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

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

Creative Thinking?

I’m riding a particularly delicious literary wave after winning the Hennessy Award two weeks ago – my feet have hardly touched the ground, but in a nice way. I shouldn’t really have had any time for thinking, let alone writing, should I? What with radio interviews, trips to Dublin, and all those Facebook and Twitter messages to respond to (and I was the reluctant social media participant a while back. Ha!). But here’s a surprise, I’ve been as busy writing as ever, scribbling away, plucking poems from the ether and wondering where such creativity comes from. I like to think … Continue reading Creative Thinking?

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?

OMG, OMG, OMG!

What can I say? Thrilled doesn’t even come close! I have an ear-to-ear grin and I haven’t stopped shaking with excitement yet. I don’t quite know how I managed to drive all the way home from Dublin last night and arrive in one piece. Or how I manage to be at my desk, business as usual, this morning (and my lovely colleagues were leaning out of the upstairs office window giving me a round of applause as I arrived for work). In case you don’t know what I’m on about, let me explain: I WON A HENNESSY LITERARY AWARD FOR … Continue reading OMG, OMG, OMG!

On the Winning Side

Competitive creative writing. Now, who would have thought I’d buy into such a thing? I swear I’m not a competitive person, although I’ll have a tantrum if someone beats me at Scrabble. But creative writing competitions? What’s that all about? I don’t hold with that, do I? Um, well, yes, I do… I’m involved in running a little creative writing group in Charlestown, County Mayo, and I’m often to be heard urging members to submit their writing to competitions. It’s that third party validation thing that I’m always on about. Winning, or being shortlisted, in a writing competition offers proof … Continue reading On the Winning Side

Shameless Self Publicity!

I’ve been waiting for this **day since my birthday in July! Why? Because two of my poems are in the Irish Times today (October 28th 2017). Whoop, whoop! Actually, the birthday connection is just a coincidence. I’d been bombarding the editor of the Hennessy New Irish Writing Ciaran Carty with poems for a while, ever hopeful he’d like one or more enough to publish. Back when I started getting serious about this creative writing lark, he published my first piece of fiction in the Irish Independent, and I was subsequently nominated for a Hennessy Award in February 2015. Its the … Continue reading Shameless Self Publicity!

In Praise Of. Punctuation!!!

I’ve never been much taken with ‘experimental’ fiction, not least because all that stream-of-consciousness malarkey often eschews the rules of good grammar and punctuation. It’s not that I don’t want to be challenged by what I’m reading (although sometimes I just want to read something that’s easy on the brain, in soothing, warm bath style), but frankly, reading some so-called experimental writing is just plain hard work. And not worth the effort. Sticking my head above the parapet here, but I’ve never got on with ‘Ulysses’ (or much else by James Joyce come to that). Gasp! Did I really own … Continue reading In Praise Of. Punctuation!!!