £1,500 (first), £1,000 (second) and £500 (third).

Judges: Sasha Dugdale, Catriona Kelly, Paul Muldoon.

Entry Fee: £5

Full details and entry forms at

Deadline: 31 August 2011

Wednesday 24 August 2011

How to Publish your eBook Part 4

So you've formatted your eBook here
created a lovely cover here
created a Smashwords account
and published it on Smashwords here.

The first thing you should do is to check that the different version created by the meatgrinder on Smashwords are readable. Sometimes there can be wierd characters that leave great big gaps or mess up the fonts.

The different versions are described here.

First download the versions you can read on your PC. PDF, Plain Text, HTML, Javascript, RTF and scan through to check the formatting.

Download the adobe digital reader here to read epub for iPads, Nooks etc.

If you don't have a kindle to check out the Mobi file, download Kindle for PC here or the Mobipocket reader here.

Those are the main ones. If these are OK, the other less common ones probably are too.

If there are any formatting problems, you can correct them in the original .doc document and on the Dashboard screen, click Upload a new version.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

British Red Cross Creative Writing Competition

This British Red Cross writing competition could produce some interesting results.

Deadline: 30th August 2011

Theme: The Disappeared.
Entries should fit onto one side of A4 paper. Poetry, prose, a comic strip, a short story, an excerpt from your diary, a song... Can be either typed or handwritten. Drawings and illustrations are welcomed, but should accompany the message, rather than be the message.

Winner will receive a £50 cash prize and a £50 national book voucher. A compendium of the top entries will be compiled and published for International Day of the Disappeared 2012. All authors of published entries will receive a free copy.

Entry Fee: £0.00 - Free!

Email your work to

or post it to:
Creative writing competition,
British Red Cross,
Bradbury House,
Apple Lane,
Sowton Industrial Estate,

Monday 22 August 2011

Poets to Check Out - Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyne discusses and reads her heavily anthologised poem We Real Cool

Saturday 20 August 2011

Poetry Divas at Electric Picnic

Are you going to Electric Picnic this year? GO.

Yes, The Poetry Divas are on The Word Stage around lunchtime on Saturday 3rd September.
This year the line up includes Kate Dempsey, Maeve O'Sullivan and Triona Walsh as well as special guest appearance by the fabulous-ness that is Sarah Maria Griffin.

Mindfield is the best. All sorts of shanaigans. The list is here

There's so much to look forward to apart from ourselves

  • Writers: John Banville, Roddy Doyle and Kevin Barry on the Arts Council Literary Stage
  •  inspiring Ignite talks in the Ignition Stage 3pm Saturday and Sunday
  • the soothing sounds of the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra who were excellent last year. Uplifting
  • Poets Leanne O’Sullivan, Colm Keegan, Sarah Maria Griffin, Dave Lordan, Abby Oliveira, Michael O’Loughlin letting loose
  • The Glor Sessions outside of the International Bar
  • Cuirt International Literary Festival in a tent. Hello Galwegians!
  • Nighthawks undoubtedly with a clever mix
  • Brownbread Mixtapes hilarious and shocking, just the way we like brown bread
Also Cáca Milis Cabaret with Helena Mulkerns rounding off each evening with sophisticated song, dance and lyricism which INCLUDES the Poetry DIVAS, yes again! Saturday night.

Friday 19 August 2011

The High Sheriff 's Cheshire Prize for Literature

Do you have a connection with Cheshire?

Writing for children in prose or verse.

First Prize: £2,000.

Verse entry should not exceed 100 lines.

The intended readership is seven to 14-year olds.

The writer must have been born, live or have lived, study or have studied, work or have worked, in Cheshire.

Judging panel chaired by Jaki Brien, Senior Lecturer from the Faculty of Education and Children's Services at the University of Chester.
Entrants may submit only one entry.

Entry Fee: £0.00 Free!

The Cheshire Prize for Literature,
University of Chester,
Parkgate Road,

Deadline: 1 September 2011

Open to Interpretation

An interesting project here. There are some fine art photographs chosen to a theme and now a call for submissions for poems and prose inspired by them. The judge is called Anastasia Faunce.

