Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kate Dempsey Poetry Collection Launch

Kate Dempsey's poetry collection, The Space Between, will be launched in the Irish Writers Centre, Parnell Square, Dublin 1, on Monday 23 November at 6.30pm.

The collection will be officially launched by well-known writer and journalist Gerard Smyth. The publisher is Doire Press.

Kate’s poetry is widely published in Ireland and the UK including Poetry Ireland Review,The Shop, Orbis and Magma. She won The Plough Prize and has been shortlisted for the Hennessy Award for both poetry and fiction. She was selected to read for Poetry Ireland Introductions and Windows Publications Introductions.

She runs the Poetry Divas, a collective of women poets who blur the wobbly boundary between page and stage at events and festivals all over Ireland.

Kate was guest editor for Boyne Berries 14 and conducted a great poetry workshop at this year's Bailieborough Poetry Festival.

The book may be ordered on the Doire Press website here. Free P&P worldwide for all Doire Press books. And Christmas is just around the corner...

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Boyne Berries 1916 Issue Submission Details

'Freedom' Jack B. Yeats
From Orla Fay, the editor of Boyne Berries:

The submission period for Boyne Berries 19, which will be a special issue commemorating the centenary of the 1916 Rising, will open on Sunday, 15th November 2015 and close on Sunday, 03rd January, 2016. The magazine will  be published in late March of 2016.
What does 1916 mean to you now? Can you picture life one hundred years ago? Is romantic Ireland dead and gone? What would those figures, those celebrated heroes of our past make of Ireland today if they could step out from the shadows? Is this a time to truly reflect? I don't want to put words in your mouth but I'd love to know what you think, what you feel, what you imagine...
I am keen to read work from writers in the Meath area but national and international submissions are also welcome.
Send up to 3 poems per poetry submission. Poems should be no more than 40 lines long. Fiction and prose submissions should be no more than 1500 words. Please use Times New Roman 12 and single spacing. Please include a short biographical note about yourself. Submissions should be placed in the body of the email and attached as a word document attachment. Submit to orla.a.fay@gmail.com only.
Submissions which fail to adhere to the above criteria will be ignored.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

World War One Anthology - Behind the Lines

To mark the decade of commemoration and the importance of the Great War members of LitLab Writers Group, including myself, set ourselves the task of reading the Anglo-Celt newspaper for 1915 and finding items which sparked their creativity. The volume of poetry and prose, Behind the Lines, is the result.

The collection will be officially launched by Myles Dungan on this Friday evening at 6.30 in Bailieborough as part of the Bailieborough Poetry Festival.

The book contains copies of the original items, news reports, advertisements, alongside the poem or prose which resulted. The collection is edited by Julia Rice O’Dea and there is a foreword by writer and broadcaster, Myles Dungan.

Copies can be purchased online on the Behind the Lines page on the festival website.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bailieborough Poetry Festival 2015

Bailieborough Poetry

Bailieborough Poetry Festival 2015 – Programme of events

Friday 9th October: (Murtagh’s Lounge, Main St.)

18.30 Official launch of “Behind the Lines” Anthology by LitLab. Introduced by Myles Dungan and Julia Rice O’Dea.
19.45 A Wilde Night by Patrick Walsh.
20.00 Poetry reading by Niamh Boyce.
21.00 Open mic.

Saturday 10th October:

10.00 Poetry workshop* – Niamh Boyce. (Bailieborough Library)
14.00 Competition prize giving – Michael Farry & Honor Duff (Bailieborough Library)
14.00 – 17.00 Special poetry-themed afternoon tea in Bailie Hotel on Main Street.
16.00 Literary walking tour of Bailieborough with John Ed Sheanon- (starts at Bailieborough Library)
19.00 Open Mic. Featuring writing/ arts groups. – (Murtagh’s Lounge)
20.00 Poems and stories by Patsy McDermott – (Murtagh’s Lounge)
21.00 Poetry reading by Tony Curtis.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sligo Gaol Talk

Sligo Gaol

Hawk’s Well Theatre and County Sligo Heritage and Genealogy Centre: Sligo Gaol. Wed 23 Sept, 7.30pm, €8

We invite you to discover stories of past lives; which vary from heart-breaking to audacious.

