Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Poetry and Wine in Carton

This sounds like a great event.
On tomorrow, Thursday 31 May, at 8pm in Carton Golf Club Bar there will be wine tasting and readings by three wonderful poets.

Iggy McGovern, a fantastic, witty poet from Coleraine, published by Dedalus Press, also a physics professor at Trinity; Eleanor Hooker, a thoughtful poet in full control of all her words from North Tipperary, published by Dedalus Press and a lifeboat helm and the wonderful Kate Dempsey, a Maynooth based poet who reads her poetry at events and festivals all over Ireland, published by Moth Editions.

They will be reading wine inspired poems in between sips.
All welcome, €10.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Five Minute Play Competition

A reminder of this competition. 
Not much time left but you only have to write a five minute play so get writing.  Very good prizes.
Note: This is organised by the Swift Satire Festival not Boyne Writers so Boyne Writers members can enter (including me of course).

The Swift Satire Competition, which for the last number of years was organized by Boyne Writers Group for the Trim Swift Festival, is not being held this year. In its place the festival has come up with this idea: A five minute drama competition.

Scripts for original 5-minute plays are now being accepted by the Swift Satire Festival, Trim, Co Meath, for performance during this year’s festival on Sunday, July 8.

A shortlist of 5 plays will be selected for competition. Entrants on this shortlist will be required to stage their own play with their own cast. Each play must include a character called Gulliver. Casts are limited to three characters.

Entry fee is €5 per play. First prize €300; €50 each for the four runners-up, with a €100 audience prize for the best play (decided on votes by the audience).

Closing date for entries is Friday, June 1. The shortlist of five finalists will be selected, and authors informed, by Friday, June 8.

Enquiries and rules from or to Paddy Smith, 25 St Johns, Trim, Co Meath, 086 1577526.

The Swift Satire Festival (formerly the Trim Swift Festival) is a celebration of the life, times and heritage of the writer, Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), who lived in the Trim area for many years.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sligo History Book

Another book finished. Yes, at last, the history manuscript has been posted off to Four Courts Press. Finished of course is an imprecise term. It's finished in the sense that the manuscript has been submitted but there will be proofreading and corrections. On my computer I've a folder in my Irish Revolution folder called The End and recently I had to create a new folder in that called The Final End.

It's a Dylan quote actually, from Idiot Wind:

You didn’t know it,
you didn’t think it could be done,
in the final end he won the wars
After losin’ every battle

The editors have OK-ed the final draft and that's great. I have never been so edited as over the last year between the poetry collection and the history book. It is just brilliant to have editors who read your work carefully and basically tell you what's wrong. Then you can just go ahead and do the corrections.

I've exceeded the 70,000 words but only by a little. Every comma has been inserted in the appropriate place in the copious footnotes and a great selection of photographs have been chosen and captioned.

I don't think the cover design has been finalized yet but the photograph above of the Rolls Royce armoured car taken in Old Market Street, Sligo on 16 April 1922 will be used in the design. The photograph is from the National Library of Ireland collections.

The book is due out before the end of the year.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Asking for Directions - Ocean FM Interview

Update: I've put a recording of the interview on my Skydrive in a public folder, available here. (I think!). 

I was interviewed by Ocean FM's Therese Madden earlier in the week about the publication of Asking for Directions. The interview, or an edited version, should be included in this Sunday evenings Arts House programme on that radio station which serves Sligo and Donegal.

A pleasant experience, once it's not live it takes away a lot of the stress. Among other things Therese asked about my Sligo background, how I write and what advice I would give to unpublished poets.

I read two poems, both of which have Sligo connections; the one about laying down all the clothes I ever wore to carpet the road back to Sligo and one about my grandmother who died of TB in 1932, combining that memory with the Eucharistic Congress of the same year.

I'll be listening live on the internet. I don't think they have a podcast available later.

