Michael Hartnett Poetry Event at Writers Week Listowel 2018

I’m absolutely thrilled to be a featured poet at the Michael Hartnett Poetry Event at this year’s Listowel Writers Week. The event takes place in the Listowel Arms Hotel at 4pm on Friday 1st June 2018 and tickets can be purchased here. I was last at Writers Week in 2013 when I was reading a short story as part of the New Writers Salon and the craic was mighty.

This year I’m delighted to be featured with Caoilinn Hughes, Mark Roper and John O’Donnell (pictured below). I am great admirer of Michael Hartnett’s work and in particular his Inchicore Haiku was a huge influence on my poetry film haiku sequence Red Line Haiku.

I was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series in 2013 along with Caoilinn whose first collection Gathering Evidence (Carcanet) went on to win the Irish Times Strong/Shine Award and was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Prize and the Piggott Poetry Prize. Her first novel Orchid and the Wasp (which I’m really looking forward to) is being launched at Writers Week also.

Mark Roper’s latest collection Bindweed was shortlisted for The Irish Times Poetry Now Award. A Gather of Shadow was also shortlisted for that award and won the Michael Hartnett Award in 2014. With photographer Paddy Dwan, he has published The River Book and The Backstrand. Their book about the Comeragh Mountains will be published in autumn 2018. He has written librettos for two operas composed by Eric Sweeney.

Poet, John O’Donnell, will chair the event. John has published three previous collections of poems, Some Other Country (2002), Icarus Sees His Father Fly (Dedalus Press, 2004) and On Water (Dedalus Press, 2014). Sunlight: New and Selected Poems, with an introduction by Niall MacMonagle, is published by Dedalus Press in 2018. His awards include the Hennessy Award for Poetry, the Ireland Funds Prize, and the SeaCat National Poetry Prize. As a fiction writer his work has appeared widely in recent years, and in 2013 he received the Hennessy Award for Fiction. A senior counsel, he lives and works in Dublin. He has been a member of the Board of Poetry Ireland, among other institutions, and has served on the Board of The Arts Council.

I plan to see the great Billy Collins later that evening, so all in all it should be a really exciting time. I hope some of you can make it along!

There’s a great free event at Listowel Library at 6pm on Thursday 31st May called Wild Voices, an excellent mix of poetry, story and music, curated by Annemarie Ní Churreáin and featuring the likes of Amanda Bell, James Martyn Joyce, Liz Quirke, Alice Kinsella, Victoria Kennefick and Karen J. Mc Donnell. But there’s so much more going on all week! You can check out the full programme for Writers Week 2018 here.

 

New Year, New stories

This year has been pretty good so far with two new short stories published already. My story Festival was longlisted in the Galley Beggar Short Story Prize 2017/18 and although I didn’t win it was featured on their site along with nine other superb stories. The overall winner was C.S. Mee for her story Brothers. In fact, I recommend you read all ten listed stories – you won’t be disappointed. I’m particularly pleased to feature on this list with Galley Beggar Press who have published some excellent writers such as Toby Litt, Eimear McBride and Joanna Walsh. It bodes well for me as I work towards finishing my first collection of short stories (working title Love and Work) in 2018. Any publishers out there, feel free to give me a shout. I don’t mind, honest!

 

I’m delighted also to have a new story The Visitor featured at Fictive Dream this month. They previously published my story Special in August 2017. Fictive Dream is an excellent repository of prime examples of the short story form and I’m delighted that editor, Laura Black, has seen fit to feature my work again. Please have a read of my stories and dip in to others in the archive also.

After The Fall – Readings and Interviews

The new year is well underway and I’m happy to be doing some more readings and interviews to promote After The Fall.

Shauna Gilligan, novelist and short story writer, was good enough to chat with me about my poetry collection over at her blog. I got some great feedback on it over the past few weeks and you can read the interview in full here.

This Sunday coming I’m reading at Books Upstairs on D’Olier Street at 3pm along with my fellow Hibernian poets Amanda Bell and Maeve O’Sullivan. Amanda will be reading from her collection First the feathers (Doire Press) and Maeve from her collection Elsewhere (Alba Publishing). There will all be music from harpist Brenda Malloy. My thanks to Maurice Earls at Books Upstairs and to Maeve who put the whole event together.