Join historian Micheal Farry and a team of expert speakers and learn about the public executions, pillorying and transportation. Relive the Jail escape that made headlines across the world.

Chat to representatives from Friends of Sligo Gaol, Sligo Heritage and Genealogy Centre and view items from Sligo Gaol in our foyer from 6:30 pm.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Cafe Writers Open Poetry Competition 2015

PRIZES: 1st  £1000; 2nd £300; 3rd £200; Six Commended Prizes of £50; Funniest Poem not winning another prize £100.

SOLE JUDGE Tiffany Atkinson, poet, literary critic, and long-time creative writing teacher in universities, schools and community writing groups. Her poetry is published widely in journals and anthologies, and her first collection Kink and Particle (Seren, 2006) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and winner of the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.

Her second book, Catulla et al (Bloodaxe, 2011) was shortlisted for Wales Book of the Year. Her third, So Many Moving Parts (Bloodaxe 2014), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, was winner of the 2015 Roland Mathias Poetry Prize.

Her current work explores experiences of illness and healthcare, for which she won the Medicine Unboxed Creative Prize in 2014. She is a Professor of Poetry at the University of East Anglia and lives in Norwich.

Closing date for receipt of entries: 30th November 2015

Maximum of 40 lines (excluding title) on one side of A4.
Entry Fee: £4 per poem; or £10 for 3 poems and £2.00 per poem thereafter.

Prizewinners will be notified in writing by 31st January 2016. The list of prizewinners will be displayed on the website after the prize-giving ceremony at Café Writers on 8th February 2016.

You can enter by post or online. Full details on the website.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Wild Atlantic Words Poetry Festival,

The Wild Atlantic Words Poetry Festival will be held in Castletownbere, County Cork on 5-6 September 2015. The festival will include poetry readings, creative writing workshops, and the awards event and publication for Hungry Hill Writing’s international summer poetry competitions.

There will also be a workshop for school students. The festival will be themed (though not exclusively) to celebrate coastal landscape and maritime life and heritage.

Saturday 5 September 2015

10.45am-1pm: Spoken Word Competition at whiteRoom, The Square, Castletownbere, with a first prize of €100 and a second prize of €50.

2pm – 4.30pm: Poetry workshop at The Sarah Walker Gallery, The Pier, Castletownbere, led by Afric McGlinchey.

2pm – 4.00pm: Poetry workshop for school students at The Library, The Square, Castletownbere, led by Annette Skade. Free admission.

6.00pm:  Readings and awards from the Wild Atlantic Words open and school students’ poetry competitions, at The Sarah Walker Gallery, Castletownbere. Free admission.

9.00pm: Open mic poetry readings — venue to be announced. Free admission — all welcome.

Sunday 6 September

11am – 1.30pm: Poetry workshop at The Sarah Walker Gallery, The Pier, Castletownbere, led by Breda Wall Ryan.

2.30pm: Poetry readings by Afric McGlinchey, Annette Skade, and Breda Wall Ryan at whiteRoom, The Square, Castletownbere. Free admission.

Full details on website.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Bailieborough Poetry Festival

Bailieborough Poetry

The third Bailieborough Poetry Festival will take place over the weekend of 9 & 10 October 2015.

The LitLab group of writers are again organizing a weekend of readings, workshops, open mic session, book launch, etc. Visiting poets will include Niamh Boyce, Tony Curtis and Patsy McDermott.

A volume of exciting new writing by LitLab members based on a project they have been involved in for the past eight months will be launched by Myles Dungan during the festival. More details later!

One of the highlights of the weekend in past years has been the live adjudication and announcement of the winners of The Bailieborough Poetry Competition.

The Bailieborough Poetry Prize competition has a closing date of Friday 25th September 2015. The first prize is €250 and there will be a second and third prize.  There will also be a prize for a writer resident in Cavan or Meath.

Full details, including online entry are available on the website www.bailieboroughpoetry.com .

Saturday, August 22, 2015

AT The Edge Reading, Cavan

AT The Edge, Cavan, Tuesday 25 August 6.30pm Johnston Library

AT The Edge, Cavan returns to the Johnston Library on Tuesday 25 August with a reading from two fab poets and a great writer: Nicki Griffin, Harry Browne and Catherine Ann Cullen

Nicki Griffin is a poet and writer. Her first collection of poetry, Unbelonging, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2013. Her poems have appeared in various publications including The Sunday Tribune, The Stinging Fly, Crannóg, The SHOp and Orbis (UK).

