Next on the list: Paula Meehan

My pile of books got bigger again today. I couldn't resist buying Paula Meehan's Geomantic. I am very attracted to the mathematical nature of these poems and can't wait to dive in. Unfortunately, it has to go on a waiting list behind A Land Not Theirs by David Marcus, Religion for Atheists by Alain de Botton and A Tug of Blue by Eleanor Hooker (which I'm reading at the same time as the first book.)

Shortlisted for Strokestown

One of my newer poems, Conception, has been shortlisted in the International Poetry Festival in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon. The results will be announced at the festival at the end of April. As part of being shortlisted, I have been invited to read some of my poetry at the festival.

Jewtown available in Dubray Books

I didn't realise that Jewtown was available to buy in the wonderful Dubray Books until I accidentally spotted it there in their Kilkenny branch.

Launching Representations of Jews in Irish Literature Exhibition

I am thrilled and very nervous to be launching the Representations of Jews in Irish Literature Exhibition in Waterford IT on February 1st. This exhibition from the Ulster University is touring the country and its February leg is in Waterford, where once there was a small Jewish population, which left their mark. I'm going to be addressing the crowd about my own research into Jewtown and how I came to writing the book. I'm not sure if I'll be reading any of the poems but hopefully, I'll be able to give a decent context to the affair. For anyone interested in coming along, the event takes place in Waterford IT at 6pm on 1st February.Some friendly faces would be deeply appreciated! The featured image above is the 1901 wedding of Miss Esther Levin of John Street in Waterford to Mr Myer Stein of Dublin. It's doing the rounds on social media in...

Reading at Staccato

I had a fantastic night at Staccato in Toner's of Baggot Street in Dublin hosted by David Butler. Staccato is now in its second year and always draws in big names and this time they had the poet Siobhán Campbell and comedian Paul Tylak, (who is probably most famous for his appearances in Father Ted). Also on the bill were Kerrie O'Brien, Liz McSkeane, Niall McArdle and Ruth McKee (music). It was a really entertaining night and I particularly enjoyed Niall McArdle's story about a son coming home to his mother's wake and finding out she had campaigned vigorously for the marriage equality campaign despite almost disowning him a few years previously. Liz McSkeane's story was another highlight for me about a Catholic girl learning about Protestants. I also enjoyed Paul Tylak's detective short story, which was very funny. However, that's not to take...

Review: Jewish Renaissance

I was delighted to see Jewtown reviewed in the UK-based magazine, Jewish Renaissance, today. I was very pleased that the review was very positive about the collection. They also printed 3 of my poems from Jewtown: Tashlich, Chopped Herring and Weight. I also may have had the strangest headline written underneath a picture of me: "I thank God for a mattress." Seriously though, I'm very pleased that the book has been reviewed by such a prestigious UK magazine. It is very difficult to get poetry books reviewed so it's lovely to see it in print. Thanks to David for the kind words and I look forward to meeting him and his family at Jewish Book Week next...

Reading at Staccato, January 11th

Happy New Year! I'm back on the road and off to Dublin to read at Staccato on Wednesday, 11th January. Staccato is run by writers, David Butler and Tanya Farrelly, and every month they bring together writers, poets, comedians and musicians to play in Toners in Baggot Street. It all starts off at 7:45pm and I'm very much looking forward to reading some of my poems from Jewtown at it. I know some of the names on the list and looking forward to meeting them in the flesh, as it were. There are also some unfamiliar names to me on the list so looking forward to meeting them too.

My Writing Year

It's traditional for anyone who runs a website or blog to reflect on the year sometime in December. Never one to rebel against tradition, these are my thoughts on 2016. It has been an exciting year for me as a writer: the highlight, of course, having my first collection published. I had been writing Jewtown for about 5 years and sending bits and pieces of it off to magazines and journals for publication. I attended John MacKenna's launch of his most recent poetry collection and on my way out, as I was saying goodbye, John introduced me to John and Lisa from Doire Press. John asked me to send him 20 poems from the collection. I admit I dithered and didn't get around to it until the end of 2015 but I was delighted to be one of Doire's poets for 2016 and a few months later in May 2016, my book was released. Obviously, publishing Jewtown is the...

The 9th Light – Shalom Park

The annual event of witnessing the 9th light , the shamash, light up in Shalom Park takes place on the last night of Chanukah. This is an art installation that pays tribute to the memory of the Jewish people who lived in Cork. The 9th light only lights up one day every year, on the last night of Chanukah. City Hall is sponsoring a 'Hot drinks Reception' in City Hall, after the event. The cover of Jewtown is inspired by this annual event that remembers the Jewish Community of Cork. Sunset Saturday 31st December 2016 Lighting Sequence 9th Lamp on : 4:24pm Sunset : 4:34pm 9th Lamp off : 5:04pm

Art Beat Interview

I was delighted to be interviewed by Don O'Mahoney again, this time on UCC98.3FM's Art Beat programme. The interview mainly focuses on two poems in my collection, Jewtown: Preservation and The Last Sabbath at South Terrace Synagogue and the stories behind both of the poems. We also talk about Freddie Rosehill who passed away recently and the new Jewish community that has grown since the synagogue closed earlier in the year. Before I come on, there's a recorded interview about the 9th Light Evening Echo Project in Shalom Park. My interview comes in around 38 minutes into the...