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

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

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

May I?

So, what’s the best thing to do when you’re really, really busy? Yep, that’s it – find something else to do as well. So here I am, just surfacing after the head-wrecking weekend that was Strokestown International Poetry Festival, participating in a social media training course. (Don’t laugh. And no, I probably shouldn’t have responded to my terror of Facebook by deleting my page recently, but that’s another story.) While I’m at it, I could have a go at developing my memoir-writing skills with the legend that is Michael Harding, couldn’t I?  Roscommon Arts Centre’s Bealtaine course this year. And … Continue reading May I?

Watching the Dust Settle

I’ve been busy lately coaxing dust bunnies from under the sofa, not least because I’m mad for cleaning when I’m stressed or sad.  When I’m laid back and cheery, I can’t see dust, so my house is a mess. But right now, there are lots of things going on and I’m trying to fix them with a (faux) feather duster. When I’m not waving a microfibre cloth at dirty skirtings, waiting for the phone to ring with more sad news (long story), I’m getting ready for my book launch at Strokestown International Poetry Festival. Less than two weeks to go … Continue reading Watching the Dust Settle

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?

Twenty Years and Counting

Here’s news of something close to my heart (right now, serving as a distraction for me, #HennessyLitAwards): Strokestown International Poetry Festival, this year celebrating its 20th anniversary. The programme has been announced and tickets are on sale (hurry, they’re going fast!), with an eclectic mix of all things poetry-related taking place over the May Bank Holiday weekend, May 3rd– 7th. As a member of the organising committee, I have a vested interest in spreading the word about the festival, so here goes: Strokestown is one of only a handful of POETRY festivals in the country, and well worth a visit … Continue reading Twenty Years and Counting

The Numbers Game

I’ve been crunching numbers over the past few days, trying to figure (excuse the pun) if I should take up a new pastime. This writing lark has cost me a lot of money one way or another (residential poetry masterclasses don’t come cheap), and I’ve managed to crawl to my 100th submission this year. That averages out at less than nine submissions a month, which doesn’t sound too excessive. And included in ‘submissions’ are applications for grants, pitches for freelance articles, and several other writing activities. I enter a lot of free writing competitions (there are a lot about), and  … Continue reading The Numbers Game

May Day, May Day? Can’t Remember…

I nearly forgot to boast about my recent win at Strokestown Poetry Festival – I took first prize in the Roscommon Poets’ Prize, a competition in which I came third the previous two years. That was certainly a good start to May! Of course I’m delighted. The poem is about memory, a theme that keeps coming up to bite me on the bum, to remind me what to write about when I’m stuck for ideas. You can read it here. The competition was judged by a friend of mine, Sligo poet Jessamine O’Connor, who would know my style and usual … Continue reading May Day, May Day? Can’t Remember…