Then they make a book. Each photo has 2 interpretations. You get a copy of the book (and ever lasting fame)

Entry Deadline: October 20, 2011

Remember to note down which photo the piece submitted is for.

A photograph tells a story. But it tells a slightly different story to every viewer. The stories are fleeting, disappearing from the viewers’ minds in the moments it takes to turn a page or walk to the next gallery.

Thursday 18 August 2011

Do you Renku?

The Journal of Renga & Renku are delighted to announce this year’s renku contest which will be judged by renku poet, Eiko Yachimoto. Details below.

Entry fee: None

Deadline: 1 October 2011
1. Only renku in the shisan form are eligible for this contest
2. There is no limit on the number of entries you may send
3. Both solo and collaborative shisan are eligible

4. Previously published shisan are also eligible for the contest
More here
1. The winning poem will be published, together with a detailed critique, in the 2011 issue of the Journal of Renga & Renku. All entries will be considered as content for inclusion in the journal.
2. A small (and yet to be selected) prize will be sent by way of congratulation to the sabaki or one designated participant of the winning poem.
It's free, now to find out exactly what renku and renga and Shisan is....

The journal is also looking for submissions, same deadline here

Wednesday 17 August 2011

The Field Hospital @ Kilmainham Arts Festival

When: 27 August · 15:00 - 18:00

Where: Grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Kilmainham, Dublin

we answer to no grey South / Nor blue North, not self defence / The lie of just wars..." -- Paul Muldoon, "The Field Hospital"

Spoken word performances for difficult times, featuring artists from Ireland, Britain & the United States. 3-6pm, Field Hospital tent, IMMA.

Triage with Dave Lordan, Cah-44 and Boris Belony
A natural disaster, and American Serge Gainsbourg and a phallologularcentrist. They'll tell you what's wrong all right.

Surgery with Erin Fornoff, Raven, John McKeown, Lucien Zell, and Amy Leigh Cutler
Skillful scalpels, soothing bedside manners from some of the best hands in the business.

Recovery with The Poetry Chicks.
Abby Oliviera and Pamela Brown's powerfully composed, dazzlingly executed performances will leave you in fighting form.

find out more at http://kilmainhamartsclub.​

Tuesday 16 August 2011

How to Create an eBook - Part 3

You've formatted your eBook
(or paid someone to do it)

You've created a cool cover here (or paid an aspiring graphics designer to do so)

You've created an account at smashwords (More on account related stuff later)

Now to publish your book.

Click Publish.
Enter the Title
A Short Description up to 400 characters. This is the all important blurb that readers read before they descide to download your book. It should be in the same style as the book and have a great hook.

Mine is:

Zoë Madison has escaped to an uneventful life in Dublin when she gets a call from sexy, celebrity gardener Larry Harte. Larry has found that her New Age hippy mother worked for Larry's popstar father before he died. But is there more to the story? The paparazzi certainly think so and pursue them across Ireland as they delve into the past and face the future. Life is the Story of Plan B.

Then an extended description, up to 4,000 characters. This is optional but I think you might as well use it. Don't just repeat what's in the short description as they usually display one after the other.


Adult Content Flag - has to be pretty wild to be considered, I think.

Pricing Tricky one this. If you just want people to read your eBook, out it out for free or put it out for free for a while at the start. If you want to make some money, most people tend towards charging $2.99. If you charge less, e.g. €0.99, there are some places that won't take them as their cut is too low. But google around for thoughts on this. You can change to price at any time.

Sampling. I think 25% is best. If someone downloads 25% and reads that, they should really be into it by then and should pay for the remaining 75%. If they don't want to read on, you've lost nothing.

Categories Add two categories. e.g. Fiction > Literature > Mystery and Detective or Romance or Poetry Anthology or whatever.

Tags are used by search engines to find books that fit the searchers criteria. So if your book is a Romance in Shetland involving sheep, boats and a pregnant protagonist, those would be your tags. Or a murder mystery in Tipperary with vampires and hobbits or whatever.

eBook formats Choose them all. Why not?

