I had a great night at the Spokes Poetry Evening in Waterford City this week. The event is a monthly one where Waterford's poetry enthusiasts take part in a very friendly open mic, all organised by Colette Colfer. Every term, they have a guest poet, and I was lucky enough to be there to read from Jewtown. I had just recovered from a fairly severe throat infection and my voice was just about back in action! I met some fantastic people, including two people who were raised Jewish (we got a photo together, see below) Weirdly, one of them was in school around the same time as me but we had no recollection of each other. We're probably cousins too! Spokes was one of the friendliest poetry evenings I have ever attended and a huge thank you to Colette and everyone for their warmth and hospitality. [gallery ids="2147,2148,2149,2150,2151,2152,2153,2154"]
I'm featured in this special anniversary edition of the Hodges and Figgis anthology with over 200 other writers. I have a poem in there somewhere about Emrys, less than a minute after he was born, called Apgar Score. I'm very grateful to Alan Hayes from Arlen Press who was kind enough to ask me to contribute to the collection. This is the first time I have been asked to do so for any collection so it means a...
I was very happy to see that 8 of my poems were a runner-up in the Blue Nib Chapbook Competition. The 8 poems are all about my son, Emrys, most of which had their foundation in the small hours of the morning as he settled down after a feed. I left them alone for a couple of years and came back to them to scrape off any sentimentality and eye gunk from them. I also learned that the technical word for eye gunk is gound so I must try to make a poem from that! You can read all the poems here.
I was delighted to be one of the winning entries to the Troubadour Poetry Prize this year. I won a 2-year subscription to the Manhattan Review so I am looking forward to that. The poem I entered is a relatively new one, Man Talk. I have only recently changed the title and this was the first competition I entered with the new name. Before that, the poem has gotten nowhere. It's interesting to see how the title of a poem can be so important. The poem is one of a series that I'm working on where I'm playing around with trying to understand the psyche of 21st century males. This is the first one that has been accepted for publication. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make it to the ceremony due to work so I don't feature in the photo above. Congratulations to the other prizewinners!
Tonight, I headed to Kilkenny for the first of the Doire Press Reading Events with David Butler and Annemarie NíCurrain. It took place in the lovely Stone House Bookshop. After buying and reading Annemarie's poems, it was great to get a further insight to the poems and she told us the background to some that she read. [gallery size="medium" ids="2115,2116,2117"]
I went to Dublin to see Brian Kirk, Emma McKervey and Amanda Bell read from their respective first collections. Lisa Frank from Doire Press interviewed the three poets and each read a couple of poems from their collections. I also took a visit to Books Upstairs and bought three more books. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="2110,2111"]
I had a great time in California over the last week with a trip supported by Culture Ireland to the Los Gatos Irish Literary Festival. I spend 4 and a half days in sunny California hanging out with some of Ireland's best writers. I was involved in two events: the representation of Jews in Irish literature, and New Irish Poets. I attended lots of the events but did get a chance to sneak into San Francisco to the famous City Lights bookstore, where I filled my bag up with loads and loads of Beat books. [gallery columns="4" ids="2096,2097,2098,2099,2100,2101,2102,2103,2104,2105,2106"]
I was the featured reader at the Sunflower Sessions in Capel Street, Dublin on the 27th September, my first reading of the new year, nicely sandwiched between Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur. The venue is probably the most hipster place I've ever read in and the crowd were way cooler than me! I took a few photos to get a feel for the atmosphere. The night kicked off with a spoken word poet so I thought I was going to be in trouble but as the night went on, it was great to see lots of different types of work being read; from epics to satire to good old traditional lyric poetry! Thanks to Declan for having me on. I'll definitely be back to hear some more. [gallery columns="6" ids="2087,2088,2089,2090,2091,2092"]
I have been asked to be one of the 16 Irish writers to travel to Los Gatos in California for the 2017 Irish Writers' Festival. I will be taking part in two readings/discussions. The first is centred around the touring of the Representation of Jews in Irish Literature, which will be exhibited. The second is a reading for New Irish Poets. As one could imagine, I am very excited about this!
I attended an interesting lecture about Jews in Irish Literature, including "metaphorical" Jews, by Bryan Cheyette in Trinity College. I had heard about the talk as he mentioned that he was going to mention Jewtown. Bryan had a theory that my poem "Patched Up" which featured a boy called Sweeney and T.S. Elliot's Jew-hating character, also called Sweeney, were linked. I wish I was clever enough to have thought of this link but I'll take his compliment that it was probably subliminally in my head! [gallery size="medium" ids="2052,2053,2054,2055,2056"]