Forthcoming readings (so far)

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The craic is always good at Irish festivals and events…I’ve been invited to be a guest reader at these:

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(Photo taken by Linda Ibbotson)

30th June       – Spotlight Poetry reading, Alchemy Café, Barrack St. Cork 7pm.  

Delighted to be appearing as guest reader  at Cork’s own Alchemy Café as part of the Spotlight Poetry Reading series.  Also featuring is Mags Creedon with her instruments and beautiful voice.  Plus there’s an open mic! It all kicks of at 7.30.pm.

Alchemy Café is a special word-friendly venue, so if you’re Cork-based it’s definitely the place to hang out.

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 16th July         – Itaca magazine launch, 16th July 2016 at 6pm, Cassidy’s                                            Hotel, Cavendish Suite, Dublin

 

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17th July         – Stanzas Festival, Limerick city,  2.00pm at the Bubble Tea Paradise                           café, reading with Michael Ray and Emma Langford

 

 

18th July       – Hosting a poetry event with Jo Shapcott, Sarah Howe and Theo Dorgan at the Maritime Hotel, 6.30pm.

19th July         – Reading at West Cork Literary Festival, arguably one of Ireland’s best literary festivals, in beautiful Bantry, with Cónal Creedon and  William Wall, Maritime Hotel, 2.30pm.

 

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30th July         – in conversation with Liz Nugent at the Ludgate Hub, Ireland’s first digital café, at 2pm, during the colourful Skibbereen Arts Festival



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30th July         –   WAS poetry marathon at Working Artists Studios, Skibbereen

 

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 19 – 22nd Aug    – Five Glens Festival, ManorHamilton, Leitrim, reading and workshop

 

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 28th Sept         –Toner’s famous traditional Pub, Baggot St.,  Dublin

 

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17th October       – Taking part in a showcase reading at the Troubadour, London

 

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 4 Nov                 –Allingham Festival, Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, for a reading and workshop

And I thought it would get quiet once my kids had left home…!

 

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End of a residency

and we wonder cover image revisedIt’s been such an honour to be part of the experience that is the Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre. And that’s what it is. An experience. Every time you walk in the door, you enter a mesmerising world of the imagination, with new residencies, exhibitions and installations occurring all the time.

My residency wrapped up with an exhibition of poems, some of which I wrote in response to the work of the other artists in residence: Toma McCullim, whose current work engages with people coping with dementia, the magnificent dancer, Tara Brandel, and Emma Jervis, the photographer.

With so many events taking place during the Skibbereen Arts Festival, there wasn’t time or space for a reading, but Justine Foster suggested (over lunch) that putting together a booklet of the poems would complement the exhibition. I did read some of the poems at the Poetry Marathon which took place at Paul and Marie O’Colmain’s Working Artists Studios (and also interviewed Liz Nugent, author of the psychological thriller, Unravelling Oliver at Holger and Nichola Smyth’s Time Travellers’ Gallery.) The booklet is available for purchase at the Centre. Here’s one of the poems, which I wrote in response to Toma’s exhibition, These Tangled Threads:

tangled threads

Keep net

after Toma McCullim

losing the word for ‘glass’,                                                             you say carrier of wine,                                                                                                         find new vessels

too close, not close enough:                                                                                        sweet, useless balls                                                                                                              of sugar icing,

amuse-bouches that turn                                                                                                    to tears                                                                                                                                    at a crossing

junk, cat-cradled                                                                                                                  by wool                                                                                                                              cross-stitching over

a cracked egg                                                                                                                      still holding                                                                                                                            yolk
more raw,                                                                                                                            less – or more – elaborately                                                                                            attached

to the green-grape                                                                                                                 of rust                                                                                                                             spilling

its metallic waves,                                                                                                           collapsing,                                                                                                                           one riff at a time

My connection with Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre isn’t over though. In the autumn, I’ll be offering further poetry courses, so that’s another legacy. My heartfelt thanks to all the staff and other artists at Uillinn. It’s been an amazing experience, and I’m glad to have found new friends.

(PS Love how the WordPress formatting has disjointed the poem across the page! It wasn’t written like that, but as it’s evocative of the gaps in synapses that can occur with dementia, I’ll leave it like this…)

Scribblers, Higgins and Teen Camp

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Making letter shapes

Wow, the time flies. One of the highlights of the last couple of weeks was visiting Alison Glennie’s drama group, and doing poetry with them. Of course, first they had to warm up by making letter shapes together. Then down to the hard work:

Writing poems

We’ve almost reached the end of the Scribblers course– only one workshop to go, when we’ll be working on the cover of our magazine, to be printed in time for Michael D’s visit on the 11th June. A lot of excitement about that. So many poems and stories for me to type up this week!

One of my young writers surprised me with this poem last Friday.I think she captured me perfectly! Have to share it with you:

Lucija's poem to me

I’ll have a couple of weeks to respond to new work at Uillinn, and to work on my collection, as well as continuing the one-to-one editing surgeries. Anyone interested in that can phone me on 086 3633567 to book an appointment.

