Concerning the Chopping of Onions

You might know the ‘G’ in my name covers Giddy, Gush and Gabble? No wonder – I’m trying to decide which part of yesterday’s memorable birthday was the best. Maybe all of it? Coffee and a chat with legendary American poet Billy Collins, then being showered with wonderful gifts when I got home, one of which was a canvas print of a photo from last year’s Hennessy Award. Even if you don’t like poetry, you’ve gotta be impressed that I had a Dublin pub named after me, if only for a weekend! My lovely family had heard me claiming I … Continue reading Concerning the Chopping of Onions

Filling in the Gaps

Trying to find new ways to say old things can be a bit wearing. In my case, wearing on the old computer keyboard. My laptop was bought with the winnings from a short story competition in…damn, was it really three years ago? Anyway, I’ve worn the face off some of the keys. A R E S T to be precise. I don’t touch-type, but I know my way around a keyboard, so it is no real bother for me. I’m even trying to squeeze a poem out of the scenario, all about naked keys, worn to the bone. I think … Continue reading Filling in the Gaps

Trumpets (Own, and the Blowing Of)

So here’s some cracking news for  what would otherwise be a miserable day (rain, and the first of my mother’s birthdays without her): ‘Soft Touch’ is now available to buy (well, to order before its proper publication date of February 1st). Ta da! Soft Touch is my book of 20 poems chosen by the UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy in her Laureate’s Choice series for 2019. I’m not hiding my light under a bushel here (although I might be found hiding under the table after the book is launched). Here are some of the endorsements it has garnered so far: … Continue reading Trumpets (Own, and the Blowing Of)

In The Mood*

I’ve barely written a word for nearly three weeks, which must be something of a record for me. I’ve even stopped writing in my journal. My mother, less than two months short of her 95th birthday,  has died, and while I wasn’t surprised by her passing, I was shocked (they’re different). Despite my best intentions, I discovered I wasn’t a bit prepared for the loss. Me and my sister (her only children) were in agreement for some time that our widowed mother’s life as a bed-ridden cripple in a Care Home could not have given her much pleasure lately, despite … Continue reading In The Mood*

Say It Again, Sam

Some writing is best heard rather than read.  That goes for poems, too. Especially mine. Some of them work out loud, others don’t. I’ve been fortunate this week to have had the opportunity to read my poetry to large enough audiences, first at The Word in Sligo Library (an open mic) and then in Galway at the launch of the Crannóg Magazine. Same poem. Different audiences. Same response (a puzzled silence before the polite applause). It’s one of those poems you need to look at on the page, perhaps savour a little. It’s yet another poem inspired by one of … Continue reading Say It Again, Sam

Name That Thing

Do you ever wonder how names get attached to things? I mean, who decides? Obviously, your parents have a bit of a say in your name when you are a child. I went through a phase of shortening my name to ‘Lou’, which used to make my mother cringe. Even now, I have friends (does a husband count as a friend?) who call me Lou, although I tend to introduce myself as ‘Louise’. Lou Cole sounds like some sort of drain cleaner or an energy drink, perhaps. Not a poet who had a pub named after her for a whole … Continue reading Name That Thing

On Shedding Layers of Trepidation

It’s tomorrow. TOMORROW? Eek! I have done all the preparation I can, now I just have to wait and see if anyone turns up. I had no idea a book launch could be so nerve-wracking, or is it wrecking? Or racking? Who cares? My book of 60 poems, ‘Beyond the Green Bridge’, materialised earlier this year, before I won the Hennessy, and was as much about me getting my name out there as anything. Well, that worked a treat, and I had a first launch at Strokestown International Poetry Festival in May. I’m not sure that many people noticed – … Continue reading On Shedding Layers of Trepidation

How Did That Happen?

In a bizarre but vivid dream, I’m sitting in front of a blank notebook thinking of writing a poem about how my elderly mother never listens to me, how one of us is above our station (all fur coat and no knickers), and how sad I am that she doesn’t really act like my mother any more. The poem materialises like magic in the way some poems do, and after several drafts (not my usual zillion, billion, lots), gets a public airing. Several readings in front of appreciative audiences later, I change the ending, moving the punchline to where it … Continue reading How Did That Happen?