Friday, 27 February 2015

Call for contributions – Magma 63 on the theme of ‘Conversation’

Magma want you to share your poems on the theme of ‘Conversation’ with us to be published in Magma 63. They say
We’d like you to explore all kinds of conversations in your poems.  Conversations can be trivial and gossipy or difficult and unsettling.  Is there a dreaded ‘conversation’ you need to have or one form your past you wish you couldn’t remember?  
deadline is 30 May 2015.

More here 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Poems on a Sunday Afternoon

Poems on a Sunday Afternoon returns once again to Down Arts Centre this Sunday 22nd February at 2:30pm, hosted by Olive Broderick with guest reader, Downpatrick's own Damian Smyth.
You are warmly welcomed to ‘Poems on a Sunday Afternoon’ at Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, on Sunday (22nd February 2015, 2.30-4.30pm). 
The heart of this event has always been a friendly space to share your work and as always writers, readers, singers are invited to join us in celebrating the written word in all its forms. We hope that as before, those gathered will share a piece of their own work, or perhaps a favourite poem.

In our featured spot this time, we are privileged to present (and not before time), renowned poet Damian Smyth, whose five collections focus on his home town of Downpatrick. His first collection, Downpatrick Races (Lagan Press), appeared in 2000. A stage play, Soldiers of the Queen, following the fortunes of family members from the Boer War to the Troubles in Northern Ireland, played the Belfast Festival at Queen’s in 2002 and was published the following year.

His second collection, The Down Recorder – an epic poem drawing on news stories in the local newspaper over 150 years – appeared in 2004. Both Lamentations, a sequence of 70 brief elegies, and Market Street, appeared in 2010.

He has edited and introduced Joseph Tomelty: Collected Plays (2011), Martin Lynch: Three Plays (1996) and John Hewitt: Two Plays (2000), all reflecting a commitment to the regional ethos in Ulster. A poetry pamphlet, Apparitions: A Hurricane appeared from Templar in 2013 and his fifth full collection, Mesopotamia, was published by the same publisher in May 2014. His work is also widely anthologised.
Hope to see you there!
The following PoSA is on Sunday 26th of April 2015.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

cross-stream: ways of writing

cross-stream: ways of writing is a series of talks from a diverse group of outstanding contemporary poets discussing the compositional process behind one of their poems. 

Produced in partnership with Fingal Libraries, these talks / presentations offer a unique opportunity for poetry audiences, writers, students and general readers to gain an insight into the range of approaches towards writing. 

Taking place in various library branches over four weeks in February and March, these events are all free admission and start at 6.30pm. They will also include Q&A sessions.

Tuesday 17 February 2015
Baldoyle Library
Maurice Scully & Enda Coyle-Greene

Wednesday 25 February 2015
Donabate Library
Harry Clifton & Susan Connolly

Tuesday 3 March 2015
Blanchardstown Library
Pat Boran & Karl Parkinson

Tuesday 10 March 2015
Malahide Library

Máighréad Medbh & Alan Jude Moore

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Submissions sought for a poetry anthology in aid of The RNLI

The Sea is an upcoming poetry anthology in aid of The RNLI. The Sea will feature poems from established and emerging writers from Ireland and further afield with the theme of the sea. The anthology also includes photographs capturing the outstanding work undertaken by the brave men and women of The RNLI.

All proceeds from the anthology will go directly to The RNLI. 

A dedicated team of published writers have been entrusted with the arduous task of selecting which poems will feature in this poetry collection.

Deadline: March 15th 2015.

Submit to

The Sea will be available for purchase this coming May.

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbour. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”. - Mark Twain

Thursday, 19 February 2015

2015 Writers’ Residency in Birr, Co. Offaly

Following a successful pilot in 2014 in which writers Mary Russell, Iggy McGovern and Orfhlaith Foyle were the inaugural recipients, applications are now sought for the 2015 Writers’ Residency in Birr, Co. Offaly.

The opportunity is for professional writers who are seeking a short break from daily routines; it is for those who feel the need to re-invigorate themselves into completing current work; and it is also for writers who may simply need inspiration, through a change of place and stimuli.

What is Included:
The bursary provides for 4 writers to receive one week’s accommodation in St. Brendan House/Tin Jug Studio with breakfast each morning and two evening suppers provided.
Length of Stay: 6 nights/7 days
Facilities: WiFi internet connections throughout, a small writing table in each of the bedrooms and an elegant drawing room with a writing desk. Herbal teas and biscuits are available in the guest area at all times. Writers may prefer to work in the studio or gallery or nearby library.