Ocean FM: Sunday evening; 8pm - 9pm ARTS HOUSE, presented by Therese Madden. All the latest on the regional literary, dramatic, artistic and craft scene. A perfect showcase for local talent.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Droichead Arts Centre Upcoming Events

Saturday 26 May
Fiction Workshop with Sean O'Reilly

The Stinging Fly on Tour presents a one-day workshop that will focus on work in progress. Each participant will be expected to submit work in advance, and all work submitted will be shared prior to the workshop. In-depth discussion of participants' work will form the basis of the workshop.
The Stinging Fly on Tour is funded by the Arts Council

Sean O’Reilly runs The Stinging Fly's 'New Way to Fly' Novel Workshop. His own published work includes Curfew and Other Stories, the novels Love and Sleep and The Swing of Things, and Watermark (The Stinging Fly Press). He has been writer in residence with Dublin City Council, Fingal Country Council and IADT, Dun Laoghaire. He has also led writing workshops at Listowel, Cúirt and the Irish Writers' Centre.

Time : 10am. Price €50.00

Wednesday 30 May 
Stinging Fly Showcase Event

With readings by the novelist, Emer Martin, short-story writer, Mary Costello, and poets, Alan Jude Moore and Leeanne Quinn. Plus music from special guest, Briana Corrigan (The Beautiful South), who has recently released her second solo album, Redbird.

The Stinging Fly literary magazine has worked since 1997 to publish and promote the best new Irish and international writing. This showcase event is supported by the Arts Council's touring programme.

7.30-- 9 pm  Admission Free

Droichead Arts Centre, Barlow House, Narrow West Street, Drogheda, Co. Louth
Tel: + 353 041 9875140

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Barbara Smith Launches The Angels' Share

Barbara Smith's second poetry collection, The Angels' Share, was launched last night by poet Enda Coyle-Greene in the Basement Gallery, Dundalk. Another very successful, enjoyable event in an impressive setting completely different to the hotel function rooms of the previous two night. So unlike the previous two night there were no weight loss classes next door.

Enda Coyle-Greene (below) gave a very detailed, insightful introduction to Barbara's work stressing her great facility with language, her imagination and her attention to detail.

Barbara read a selection of her poetry, making a journey from Antarctica and Shackleton's Portable Homeland, by Mount Everest and the wonderful series of Mallory sonnets, through the Sistine Chapel, to end up back home with a selection of poems for her own children and her very clever and hilarious Pair Bond dedicated to Dolly Parton.

Top: Barbara reads in the Basement Gallery. The sculpture is by John Behan.

Three of Barbara's poems included in this collection are online here.
Interview with Barbara here.

All of the books launched this week by Doghouse can be purchased on the publisher's website.
The following bookshops also stock Doghouse books:
Dublin: Books Upstairs, College Greeen & The Winding Stair Bookshop.
Galway: Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop. Cork: Russell’s Bookshop.
Listowel:Seanchai Literary Centre & Woulfe’s Bookshop.
Killarney: The Killarney Bookshop.
Tralee: O’Mahony’s, Polymath & The Kerry Bookshop.
Kenmare: The Kenmare Bookshop.

And my book, Asking for Directions, is also available in Liber Bookshop, Sligo; Spar, Trim and the Navan Bookshop.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rus in Urbe Leixlip Launch

The second Doghouse launch last night, this time that of James Lawless's Rus in Urbe in Leixlip. I'm delighted that mine was first so I can relax at these other two. This went very well, a large enthusiastic crowd, a good launch speech by Catherine Murphy Independent TD and a very nice reading by James.

Catherine Murphy spoke of how poetry provides an alternative way of looking at ourselves in these difficult times. She congratulated James on the way he evokes a sense of place, rural and urban, and stressed the importance of this.

James read about six poems carefully chosen to reflect his life journey which began in the Liberties in Dublin and is now shared between Leixlip and west Cork. His reading of The Pincers, about his first meeting with this large metal instrument used on farms  got a great response:

It's for the bulls, he said,
handing it to me
I opened its fangs
and saw the black hairs.

Pictures: Top: Noel King introduces James Lawless. Right: James with Catherine Murphy TD.

James Lawless's website.

And tonight we're off to Dundalk for the launch of Barbara Smith's The Angels' Share in the Basement Gallery at 6.00 pm.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Asking for Directions on its way!