Then on Monday night I’ll be one of the featured poets at High Falutin at The Liquor Rooms, again along with Maeve O’Sullivan. It looks being a eally enjoyable night with a mixture of poetry and music – and cocktails, if you’re up for it.

Then on Sunday 4th February I will be interviewed by Teresa Quinn on Bookline on Liffey Sound 96.4FM at 11am.

So there’s plenty to keep me going. Please tune in or come along to these free events if you can and help keep culture alive!

 

End of Year Review 2017

2017 was a pretty good year for me from a writing point of view. This is how it panned out in terms of publications and awards during the year: three short stories and thirteen poems published in all, and also a first memoir piece published in The Incubator. The highlight of the year for me was undoubtedly the publication of my first poetry collection After The Fall by Salmon Poetry in November. This was the culmination of ten years writing, revising and publishing and I’m delighted to see the collection in print.

This is how the year went, month by month:

 

I did quite a few readings during the second half of the year: Staccato (run by the ever brilliant Tanya Farrelly and David Butler) in September along with my fellow Hibernian poet Amanda Bell, At The Edge in Cavan (run by the excellent Kate Ennals) in October reading alongside Mairéad Donnellan. I took part in a Red Line Book Festival panel event on first poetry collections in October which was chaired by Nessa O’Mahony and featured myself, Eamonn Lynskey and Phil Lynch. I took part in a lunch time reading and Q and A at the Dublin Book Festival in November. Myself, Amanda Bell and Emma McKervey fielded questions posed by Lisa Frank of Doire Press. After The Fall was launched in the Irish Writers Centre on 9th November and later that month I was featured poet at Ó Bhéal in Cork. In many ways this was the high point of the year for me. If you have a half hour to spare you can listen to my reading here.

 

I was particularly pleased to have my short story The Invitation published in The Lonely Crowd Issue 7 (edited by Valerie Sirr) in the summer. This is a great journal with quality poetry and stories in every issue. I spent some time in the second half of the year working on short stories again and my aim, if I have one, is to compile a strong collection of short stories in 2018. I was pleased to receive a bursary from South Dublin County Council in 2017 to help me do just this. Already I have stories forthcoming in 2018 with online journals Fictive Dream and Cold Coffee Stand.

 

It was also a great year for fellow Hibernian writers Amanda Bell who published her collection First the Feathers (Doire Press) and Maeve O’Sullivan who published Elsewhere (Alba Publishing)in the two weeks following After The Fall. It was a hectic end to the year but a great one. We will be reading together at Books Upstairs on Sunday 28th January 2018, but more of that anon.

I also did radio interviews / readings from After The Fall in 2017 on Dublin City FM and Dundalk FM and will be talking to Teresa Quinn on Bookline on Liffey Sound FM in Sunday 4th February 2018.

I hope to bring After The Fall to more readers in 2018 and also to write more poems and stories. There’s a novel somewhere in the mix there too. I’ve been writing long enough now to know that for every success there are very many failures and rejections. So don’t be downhearted. Make new start. Happy new year!

 

New Year

 

Unlock the doors and let the east wind sing

between the table legs and upturned chairs.

Let dust unsettle on a belt of air

that binds the living to the rising spring

and stirs the sheets that cover everything.

The books you haven’t read are all still there,

the clothes you left behind unworn are where

you left them – let them be, you’ll never bring

the past to life again. Ignore the sting

of memory or the urge to say a prayer;

what you are doing should not prompt despair.

Take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves and swing

the hammer at the past and have no fear,

level the ground, make straight, this is New Year.

Reading at Ó Bhéal

Last Monday night I did a reading at Ó Bhéal in Cork. It was an excellent night, with a full house and a really attentive poetry loving crowd. The quality of the open mic was a revelation also. This was the biggest reading I’ve undertaken to date, a half hour set, and it was great to have the support of old pals Kate Dempsey and Niamh Bagnell on the night. It was a great opportunity to reading a number of the poems from After The Fall and I was more than pleased with the response.

