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...

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"]