The collection has been well and truly launched! At a most enjoyable function (after I got over the nerves) in the Castle Arch Hotel last night Pat Dunne launched Asking for Directions. A great audience of 60-70 friends, relations, fellow-writers, former colleagues and others made the evening a memorable one.

Paddy Smith was MC for the night and as usual did a great job. Paddy combines very careful preparation with a delightfully casual, audience-teasing delivery. He has this great knack of letting the audience in on the process with comments like "There's a word I've been dying to use for a few years and this is the chance" (the word was polymath) and "I've come up with a wonderful phrase to describe Michael" (something about Gulliver in Lilliput!) though he did use that for a shameless plug for the Trim Swift Festival.

And then Pat Dunne, whose speech I was really looking forward to, it being the first public comment on the collection, the first review in effect. He did a great job, pointing out the strands of travel and fascination with foreign places but the constant references to my past and places in my past. He chose three poems for special attention, read them and offered analysis. Hearing one's poems read by an expert reader is a pleasure too seldom experienced. He chose Bolton Abbey, The Church of St George and Ashes and Snow. I was delighted with his choice since none of those were on my reading list for the night. The last of those three is a very early poem which I had almost forgotten about but he reminded me how good it actually is!

After introductions like those from Paddy and Pat it was easy to take the podium and read. I thanked the many family and friends who attended, some whom had travelled long distances to be there; fellow poets, those who attended and those further afield who represent a community which has been a constant source of encouragement; members of the two writing groups, Boyne Writers and LitLab which have been so important to me and which were well represented; Meath Arts Office which generously supported the publication; Noel Monahan and Tom French who read the manuscript and supplied blurbs for the back cover; nephew Peter Farry for supplying such a wonderfully suitable photograph for the front and Noel King and Doghouse for accepting and the collection and doing such a fine job in its production.

Then a short 'mission statement': Many of these poems have memories of growing up in Sligo in them. This has nothing to do with nostalgia. All we have is our past. How we deal with our past individually and collectively, makes us what we are. So you could say that these poems come from my dealing with my past. But they are poems not autobiography though based on memories and events often altered to create a good striking truthful poem. The truth in the poem may not be the truth of what actually happened.

I read nine poems, tried to give a flavour of the collection. I started with The Ball of Twine and ended with If I could Lay Down all Clothes I ever Wore.  It's easy to read when you have such an attentive, positive audience and I really enjoyed it. A few words from Doghouse editor, Noel King and Paddy wrapped up the evening with speculating about a possible collective noun for a group of Farrys. He came up with a philharmonic of Farrys!

Lots of books to sign afterwards and plenty of chat. Thanks again to everyone who made the evening such an enjoyable one.

Tonight the Doghouse roadshow moves on to in the Springfield Hotel, Leixlip where at 7.30 pm James Lawless' first poetry collection Rus in Urbe will be launched by Catherine Murphy, Independent TD.

And on Wednesday evening 23rd May The Angels' Share by Barbara Smith to be launched by Enda Coyle-Greene, poet. Venue: The Basement Gallery, Dundalk Town Council, Crowe Street, Dundalk, Co. Louth. Time: 6pm.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Poetry Collection Launch. And finally . . .

Everything ready?
More or less.
Which, more or less?
Well . . . The books are printed.
You've seen them?
No the editor is bringing them on Monday.
So you haven't spotted the typo yet?
What typo?
There's allways a typo.
And your speech is ready?
Speech, what speech? I'm the poet not an orator.
They will expect a speech.
What sort of a speech?
Why you write poetry.
When you write poetry.
How you write poetry.
Oh! But that's what the poems are for.
Yes but what do they mean?
You have to read them.
No way, just tell us what they mean, then we'll read them.
Well, I'll introduce each one.
That's good. And some will want to know if it's you.
The fellow in the poem.
You know the "I" in the poems. 
The fellow who is tired of life, scared of death, is very religious, believes in nothing, hates modern Ireland, loves modern Ireland, loves Irish history, loves books, loves Britain, supports Manchester United.
Hey hold on. Who is that odd character?
You, judging by your poetry.
But they're only poems. They're not autobiography.
I'm disappointed, you sounded such an interesting character.
Come along and judge for yourself. 8pm Monday 21 May, Castle Arch Hotel, Trim.
Asking for Directions.
The hotel is near the traffic lights on the Summerhill Road, not to be confused with the Trim Castle Hotel.
Asking for Directions by Michael Farry, published by Doghouse Books.
Oh yes, I forgot.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Boyne Readings & Open Mic - Tommy Murray

The May Boyne Readings & Open Mic was a most enjoyable event with featured reader, Tommy Murray (above), reading from his latest poetry collection from Lapwing, Swimming with Dolphins.