I want to thank Paul Casey for inviting me and looking after me so well in Cork and also Michal Weber who was an excellent MC on the night. If you’re up to it you can listen to recording of my reading here.

Launch After The Fall – Reading at Ó Bhéal

Here we are at the end of the launch of After The Fall at the Irish Writers Centre on 9th November. Tired, but happy, as they say. The night was a great success, with a huge crowd in attendance. Jessie Lendennie and Siobhan Hutson from Salmon Poetry were in attendance on the night which was great also. I was delighted to see so many friends, family and fellow writers in attendance on the night. Alan Jude Moore introduced my collection with some very kind and astute words, and I’m extremely grateful to him for doing that. You can link to my author page at Salmon Poetry here or on the right hand side of the home page. There you’ll find the text if three poems and audio recordings of them too!

Also launched on the night was Vacant Possession by Anne Fitzgerald, Anne’s second collection with Salmon. It was a pleasure to meet and read with Anne and hear her poems which dealt with family and identity.

Next stop is now Ó Bhéal in Cork on Monday 20th November 2017, which I’m really looking forward to. Last Monday’s featured poet was Theo Dorgan, so no pressure there! Seriously, though, I can’t wait to get to Cork, see some familiar faces and read some poems!

After The Fall – Launch Date 9th November 2017

I’m delighted to reveal the cover image for my first poetry collection After The Fall (Salmon Poetry)! Jessie and Siobhán at Salmon have excelled themselves with the cover art. It fits so well with the book I can’t hardly believe it and couldn’t be more pleased.

The book will be launched at 6.30pm on Thursday 9th November at the Irish Writers Centre on Parnell Square and I’m honoured that the excellent poet, Alan Jude Moore, will launch the collection for me on the night. This collection is a culmination of over ten years of work, writing and publishing poems, talking about poetry, workshopping poems - feeling dejected and elated at various times along the way.

I’m really looking forward to the night and beginning to think about the people who have helped me along the way. They are so many in number, but I won’t get into naming them just yet. I’ve been doing a few readings recently, testing out the poems I might read at the launch and it’s been very interesting seeing how audiences react to different poems. I took part in a reading/panel discussion at the Red Line Book Festival in October which focussed on preparing first poetry collections. The event was ably chaired by Nessa O’Mahony, poet and editor, and included Eamonn Lynskey and Phil Lynch on the panel along with myself. It was a really enjoyable evening, chatting about our individual experiences and approaches. The atmosphere was so relaxed I felt we could have talked all night.

I also read in Cavan Library at an event called At The Edge which is run by poet and writer, Kate Ennals. I read alongside Cavan poet, Mairead Donnellan (pictured below), who I’d met before at Bailieboro Poetry Festival in 2015. It was a lovely evening, with a large turn out, despite bad weather. Unfortunately Afric McGlinchey couldn’t be there due to ill-health, which was a shame as I enjoyed the her two collections. Myself and Mairead were asked to read an extra poem or two which allowed me to read some poems I wouldn’t normally have read. We also got to hear Kate Ennals’ Westport Poetry Competition 2017 winning poem, Poem, I want from you and there was some excellent work read during the open mic section. I was very pleased with the audience reaction to my poems and would recommend this reading series to anyone in the area who might be interested.

To whet your appetites further here’s a look at the back cover also. I was delighted by Breda Wall Ryan’s endorsement of the collection. Breda is a fellow member of the Hibernian Writers Workshop and award winning author of the collection, In A Hare’s Eye (Doire Press).

On Friday last, 3rd November, I took part in a reading as part of the Dublin Book Festival at Smock Alley Theatre. “Debut Poetry Collections” was chaired by Doire Press’ Lisa Frank and feature three debut poets; myself, Amanda Bell, author of First the feathers (Doire Press) and Emma McKervey, author of The Rag Tree Speaks (Doire Press). We each read two poems and discussed various aspects of putting together a poetry collection, taking in subjects such as form, theme and rejection along the way. It was an interesting event attended by a sizeable and engaged audience.

Finally, I’d like to invite you along to the launch on Thursday 9th November 2017. Also, launching her second collection with Salmon Poetry is Dublin poet, Anne Fitzgerald, whose work has garnered significant praise over the years. I hope some of you can come along to celebrate with us.