Harry Browne is the author of two books: The Frontman: Bono (In the Name of Power) (Verso, 2013) and Hammered by the Irish (Counterpunch/AK Press, 2008). His journalism has appeared in numerous publications, including the Irish Times, Village magazine, the Sunday Times, Irish Daily Mail, Evening Herald, Sunday Tribune, Sunday Business Post and The Dubliner.

Catherine Ann Cullen has published two collections of poetry with Doghouse Books in Kerry, Strange Familiar (2013) and A Bone in My Throat (2007), and two children's books with Little, Brown, Thirsty Baby (2003) and The Magical, Mystical, Marvellous Coat (2001).

Following the Readings, will be an ‘Open Mic’ session at which everybody is welcome. Please register with Kate on the night.

AT the Edge Cavan is supported by the Cavan County Council Arts Office.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Curtain Call- Theatre Production Workshop

Meath County Council Arts Office is delighted to present Curtain Call, a one day theatre production workshop that is part of the FEACH professional arts development training programme.

Curtain Call, facilitated by Delphine Coudray is designed for Meath Drama Groups, Musical Societies, clubs and individuals will explore the issues involved in producing and staging a show. This one day workshop will be held on Saturday September 12th from 11am – 4pm in the Ardboyne Hotel, Navan.

Over the course of the workshop the group will discover or re-discover the basics about production. Each participant will be given documentation and practical tools to ensure each project undertaken runs smoothly and successfully.

Participants will share past experiences, what worked and what didn’t for them on past productions, brain-storm ideas for future projects and work in smaller groups on specific cases. The facilitator will provide advice as part of a “stage clinic” session.

Delphine Coudray is the Director of local company Oulala Productions. She has more than 20 years experience in Theatre, both on and off stage. She trained in France, Denmark and Ireland (SFX City Theatre Dublin, Gaiety School of Acting, National Association for Youth Drama, Fishamble and the Association of Theatre Directors Ireland). She has directed a number of professional and community plays as well as short films and coach actors for feature films.

Places are free of charge but limited and booking is essential. All booking enquiries are to Meath County Council Arts Office at artsoffice@meathcoco.ie or 046 9097414

Friday, August 7, 2015

Dromineer Literary Festival Competitions

Dromineer Literary Festival logo

I was lucky to win the poetry competition at Dromineer last year. A great festival, friendly welcome and a beautiful location.

This year's Festival will take place on 1-4 October.

Details of this year's Dromineer Literary Festival Competitions.

2015 Poetry Competition
Judge: Thomas McCarthy. Maximum number of lines per poem: 40

Prizes: 1st. Prize €500.00: 2nd. Prize €350.00: 3rd. Prize €150.00

Entry Fee: €5 per poem
Closing date: August 25 2015

2015 Flash Fiction Competition
Judge: Sarah Davis-Goff and Lisa Cohen (Tramp Press)
Maximum Number of words per story: 500

Prizes: 1st. Prize €500.00: 2nd. Prize €350.00: 3rd. Prize €150.00

Entry Fee: €10 per entry
Closing date: August 25 2015.

Full details and online entry on website.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Allingham Festival Competitions

Allingham 2015 Festival takes place in Ballyshannon, County Donegal 5 - 8 November.

In connection with the Festival they are holding Flash Fiction and Poetry competitions.

The prize in each category is €300.

The winners and runners up will be invited to read their work at the Allingham Festival on Saturday, 7 November, 2015, and will also receive free entry to all events in the festival.

The deadline for each entry is 14 September 2015.

Shortlists will be published in early October.

The winners and runners up will be informed of the judge's decision by 23 October.

Flash Fiction must not exceed 800 words. Poems must not exceed 40 lines.

Full details and online entry on the Festival Webpage.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Boyle Arts Festival Readings

Boyle Arts Festival event on Saturday next 1st August at 5.30pm in King House, Boyle, Co Roscommon. Entry: €5.