Cover imageYou previously created jpg file from your PC.

files of book to be publishedYour labour of love, correctly formatted and saved in word 97 format (.doc)

Read the terms (i.e. it's your book and you know what you're doing) and hit Publish.

What happens next?
It goes into the meatgrinder queue which turns it into the (currently) 7 formats, checking for basic errors.
This stage used to take ages but now it's pretty quick.

There may be formatting errors reported. If it's not obvious what the problem is, you may have to start again and use the nuke method (see previous post). It's either that you have the copyright and header bit wrong or formatting.

If you're successful,
Congratulations. Your work...has been published on Smashwords and is now available for readers.
you're published! Congratulations.

You do need to assign an ISBN. Why? Smashwords retailers such as Apple and Sony will not accept your Smashwords book unless you have a unique e-ISBN.

I'd recommend using the free ISBNs for now from smashwords. Go to the ISBN manager and select the FREE one.

OK that's enough for now. You're published. Next to check the formatted copies, look at getting paid and also at Amazon.

Monday 15 August 2011

Poets to Check Out - Lucille Clifton

I love this poem, Homage to My Hips.

Sunday 14 August 2011

Spoiled for Choice - workshops in Galway

GMIT presents Creative Writing for Beginners with Susan Millar DuMars

This autumn GMIT is offering a course in Creative Writing for Beginners with Susan Millar DuMars. The course takes place at GMIT Dublin Road Campus one evening per week (Wednesday) for 7 weeks from 7–9p.m. It commences on Wednesday, September 28th, 2011.

Advance booking is essential.

The course fee is €95.

During the seven weeks Susan Millar DuMars will give support, instruction and feedback to students who are interested in writing either fiction (short stories, novels) or poetry. The class will work on techniques for forming ideas and getting started; engaging the reader’s senses; using figures of speech effectively; being alert to the importance of the sound of words, the rhythm of writing; how to manage the truth in a fictitious piece; the different forms of poetry; awareness of character and point of view in fiction; editing and polishing work. Whether the student seeks publication, self-expression, a rewarding hobby (or possibly all three), this course is a wonderful place to start.

For further details or to book a place contact GMIT, Dublin Road, Galway. Telephone 091 742145 or see website

Saturday 13 August 2011

Milk and Cookies Zine

Milk and Cookies has quickly become a Dublin institution. First they ran their own story telling festival and now they're planning a zine. What's next? World Domination? I hope so.

Details here

Our aim is to produce it quarterly and flog it for three euros.

Open to stories & in some cases, poetry, but the publication will be oriented mainly towards the short story. We love short, short stories. Our word limit is 2,000 but we’re always happy to recieve stories as short as 500, 200, even 6 words if you’re able.

We aren’t going to tell you how to write a story: you get it, you’ve been with us before, begin it, middle it, end it, give it loads

Write us a little letter saying who you are, you know, fancy writerly types call it a biography.

In said e-mail, please put ‘Zine Submission’ in your subject bar, so we know what you’re talking about.

Maximum stories per submission is 2.

Maximum poems per sumbission is 3 (again, the publication is story driven, however depending on the quality of the work itself poetry will pop up here and there)

Email to:

Friday 12 August 2011

Releasing The Poet Within

A workshop at the Limerick Writers Centre

Releasing The Poet Within - A Creative Writing Course in Poetry, Lyrics and Versification.

A 6 week course is designed to inspire writers to discover and extend their poetic voice. Existing poets and lyricists may explore new directions while those seeking to write poetry for the first time will find a springboard for their ideas and style.

Wed Sept 7th 7.00pm to 9.00pm for six weeks.

The sessions will include:

Innovative workshop expierience and writing exercises - Exploring of sources and starting points. Looking at new Irish and International poetry. Unravelling verse forms and images

Verbal dynamics - Finding the right outlets for your poetry or lyrics. Investigating the best competition opportunities

Your Tutor: An experienced and inspiring teacher of poetry, literature and creative writing Fiona Clark Echlin is a poet and sonneteer and also an award-willing writer of short stories and works for the theatre. She is currently writing her second novel.