Tommy's relaxed introductions went down very well and the audience loved his short witty reflections on life, people and events.

The highlight for me however
Was swimming alongside Bono
Watching him surface and resurface
Reaching out, stroking his tail fin

from Dolphins

Tommy is launching his collection in Navan Library at 7pm on Thursday of next week, 24 May.

MC Paddy Smith (below) did his usual genial job introducing the special guest and other readers though there were audible gasps of disappointment (or relief?) when he announced that he had nothing of his own to read.

Others to read included Caroline Carey Finn (below) who read a most amusing account of a night in an Irish pub, possibly somewhere in the midland which involved off-duty soldiers, various past and present girl friends, chips and battered sausages. Hasn't Mullingar and Longford Barracks been closed?

I read two poems, one about the brother of the Prodigal Son - the fellow we all feel sorry for (or is it only me?) and one about a crucifix which originated at a workshop in the Irish Writers Centre and has been amended as a result of advice from other writers groups.

Next month's Boyne Reading and Open Mic on Thursday, 21 June, will see the launch of Orla Fay's chapbook  Drawn to the Light, the third chapbook in the Boyne Writers’ Group chapbook series.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Poetry Book Launch

These are exciting times for the Cavan/Meath LitLab writers group with a number of summer readings planned. Our involvement with the Fleadh Cheoil in Cavan will continue. We have planned a great follow-up to last year's poetry postcards and the previous year's haiku coasters but it's a secret for the moment.

The driving force behind the LitLab group is Paddy Halligan and he has just published his first poetry collection Waitress and Other Poems.

Padraic McIntyre, director of Livin’ Dred Theatre says of the collection: In this collection Halligan takes his personal, often hilarious but always beautiful, observations and makes them relevant to each and every one of us. A true delight.

Paddy is launching the collection on Thursday 17 May at 7.30 in Bailieborough Library, Market Square, Bailieborough and all are welcome.

Unfortunately we have a Boyne Reading and Open Mic that evening so the Meath section of LitLab will be unable to attend but I'm sure it will be a great evening. Good luck Paddy.

You can purchase the book online here.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tommy Murray at the Boyne Readings and Open Mic

The Boyne Readings and Open Mic on this Thursday, 17 May at 8 pm, will be a very special occasion featuring Trim’s own poet laureate, Tommy Murray, one of Meath’s foremost poets. Tommy's latest poetry collection, Swimming with Dolphins, has just been published by Lapwing, Belfast.

Tommy is a prolific author and has written a total of fourteen books so far, including poetry, local history and short stories. He has won numerous awards for his poetry including lifting the Poet of Fingal trophy three times, in 2005, 2006 and 2010.

His work has been published in many magazines and he has given readings in many venues including the National Concert Hall, the Percy French Hotel, Strokestown and at Listowel Writer's Week.

He is the head of the Meath Writers Circle and is is well-known throughout Meath as the facilitator of children’s writing groups and has edited a number of collections of such creative writing.

The evening will include the usual Open Mic. The Boyne Readings and Open Mic takes place in the Coffee Shop, Knightsbridge Nursing Home, Longwood Road, Trim. Admission is €5, which includes tea/coffee and biscuits.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sligo Rovers - Manchester United

Great day in Sligo yesterday. Sligo Field Club annual Summer Conference celebrating 400 years of the Borough of Sligo; great speakers and lots of friendly faces. I did sneak away for a couple of hours to watch Sligo Rovers beat Shamrock Rovers 3-0. Always great to beat Shams but 3-0! That's special.

Jessica's report here.

Today thinking of another soccer team which also plays in red. In honour of the day that's in it, and the probable football results in England, here's a link to my United poem which is included in my forthcoming collection.

