It’s been a busy Spring and Summer promises more fun to come.
To open 2016, Skylight 47 kindly published my poem “London Trans Port” in Issue 6. As both my first poem in print and first publication in Ireland, am doubly delighted. Skylight 47’s catchphrase is: “possibly Ireland’s most interesting poetry publication” and it has a rightly deserved excellent reputation. It was brilliant to be included in Issue 6.
Early March saw my first trip to Doolin Writer’s Weekend. A boutique festival, it offered an astonishing range of events for readers and writers alike. The poetry workshop, run by Stephen Murray was an absolute eye and door opener. Drawing on the idea of The Deadly Sins, it created the space to access stuff that’s normally uncomfortable. It also provided plenty of ideas for further poems and I only wish Stephen did more workshops.
Doolin itself is a wild spot, full of panoramic scenery, close to the Cliffs of Moher. It sits about an hour from Shannon and an hour and a half from Galway city. The time of year means that the various shops are closed and so if you wanted to buy a chocolate bar, you’d have to go into Ennis. The ferries to the Aran Islands are closed as the weather generally doesn’t permit. If you’re on public transport, the timetable is sketchier too.
The rewards are walks like this and a weekend jam packed with the cream of Irish writing talent, in all areas. Plenty of people you’ll have heard of and plenty more you may not, but whose work you ought to know. Workshops, readings, an open mic, with plenty of live music and craic. The very well priced weekend ticket includes two lunches and one supper, all good homey food, perfect for the weather, with choices available. Get in early though, as once the Paddywagon tour buses are in, you could be waiting!
Late March saw the publication of a featurette over at Wild Words on my creative process. Another first, it was interesting to have been part of this and made me think more closely about creative process in general.
Early April saw the inclusion of my poem “Myth Wife” in the Beltane 2016 anthology from Three Drops Press. Another first (inclusion in an anthology), I was absolutely delighted when I saw the cover. The image “Midsummer Eve” by Edward Hughes, is one of my all time favourite fairytale images. It felt like a little bit of magic that my poem had found it’s home there.
I’m mentioning firsts a lot. If I’m lucky, there’ll be a few more and then most of the possible firsts of publishing poetry will be done.
Workshop-wise, I did a day workshop at The Poetry School with Mona Arshi. In keeping with Mona’s legal background and thought process, she took us through her well developed arc of creative process, helping us to generate new work and encouraging a mixed level group.
The editing I do for The Bogman’s Cannon continues; I am presently working on two journalism pieces, one of which will be an essay on the treatment of vulnerable adults in Ireland.
For the West Cork Literary Festival this year, I’ve booked to attend Jo Shapcott’s workshop. This seems like an opportunity too good to miss and the festival programme this year looks like another stunner.