Dublin Book Festival 2017

I’m delighted to be reading this Friday lunchtime at Smock Alley Theatre as part of the Dublin Book Festival 2017. If I might quote from the programme:

“The event brings together Amanda Bell, author of First the Feathers (Doire Press), her first full-length poetry collection. She will be joined by award-winning Dublin poet and author of debut poetry collection After The Fall (Salmon Poetry) Brian Kirk and northern Irish poet and musician Emma McKervey, the voice behind The Rag Tree Speaks (Doire Press). They will be joined by Lisa Frank, the co-director of Doire Press and editor of Galway Stories, which features many of Ireland’s best fiction writers.”

My collection is due to be launched on Thursday 9th November at 6.30pm at the Irish Writers Centre on Parnell Square. I’ll post further details in the next day or so. Exciting times!

 

After The Fall and upcoming readings

My first poetry collection After The Fall will be published by Salmon Poetry in the near future. I’ll post details of the launch as soon as I get them.

In the meantime, I’ll be doing some readings and events over the coming months to showcase the poems.

The first outing is an event called “Poetry First” as part of the Red Line Book Festival run by South Dublin Libraries.

“Renowned poet Nessa O’Mahony chairs a panel discussing First Collections with Brian Kirk, Eamonn Lynskey and Phil Lynch. How do you get your name known as a poet today? What constitutes a collection and who should you approach with it? Packed full of vital information on how the business works and tips for getting your own work published, find out what it feels like to hold your first book in your hand.”
This event starts at 6pm at the Civic Theatre in Tallaght on Wednesday 11th October 2017, and will be followed by the Red Line Poetry Competition Award Ceremony, which was judged this year by Mary O’Donnell, renowned poet and novelist.
Other upcoming readings include:
  • At The Edge, Cavan Library, at 6.30pm on Tuesday 24th October 2017, along with Afric McGlinchey and Mairéad Donnellan.
  • Dublin Book Festival at 1pm on Friday 3rd November in Smock Alley along with Amanda Bell and Emma McKervey
  • Ó Bhéal at Long Valley Bar in Cork on Monday 20th November 2017
More details of readings and launch to follow soon!

Round up of 2017 to date

I’m really happy to have a brand new story in Issue 7 of The Lonely Crowd. My thanks to fiction editor, Valerie Sirr. I can’t wait to read the issue which includes work by some great writers like Alan McMonagle, Mary Morrissy, Alison Wells, June Caldwell, James Lawless and many, many more.

I’m about to take a break for a couple of weeks so it’s an opportune time to review how things have been going in 2017 from a writing and publishing point of view. Here’s a quick rundown:

·    In February my poem Somehwere In Between was placed 3rd in the North West Words Poetry Competition 2016 and was published in North West Words Issue 7 in May 2017.

·    In February my short short story Boy and Man was published in Live Encounters Poetry and Writing. 

·    My sonnet Stateless was published in Crannóg 44 in March 2017.

·    My poem Immanent was published in Skylight 47, Issue 8, in March 2017.

·    My poem Unlucky In Love was published in the anthology “A Face in the Mirror a Hook on the Door” by Three Drops Press.

·    My play Story was shortlisted for the Eamonn Keane Full Length Play Award at Listowel Writers Week 2017.

·    My poem Evening Commute was Highly Commended in the Oliver Goldsmith Poetry Competition 2017 in May 2017.

·    My poem The Couple was Highly Commended in the Robert Monteith International Poetry Competition 2017.

·    My poem Senseless was published in the June 2017 issue of The Honest Ulsterman.

·    My short story The Invitation was published in Issue 7 of The Lonely Crowd in June 2017, edited by Valerie Sirr.

·    In June 2017 I was awarded a bursary from South Dublin County Council towards the completion of my first short story collection.

NB: It’s important to note that along with the above successes goes far more failures and rejections. All of the work that is now published was rejected in an earlier form somewhere else.

The big thing to look forward to for me in the second half of the year is the publication of my first poetry collection, After The Fall, by Salmon Poetry in September. I already have a number of readings and events planned for later in the year and I’ll post publication details as soon as I have them. See you on the other side!