Join the Moylurg Writers as they give selected readings of poetry and prose.

The results of the Boyle Arts Festival 2015 Poetry Competition will also be announced. Winners' poems will be read and judge, Joseph Woods, will be reading from his own work. This will be followed at 6.30pm by the launch by Geraldine Mitchell of Jane Clarke’s debut poetry collection, The River.

Joseph Woods is a poet and  former director of Poetry Ireland who lives in Rangoon, Burma with his wife and daughter. He has published three collections of poetry and his first, Sailing to Hokkaido (2001), won the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award.

Dublin-born Geraldine Mitchell lives on the Co. Mayo coast. She has published two collections: World Without Maps (Arlen House, 2011) and Of Birds and Bones (Arlen House, 2014).

Jane Clarke was born in Roscommon and now lives in Wicklow. Her debut poetry collection, ‘The River’ is published by Bloodaxe Books.

Writers Gerry Boland and John Mulligan will also be hosting workshops earlier on Saturday 1st August.

Full details on the Festival Website.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Hanna Greally Literary Awards

The SiarScéal Festival is held every year in Roscommon, Ireland. The 2015 festival will take place 5, 6, 7 November.

SiarScéal celebrates the lives and history of the people of Roscommon, both nationally and globally, through the medium of poetry, prose, short stories, music and dance.

Included in the Festival's proceedings are the annual Hanna Greally Literary Awards. I was lucky enough to win a prize here a couple of years ago.

The competition theme this year is: Centenary in Reflection. Submissions of poetry, prose, short stories on this theme are invited.

The Overall Prize Winner will receive a cash prize of €200. Runners-Up prizes will also be awarded in categories that include: International Poetry; International Prose/Short Stories; National Poetry; National Prose/Short-Story; Local Winner in both Poetry and Prose/Short Stories categories; Prizes for Highly Commended and National Schools.

The winner of the Ger Hanly Memorial Cup will also be selected from among the entries received.

Selected entries from this year and past submissions will be published in the new SiarScéal / Hanna Greally Literary Journal, to be launched in April 2016.

Full Competition Rules on the Website.

Enter online or by post. Entry Fees: €5 per entry; €10 for three entries

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Dromineer Poetry and Flash Fiction Competitions

Details of the 2015 Dromineer Literary Festival competitions. The festival will take place 1 to 4 October, 2015.

(Entrants over 18)
Judge: Thomas McCarthy (picture right).
Number of entries: Unlimited. Maximum Number of lines per poem: 40

Prizes: 1st. Prize €500.00; 2nd. Prize €350.00; 3rd. Prize €150.00
Entry Fee: €5 per poem. Closing date: August 25 2015
Last year's prizewinning poems (including mine!) are here.

(Entrants over 18)
Judges: SARAH DAVIS-GOFF and LISA COEN (Tramp Press)
Number of entries: Unlimited. Maximum Number of words per story: 500
Prizes: 1st. Prize €500.00; 2nd. Prize €350.00; 3rd. Prize €150.00
Entry Fee: €10 per entry. Closing date: August 25 2015

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award and Art Prize

The Aesthetica Creative Writing Award is open for entries. Now in its eighth year, the award is internationally renowned and judged by industry experts including Arifa Akbar, literary editor of The Independent.

Prizes include: £500 prize money – Poetry winner. £500 prize money – Short Fiction winner. Publication in the Creative Writing Annual. A selection of books from Vintage and Bloodaxe. Subscription to Granta. A complimentary copy of next year's Creative Writing Annual

The Aesthetica Art Prize is now open for entries! Submit your work for an opportunity to win £5,000 courtesy of Hiscox, group exhibition, publication in an anthology of 100 top international artists and other great prizes that will get your work noticed by industry, galleries and thousands of art lovers.

Prizes include: £5,000 Main Prize courtesy of Hiscox. £1,000 Student Prize courtesy of Hiscox. Group exhibition in partnership with York Museums Trust. Publication in the Aesthetica Art Prize Anthology. Editorial in Aesthetica Magazine (186,000 readership worldwide)

Early Bird Entry Offer: To save 25% CLICK HERE and enter discount code SAVE5


Friday, July 3, 2015

Boyne Berries Submissions

The submission period for Boyne Berries 18 will close on Saturday 11 July 2015. Boyne Berries 18 will be published in September 2015.