Dates: JULY Monday 6th – Sunday 12th July or OCTOBER Monday 5th to Sunday 11th October. 
Some flexibility of a day or two either side of these weeks could be accommodated.

Transport/travel costs are the writers’ own.

Who May Apply? The residency bursary is open to professional published writers of any genre such as literary fiction, poetry, playwrights, journalism or travel writing. There are four places available, for newly published or experienced writers. International writers may apply, and as above, their travel costs are their own.

Deadline: Friday 27 February 2015 at 3pm

For application requirements and more info check out

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Ambit Submissions

Deadline: 28th February

Monday, 16 February 2015

Cork Spring Literary Festival

Got down to Cork by half nine on the Friday (driving rain, high sided vehicles) so missed the reading by Douglas Dunn and Peter Fallen, which was by all accounts moving. 

Greatly enjoyed Liz Berry, a poet from The Black Country. Her collection of that name honours the thick accent from that area. I used to say my g's that way but the guts of it fell away somewhere in the Irish Sea. Passionate and tender. She's reading at the Poetry Now festival next month with Dalgit Nagra, who I believe nudged her into writing with her mother tongue. She's also running a workshop there. Highly recommended and my highlight of the festival.

Liz was followed by Don Share, a Memphis poet who has written about willfully losing his own southern accent to replace it with a more worldly NY one. Also the editor of Poetry magazine and a fine, astute poet. He was teaching a masterclass all week and the survivors were relishing it - full immersion. 


A feast of poetry. By the end I was drowning in words.

2:30pm a Southword Magazine Showcase.
Patrick Cotter, the engine of Munster Literature Centre and the festival explained some of the history of the online magazine then we had readings from a selection of recently published poets including Graham Allen, Roisin Kelly, Marie Naughton, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Colette Olney, John W Sexton and Michael Sheehan. You can read poems from all of them on the website.
Doireann Ní Ghríofa

First the winner of the Gregory O'Donoghue Prize was announced, the first Irish poet in 4 years, judged by Matthew Sweeney
Patrick Cotterthe director of the centre gave us some information about the competition. It's one of the main financing sources for the various undertakings of the centre, including the Southword magazine. More than 50% of the entries are from the USA. There are hundreds of MFA courses taught there which appears to be raising the bar somewhat. (Although I think there's a fair amount of same-y poetry written there to please their tutors. Discuss...) There were about 1,400 entries.

The winner, Breda Wall Ryan read her winning poem Self Portrait in the Convex Bulge of a Hare's Eye, a dense and worthy winner from her brand new, hot off the press debut collection In a Hare's Eye from Doire Press. We were lucky enough to have rush releases of the book in Cork so I have my copy now.

This was followed by the pre-booked readings, a selection of poets who are regularly published in periodicals but have yet to publish a complete collection. Forty poets applied. More info on the selected poets here.
Jane Clarke read some assured poems from her forth-coming collection from Bloodaxe Books. 
Stephen Connolly read some poems including a series of short poems on the Northern Ireland public transport system.

Andrew Eaton was another poet living in Belfast. 

Roisin Kelly read a poem with a memorable last line on having weed for breakfast.

Paul McMahon who I saw read at Poetry Ireland Introductions, with an impressive publishing record including winning the Ballymaloe poetry prize. He finished with a strong poem Milltown Cemetery, Belfast, March 16th

Jennifer Matthews, the organising heart of the centre, introducing the next readings. 

Tom French read some lovely poems inspired by the Ordinance Survey maps and family and local history research in the Co Meath public library system.
David Wheatley read some poems in the Doric dialect of Aberdeen. I did recognise most of the words but it was tough keeping up. 

Emily Berry read some poems from her collection Dear Boy. She was, I think, nervous but I've been told the poems off the page are very good. 
She was followed by a Canadian, Newfoundland poet Michael Crummery who was witty and touching.

Leanne O'Sullivan gave a generous introduction to poets Lavinia Greenlaw and Jo Shapcott who as long time professionals finished the festival off in style.

Lovely to meet up with other friends, old and new from the Poetry world including Alice Lyons, curator of Poetry Now, Eleanor Hooker from Dromineer festival, Aifric McGinchy, Victoria Kennefick the winner, along with Virginia Astley won the Fool For Poetry Competition and launched her chapbook White Whale, Billy Ramsell, Paula Cunningham, Caleb Brennan, Kevin Conroy, Paul Casey and Michael Farry.