The fee for the six weeks is €130.00/€120.00 concession for the 6 weeks. Course runs on Wednesdays 7.00pm to 9.00pm
To book contact Dominic at 087 2996409 or email

Thursday 11 August 2011

Upcoming events at Molly Keane writers retreat

Upcoming events at Molly Keane writers retreat

Telephone: 0864071811


There will be an opportunity to hear Thomas McCarthy reading his poetry
On Saturday August 20th open to all. This event takes place at the Molly Keane writers retreat in Ardmore . He is an award winning poet and writer and a native of Cappoquin.

This is a unique chance to spend an evening in literary company in a wonderful setting overlooking Ardmore Bay. The reading is the culmination of the Annual Molly Keane writers week which is sponsored by the Arts Council and Waterford County Council.

All are welcome ,Price € 20. To include coffee and cake .
Time 7.30

Booking essential, please contact O85 7431377
Or get booking form on

There are also limited places left on the Molly Keane writers week which runs from 15th to 21st August , hosted by Molly’s daughter Virginia Brownlow ,facilitated by writer Lani O’Hanlon and featuring Thomas McCarthy as special guest .

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Interesting Links

You can make your own newspaper, based on your tweets (Could be random) and who you follow (also random) Mine here

Here's one based on the popular #amwriting hastag.

Weird writing habits of famous writers on Flavorwire (US biased) ...Prone...

Tongue in cheek - How to sell a gazillion eBooks (or not) from Russell Blake

The 10 Stage of Revision Emotions. I hear you Roni Loren

From Madeline Ash, some wise words on the dreaded synopsis

Thoughtful post from The Intern on the seven pots of writing fame. Where are you?

Should authors review books? Arguments on both sides from Sarah Crown at The Guardian and Erin Keane at Salon. including the point that novelists don't earn much purely from writing books...and if you want me to review your book here, let me know.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

The Inishbofin Jaunt

The workshop leader and writer Yvonne Cullen  is back on Inishbofin this September running weekend workshops.

Fees for weekends are €170 beginners, €230 developers, and €270 for weekend with guest tutor attached as well as Yvonne. Writing Saloon 'hooleys' and a Poetry Kitchen reading can be expected... And lots of time to explore Bofin properly.

2 - 5 and 9 -12 September

Guest tutor on weekend two: Anthony Glavin.

Email or

Monday 8 August 2011

Abridged 0 - 23: Desire and Dust Sumission Call

There's an attic where children are playing
Where I've got to lie down with you soon
In a dream of Hungarian lanterns
In the mist of some sweet afternoon

And I'll see what you've chained to your sorrow,
all your sheep and your lilies of snow --
Ay, ay ay ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz
with its ‘I'll never forget you, you know!’

(Leonard Cohen after Lorca)

Desire, when written in the early morning dust of a suburban squat is a sweat-driven afterthought, filled with the stench of stale coffee and cigarettes. Write it in ink and it may be legally binding. Write it in dust and it will be blown away on the wings of a curse. These may be shallow waters yet we chase these Lorca/Cohen-esque visions of attic bound lust as if they are our life blood. Desire tastes best under a thin sliver of dust. It implies a narrative filled with lust, love, limpness and loss. Little death and a big dearth; It’s more than the individual; there’s a societal longing in the dust of ages, be it through ignorance, nostalgia, hopelessness or even recreation. There’s a hunger to destroy a present that doesn’t fit. And a future that won’t. There’s a past that excuses, a path that justifies. Filled with Desire and Dust.

Abridged, the poetry/art magazine is looking for submissions for its Desire and Dust issue. A maximum of 3 poems may be submitted of any length. Art can be up to A4 size and can be in any media. It should be at least 300 dpi.

Submissions can be emailed to or posted to: Abridged c/o The Verbal Arts Centre, Stable Lane and Mall Wall, Bishop Street Within, Derry BT48 6PU.

