Support from Culture Ireland

As many poets know, there's not a lot of money to be made in the art so when one receives the gift of travel expenses or a reading fee, it is really appreciated. In general, I have been treated well by the events and festivals where I have read. I am delighted that I have been awarded a travel and accommodation grant by Culture Ireland for my trip to the UK for Jewish Book Week in February. It is wonderful that the Irish government see value in sending Irish people abroad to promote their work. I feel I am not going to the event as an individual but more of a representative of my country. I don't get that feeling very often and usually it's isolated to soccer matches but it isn't a bad feeling to...

Jewish Book Week

My trip to London in February for Jewish Book Week is coming closer and preparations are underway. The official announcement has been made on the Jewish Book Week website and I'm delighted to see it looking so well. The event is called Jews of Ireland and features me, Ruth Gilligan and Jonathan Self. Ruth Gilligan is the author of two novels, the most recent "Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan" and Jonathan Self is a well respected writer and journalist. The event starts at 12:30pm on Sunday, 26th February in the Pancras Room in Kings Place.

Published in Penny Dreadful

I am delighted that two of my poems from Jewtown were published in the Penny Dreadful Winter/Spring 2017 issue. The poems were When Father Died and The Shochet. Thanks to the editors for considering these poem and I'm delighted to be in such good company. Here is the full list of poetry in Issue 7: Matthew Sweeney Petite Poemes en Prose after Baudelaire / Dylan Brennan Natrix Natrix, Ghost Brides/ Estevo Creus (trans: Keith Payne) Excerpts from The Book of the Dogs / Gerard Smyth Village Butcher /  Simon Lewis When Father Died, The Shochet / Jessica Traynor In Praise of Fixer Women, Trash Witch, Hide and Seek / Rosamund Taylor When I was Twelve / David Toms The Clutch, Wadding / Bernadette McCarthy Mustard Plaster, Dole / David J Costello Sowerby...

Irish Jewish Museum Reading

I had a lovely visit to the Irish Jewish Museum to read from Jewtown. I was accompanied by other poets and musicians for the two hour celebration of Irish Jewish poetry and music. Thanks to the museum for the opportunity. [gallery ids="1818,1819,1820,1821,1822,1823,1824,1825,1826"]

Freddie Rosehill, RIP

I was sad to hear of the death of Freddie Rosehill, who some would have described as the "last man standing" when the synagogue in South Terrace closed earlier in the year. Freddie will be remembered fondly by all of the Cork Jewish Community as well as the rest of the Jewish Community in Ireland. It could well be argued that the synagogue would have closed down many years ago had it not been for his passion to keep the doors of the synagogue open and the community alive. The first time I met Freddie was on the Friday night before the synagogue closed when I went down to Cork to pay my respects. The last poem in my collection was inspired by this meeting. I spent the whole service watching him. I was looking for some sort of emotion from him throughout but he stayed stoic throughout. I put it down to a feeling of resignation but, in reality, it...

In the Window of Waterstones

Browsing my Instagram feed, I spotted Kerrie O'Brien's post with a photo of her collection Illuminate in the window of Waterstones in Cork. I was delighted to see my own book on the bottom right of the display. Thanks for taking the photo, Kerrie, and I hope you don't mind me stealing it! spot-jewtown

Next Reading: Irish Jewish Museum

I'm looking forward to my next reading in the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin. This will be my second time reading in this venue and my first since Jewtown was published. Last time I read, it was part of a celebration of Jewish Cork. It was a very interesting day where we watched video footage of Gerald Goldberg from an RTE programme in the 1980s and we also listened to some people who grew up in Cork, and their tales of childhood. This time, the theme of the day is music and poetry. I'll be joined by singer and poet Judith Mok. There should be music too and there is promise of a tribute to Leonard Cohen, which will be nice. I'm going to be reading some poems I don't usually read from Jewtown and will chat about some of the backgrounds to the poems.

The Pile

Here's my latest pile of books sitting on my bedside. As usual I'm in the middle of all of these except for David Marcus' novel, A Land Not Theirs, which I should probably have read already. I'm really pleased to have William Wall's Mathematics there on the top. When I started writing poetry, I was intrigued by the mathematics of it and many of my first efforts are rigidly logical...albeit not very good! I'm looking forward to seeing how it's done properly. I'm already through Martina Evans' book and I'm very much enjoying it. I love her style. I'm still getting through my Northern Irish poets in their anthology. I keep stopping after each poet for ages but I'll eventually get there. Steven Sexton is my highlight so far. I also have my latest purchase, A Tug of Blue, awaiting its time to be read.

A Tug of Blue Launch

I was delighted to attend Eleanor Hooker's launch of her second collection, A Tug of Blue. Eleanor read a number of poems from the book. It was also very nice to meet some familiar faces in the packed room. [gallery columns="4" size="medium" ids="1796,1797,1800,1801"]

Radiohead, the Leaving Cert, and Remembering my Mother

My blog is usually dedicated to poetry in the written and, maybe, spoken form but now that Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, I'll divert just once to the poetry of Radiohead. A few weeks ago, it was announced that they were to play a concert on 20th June 2017. It brought me back 20 years to 1997, my Leaving Cert year. Radiohead were playing the RDS on the 21st June. I had seen them less than a year before in Galway but I really wanted to go. Before I even saw the timetable, I already knew that my last subject, Hebrew, would be taking place after the gig. To further inconvenience me, there was also a Jewish festival, Shavuot, happening around the first couple of days of the Leaving Cert, which meant that all Jewish students were requested to sit a separate English and Maths examination near the end of the Leaving Cert...