Then it’ll be on to the Teen Camp taster, from the 8th-10th July, which will end my residency. As well as a little poetry, we’ll be doing fiction. I’m hoping for teenagers (aged from 13-18, although so far those booking are around 16) who are serious about writing.

TEEN CAMP brochure

And I’m not sure if that will open! But you can call me on 086 3633567 for details or to book.

Poet in Residence – Week 1

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First week of my residency over already! It’s been such fun, decorating my studio, with the help of Stephen, who had to use a ladder to hang my African wall-hanging. One of my paintings is by a friend, the self-taught artist and musician, Les Clague. The other is my own. I’ve put up poems from my own collection for visitors to read. They can choose one to take away with them as a memento.

So far, I’ve had interesting visitors, among them Sheena Jolley, the wildlife photographer, who’s invited me to visit her in her Mill House Gallery in Schull. (Here’s her website: http://www.sheenajolleyphotography.com/). She took away two poems: ‘Bodhrán makers suspected, after goats go missing’ and ‘Do not lie to a lover.’ She is thinking of responding to the poems with photographs. Also, Bantry-based Warren Hartley, a South African videographer, from Cape Town, where I did my post-graduate degree, so we had plenty to talk about. He took my poem ‘Yes’ (after James Joyce’s Molly Bloom). Among others, there was a jewellery designer, Nuala Jamison (www.nualajamison.com) and also a student, Ian Curly, who’s currently taking the art degree on Sherkin island.

It’s been great to see former participants from workshops I’ve offered in Bandon, Skibbereen and Cork. I’ve had several editing surgeries, and also facilitated my first Tuesday Poem to Go workshop, with everyone producing an experimental poem.  Ann Davoren, the director of the art centre, swung by to say hi, and I’ve been seeing a bit of Justine Foster, the Programme Manager Education & Community Co-ordinator, and Rita O’Driscoll, the Development Manager, to exchange ideas about the residency. Photographer Emma Jervis, also currently doing a residency, has called in to take a couple of photographs, which she’s kindly given me permission to use here:

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I visited St Patrick’s National School and met Alan Foley, the principal, and the fifth class teacher, who let me spend a bit of time with the fifth and sixth class. They sat on the floor of the carpeted hall and, in groups, enthusiastically responded to a writing activity, an indication of what they can expect if they participate in ‘Scribblings’,  the Young Writers’ Programme I’m offering as part of the residency. The boys were fantastic, producing great poems in a very short space of time. One group rapped their poem! All looks promising…

I was sorry I didn’t get the opportunity to visit the other schools before they broke up for Easter, but I’m hoping parents will see the fliers around town, at the Centre and in the library, and bring their children to the taster workshops on the 10th and 11th April, which will be followed by weekly workshops.  The plan is to produce a magazine of the poems written during the six-week course.

Looking forward to the Eye to Eye talk this evening with Tess Leak, another artist in residence, whose studio is next to mine. She’s working on some large scale ‘emergency’ drawings towards an exhibition to be held at the end of her residency. Great way to celebrate my birthday!

Slow dancing in a flaming building

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Photograph taken by Emma Jervis. http://www.emmajervis.com/#!/index The ‘beasties’ on the wall are part of an exhibition called ‘Flying Colours’. Pupils from twenty primary schools contributed their work.

I’ve been invited to be Poet in Residence at the exciting new Uillinn Arts Centre in Skibbereen, West Cork, from the 24th March to the 18th May.

Part of the remit is to write a blog, and as I already have this one, I thought I’d hijack it for the eight weeks, to write about my discoveries and writing process during the residency, which will be my first. This is also the centre’s first time having a poet in residence, so we’ll all be learning from the experience. Justine Foster, one of the organisers at the centre, is fantastically open to any ideas I may have, so I’m exploring ways my poetry might respond to the opening season’s exhibition, called Fourth Space. This comprises sculptures and installations by a range of artists: David Beattie, Karl Burke, Rhona Byrne, Maud Cotter, Angela Fulcher, Mark Garry, Caoimhe Kilfeather, Dennis McNulty, and Liam O’Callaghan. As I’ll also be interacting with the wider community, out of my familiar territory  and in a wonderful space, who knows what will happen!

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The new Uillinn Arts Centre in Skibbereen. Photograph by Celia Bartlett.http://ailecphotography.blogspot.ie/

During the residency, I’ll be offering Poem-to-Go lunchtime workshops on Tuesdays, and one-to to-one editing sessions, as well as collaborating with other artists in residence, such as the fantastic photographer Emma Jervis. I’m also looking forward to   observing aerial dancer and teacher Tara Brandel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpyplVqURqM.

Of course I’ll be reading as well as writing, and will continue to post any wonderful poems I come across.

Anyone interested in doing the workshops or having one-to-one editing sessions should contact the Uillinn Arts Centre: 028 22090 or 0863633567.