Shortlisted for Shine/Strong

Apart from having my book published, last week I got the best news. Jewtown has been shortlisted for the Shine/Strong award. This award is for the best first collection of poetry by an Irish poet. There are three Irish poets shortlisted for this award and apart from me, they are Stephanie Conn (also of Doire Press) and Adam Crothers. The awards happen on March 26th.

Published Honest Ulsterman

I'm happy to have had 3 of my poems published in the Honest Ulsterman. The three poems were all written when Emrys was very tiny and possibly in the middle of the night. I decided not to send them off for at least a year or two to try and make sure that they weren't too sentimental. I've edited out any of that sort of stuff and was delighted that the three were selected to be published. You can read them at: http://humag.co/poetry/birthmark-spilt-milk-butterfly

Two new books

I was delighted to get my hands on two new books this week. Cold Coffee at Emo Court by Arthur Broomfield, and Several Deer by Adam Crothers. The second book has been shortlisted for the Sine/Strong Award along with me and Stephanie Conn so I had to check out the competition! I've already read the first few poems and I am loving it! It is achingly clever and every line of every poem has a moment of "wow" in it. The language is just great fun and highly witty with knowing showboating where he enjambs a hyphenated word but tells us he's going to do it in the previous line. I would love to have the confidence and craft to be able to create such interesting...

On the Banks – poetry about Cork City

I was interested to see a new anthology of poems about Cork City that was published recently and edited by Alannah Hopkins with support from the Munster Literature Centre. It is a large anthology of poems about Cork City. It contains lots of well-known poems from history, (The Banks of the Lovely Lee), with several poems by classic and contemporary poets who have written about the city. The book is divided into geographical parts of the city and a quick flick through demonstrated the wealth of poetry that has been written about the people and the city. It's great to see another collection of poems about Cork City and I only wish it had been published a few years ago so I could have taken some inspiration for...

Launch of Representations of Jews in Irish Literature

I had a fantastic evening in Waterford IT where I launched the exhibition of Representations of Jews in Irish Literature, which is touring Ireland and beyond. This was the first time I've done a poetry event without doing a reading, as such. I was asked to give a presentation on how I came to write Jewtown. I spoke about my own Jewish background and how I started writing. I also spoke about my research and how I moved from Jewtown being an historically accurate account to a fictionalised account rooted in Cork City. The exhibition is going to be in Waterford IT for the month of February and is well worth a...

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...