Deadline: 8th September
you can stand all night at a red light anywhere in town
hailing maries left and right but none of them slow down

Sunday 7 August 2011


This is an intriguing sounding project that's in its early stages. Check out the vids and recordings so far here. Full of charm, madness, historical insight and poignancy. They're always looking for more.

Storymap is run by Tom Rowley and Andy Flaherty, two filmmakers from Dublin. The idea is simple. We find interesting stories about the city, film them being told in the relevant spot, and then upload and integrate the stories on an online map (

The stories range widely - from personal to historical, funny to tragic, drunken misadventure to romantic encounter - and all illuminate a different facet of Dublin life. The result is a website which gives a vision of Dublin by Dubliners, and highlights the remarkable stories that lie beneath every Dublin street - across centuries, generations, nationalities.

Also, in it's own way, we think it's a very fresh way to preserve the untold history of places - the type of memories and peculiar history that are often overlooked and neglected. In a sense it's like one big pub, and we're inviting the city of Dublin to come share their stories in it.

We're constantly collecting new stories, and release one new story a week. We see this as an ongoing project that'll grow and grow, and we aim to have at least one story for every street in the city. We usually collect stories in a number of ways - by rambling around the city and popping into interesting spots, researching dublin history and meeting with dublin historians, attending storytelling and spoken word nights, and by seeking out interesting characters in the city to tell us stories. We love to hear from people, and are always available to meet and chat if you email us at

We launched the website in February. Since then the project has gotten great feedback, with articles in the Irish Independent, Irish Times, and features on Newstalk with Tom Dunne, RTE’s Capital D, and Dublin city FM. We've been running without any funding, and we're currently looking for some support to develop an iPhone app.


Saturday 6 August 2011

Poets Meet Painters 2011 - winners

Poets Meet Painters 2011
The anthology of the successful entries from this year's competition was launched at a reception and reading at Mill Cove Gallery and Sculpture Garden on 30 July

Gabriel Griffin, 'The singing sounds of sea', inspired by Listen by Ian Humphreys;

Second place
Michael Scott, 'My Grandad made trains (I never met my Grandad)', inspired by No ticket required by Alfred Roch;

Third place
John Baylis Post, 'Did I tell you', inspired by Listen by Ian Humphreys;

Highly commended
Heather Freckleton, 'Getting the measure of the moon', inspired by Laughter by Marianne Klopp;
Patrick Toland, 'A house in Tabgha', inspired by Spoons by Anne Nidecker;
Breda Wall Ryan, 'The laying of the bog', inspired by Bog Vista II and other works by Niall Wright;
John Baylis Post, 'DB', inspired by First Snows, Beara by Monica Groves;
Rachel Woolf, 'Rite of passage', inspired by Sodden by Niall Wright;
Noel Connor, 'Inventing blue', inspired by Untitled 2 by John Brennan;
Maria Merking, 'Padre', inspired by Turning Head by Sonia Caldwell;
Michael Ray, 'Purse', inspired by Seaform V by Ana Duncan;
Afric McGlinchey, 'Sea thing', inspired by Sea form I by Ana Duncan;
Mark Blayney, 'Glimpse', inspired by Early Morning Light by Aidan Flanagan;
Eleanor Hooker, 'Is that me?', inspired by Is That Me? by Petr Holocek;
Siobhán Flynn, 'These shoes can change your life', inspired by Red Shoes by Nicola Slattery;
Afric McGlinchey, 'Rebellion', inspired by Red Shoes by Nicola Slattery;
Cathy Leonard, 'Reclaiming', inspired by Sleeping Woman by Nicola Slattery;

Winner (school student)
Aoife Troxel, 'Fishing', inspired by Crest by Ana Duncan;

Second place (school student)
Rachael Elphick, 'Perception', inspired by Resting by Betina Seitz.

Friday 5 August 2011

Bill Naughton Short Story Competition

In judging this annual short story competition priority is given to stories, which, in their view, display qualities similar to those found in Bill Naughton's work. However, this rule is by no means exclusive and they are most eager to acknowledge excellence where they find it.