A supporter since the Munich crash of 1958, I've been to Old Trafford only once.
Poet, George Szirtes, wrote recently about his support for United, more eloquently than I could.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Road Not Taken

One of the central things about the book I mentioned recently, Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas by Matthew Hollis was his discussion of the relationship between Edward Thomas and Robert Frost (pictured above). On the outbreak of war Frost returned to the USA and asked Thomas to join him. Thomas, who found it difficult to make up his mind about anything, vacillated between going to the USA and joining the army.

Frost send Thomas a poem in 1915 called Two Roads, soon to be rechristened The Road Not Taken and often called The Road Less Travelled. It finishes:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Since its composition The Road Not Taken has often been read as an affirmation of individual choice and being different, choosing a different road to the rest of us. But it was never intended to be read in this way by Frost. Thomas read it as a criticism of his indecision and reacted angrily. He did join the army and was killed in 1917.

If you read the poem carefully there are clues that it’s not as straightforward as you think. The two paths, he wrote, had been worn "really about the same", and "equally lay / In leaves no step had trodden black", showing the reader that neither road was more or less travelled, and that the choices may in some sense be equal. Anyway no matter which road you take, it will make all the difference.

If you read the poem to a large group of people and ask them which road would they choose, I guarantee than over 90 per cent will choose the less travelled one. Hmmm! How can it be less travelled so? This is the same as that feeling everyone has that they are different to the rest of us, the common herd.

I’m choosing the road more travelled on the basis that there will be very little traffic on it!

Good review of the book with a discussion of this poem here.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Doghouse Books Poetry Launches

A very busy week coming up later this month for Doghouse Books.

21st May 2012
DOGHOUSE BOOKS invite you to the launch of "Asking for Directions" by Michael Farry to be launched by Pat Dunne, novelist and broadcaster. Venue: Castle Arch Hotel, Trim, Co. Meath. Time: 8pm. Admission: free. All are welcome.

22nd May 2012
DOGHOUSE BOOKS invite you to the launch of "Rus in Urbe" by James Lawless to be launched by Catherine Murphy, Independent TD. Venue: Springfield Hotel, Leixlip, Co. Kildare. Time: 7.30pm. Admission: free. All are welcome.

23rd May 2012
DOGHOUSE BOOKS invite you to the launch of "The Angels' Share" by Barbara Smith to be launched by Enda Coyle-Greene, poet. Venue: The Basement Gallery, Dundalk Town Council, Crowe Street, Dundalk, Co. Louth. Time: 6pm. Admission: free. All are welcome.

Details of all the new publications and sample poems on the Doghouse website.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Boyne Berries Open for Submissions

Submissions of poetry and prose are now being accepted for Boyne Berries. The Boyne Writers Group publish this magazine of poetry and prose, twice a year, in March and September.

The first issue of the magazine was published in March 07 and issue No 11 was launched in March 2012.

Submissions will be open until the end of July 2012. Material from these submissions will be included in issue 12, September 2012, and issue 13, March 2013.

Submission details in the lower part of this page. Please read carefully and obey!

It's always a good idea to read a copy of a magazine before you submit. You can purchase a copy of Boyne Berries online by using the Buy Now button on this page.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Poetry Collection - Asking for Directions

Now that information about my new poetry collection has appeared on the Doghouse website I feel I can proclaim its imminent launch.

Asking for Directions will be launched in the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim at 8pm on Monday 21 May by writer and broadcaster Pat Dunne. All welcome! I'm very pleased with the cover. The picture, of a scene in Sligo, was taken by my nephew Peter Farry.

And here's my picture among all the other notable Doghouse authors!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Prole Laureate Poetry Competition Results & Poems

The winners of the Prole Laureate Poetry Competition have been announced on the website. The winning poems, including my third placed poem, are displayed along with the judge’s comments. Very interesting!

Winner was Marilyn Francis and second place was won by Cathy Bryant.

The poems are also printed in issue 7 of the magazine which can be purchased here. You can also add comments on the poems on the magazine's blog here.

The wonderful judge was Andrew McMillan.