A great short story must echo in the reader's mind for a long time - it must compel him to pursue all its implications and question all possible outcomes.

In a novel there is scope to spell things out and in effect to tie up all loose ends, but in a quality short story, little must be said yet everything implied.

Rules and Conditions:

Maximum length of story is 2,500 words
Name and address must not appear on story
All work must be unpublished

Entry Fee: £5.00 (Sterling), €7.00 (Euro) or or $10.00 (U.S. Dollars) per story.
Three stories may be submitted for the price of two.

Postal Entries:

Bill Naughton Short Story Competition,
Box No 2011,
Co. Mayo, Ireland.

Closing Date: Friday 7th September 2011.

Prize Money: First: € 200.00 / Second: €130.00 / Third: € 65.00

Prizes will be presented at the Kenny Naughton Autumn School.

Simon Downs (Competition Secretary) oversees the judging process and his decision and that of the judging panel is final.

Thursday 4 August 2011

Poets to Check Out - Langston Hughes

Lots of Langston's poems were set to music. This one is The Ballad of the Gypsy

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Open House

Open House Dublin, which take place from 7 – 9 October 2011 is looking for enthusiastic, reliable and friendly volunteers to join the volunteer team. You do not need to have a background in architecture just an interest in it will suffice. Volunteers will be assigned to a building, walking, cycling or boat tour over the festival weekend and will assist the tour guide, by coordinating the public and dealing with any queries.

This is a great chance to make new friends and become immersed in the fantastic architecture Dublin has to offer. If you are interested in volunteering this year or would like more information please email Niamh at
Open House Dublin 2011 (7 – 9 October) has adopted the theme ‘The Architecture of Change’, exploring how good design can be a catalyst for change and positively touch all our lives: from large scale master planning to small but skillful interventions in residential design. The full programme will be announced in September.

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Cafe Writers Poetry Competition

Deadline: 30TH NOV 2011

1ST £1000
2nd £300 3rd £150
Five Commended Prizes of £50
Funniest Poem not winning another prize £100
Norfolk Prize £100
awarded to the best poem from a permanent Norfolk resident not winning another prize

Entry Fee £4 per poem; or £10 for 3 poems and £2.00 per poem thereafter

SOLE JUDGE Pascale Petit

Pascale Petit has published five poetry collections. Her latest, What the Water Gave Me: Poems after Frida Kahlo, published by Seren in 2010 (UK) and Black Lawrence Press in 2011 (US), was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and was a Book of the Year in The Observer.

Competition Rules
• Maximum of 40 lines (excluding title) on one side of A4.
• Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and must never have been published, self-published, published on any web-site or broadcast.
• Entries must show no name, address or identifying marks other than the title.

Prizewinners will be notified in writing by 31st January 2012. The list of prizewinners will be displayed on the website after the
prize-giving ceremony at Café Writers on 13th February 2012.

Entries should be sent to: Café Writers Poetry Competition, 168a Silver Rd, Norwich NR3 4TH with a cheque payable to Café Writers or enter and pay online at





I heard of the competition by………………………………….

Poem 1 Title……………………………………………………………….(1 Poem £4)
Poem 2 Title……………………………………………………………….(2 Poems £8)
Poem 3 Title……………………………………………………………….(3 Poems £10)
Poem 4 Title……………………………………………………………….(4 Poems £12)
Poem 5 Title……………………………………………………………….(5 Poems £14)
Poem 6 Title……………………………………………………………….(6 Poems £16)

Monday 1 August 2011

Do you write Fantasy?

I do read fantasy, but I've never tried to write any.

Fantasy Book Review, in association with Swift Publishers, is running a short story competition.

The writer of the winning fantasy short story will receive an Apple iPad (we are working on also having the winning entry published),
the two runner-ups will receive Amazon Kindle.

Each applicable entry will receive a free copy of Frank P Ryan’s fantasy ebook THE SNOWMELT RIVER

Between 2,000 and 5,000 English words with a fantasy theme woven throughout.
Deadline: September 10, 2011
The winners announced on November 1, 2011

Free to enter as far as I can see.

website here.