Submit no more than three poems at a time. Fiction should be 1500 words or less. Times New Roman 12 and single spacing are preferred.

Please include your submission in the body of the email and as a single word document attachment and include a short bio.

Send your work via email to orla.a.fay@gmail.com with the subject line 'Boyne Berries 18 Submission Poetry/Prose' or via post to Orla Fay, Editor, Retaine, Dunderry, Navan, Co. Meath.

Copies of Boyne Berries 17 can be ordered online here

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Stony Thursday Book 2015

The Stony Thursday Book is seeking submissions from local, national and international poets for its next issue, to be published in October 2015.

The Stony Thursday Book was founded by Limerick poets John Liddy and Jim Burke in 1975 and is one of the longest-running literary journals in Ireland and celebrates its 40th Anniversary Edition in 2015.

This year's Editor of the Stony Thursday Poetry Book is Mary O’Donnell, poet, writer and member of Aosdana. About the Editor

How to Submit:
Each poet should send no more than six poems.
Submitted poems must be previously unpublished.
Submissions are being accepted by email and by post.
When submitting poems in hardcopy please write your name on each page. Please mark envelopes: The Stony Thursday Book 2015.
When submitting by email please reference TSTB 2015 in your subject line and attach all poems in a single file attachment (pdf or doc).

Send poems to: The Stony Thursday Book 2015, Arts Office, Limerick City and County Council, City Hall, Merchant’s Quay, Limerick or by email to: artsoffice@limerick.ie

Closing Date for Submissions: Friday 31st July 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fathers' Day Poem and Picture

This poem of mine was part of a series of Ox Mountains poems published in their Carthography anthology by Imagination and Place Press, Lawrence, Kansas, USA, edited by Kelly Barth in February, 2013. Gortakeeran is a mountain-side townland in the parish of Killoran/Coolaney, Co. Sligo.


we turned the peat sods for the last time
not knowing it was for the last time
exposed each soft underside
to grim Atlantic wind,
bleak sunshine, blind rain
stealing in from the west.

Those sods
never made it home
never warmed winter rooms;
ruthless mountain grasses
reclaimed them,
absorbed them back into bog.

Some Sundays he played
the good shepherd
took the week-tied dogs
padding by his bicycle
to the hill country
searched all of Spinc
for his few raddled sheep
found them far up near the horizon,
checked condition
foot-rot, worms, scour,
mortality markers.

He took no-one with him
but I can hear his voice loose and wild
calling the day-out dogs
to attention. Before nightfall he returned,
tied up the hounds again
sat by the fire, dreamed.

I see him now
shrunken, brown, preserved,
smiling his fixed smile
in the face of dire eternity.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

At The Edge Reading, Cavan

Three very different and exciting poets. Rebecca O’Connor, Richard Halperin and Angela Carr, will be reading with AT The Edge, Cavan on Tuesday 23 June at 6.30pm at the Johnston Library, followed by an Open Mic session.

“The pilot of AT The Edge, Cavan was a great success last year,” said Kate Ennals, the co-ordinator of the Cavan literary evening.  "This year we are having three AT The Edge events. The first is Tuesday 23 June, the second is Tuesday 25 August and the third is Tuesday 27 October. Make a note in your diaries.

Cavan woman, Rebecca O’Connor, published her first full collection We’ll Sing Blackbird in 2012. The Irish Times described it as ‘artful and wry'. Rebecca is editor of The Moth Magazine and The Caterpillar Magazine for children.

Richard W. Halperin lives in Paris.  His full collections are via Salmon: Anniversary (2010); Shy White Tiger (2013); Quiet in a Quiet House (listed for Autumn 2015). In 2014 four chapbooks appeared via Lapwing: Mr Sevridge Sketches and A Wet Day; Pink, Ochre, Yellow; The Centreless Astonishment of Things.

In her debut poetry collection, How to Lose Your Home & Save Your Life, Angela Carr mines the territory of an unexpected journey, exploring the unspoken realities, and precarious hope, of lives lived in the shadow of the Celtic Tiger’s demise.

Following the Readings, will be an ‘Open Mic’ session at which everybody is welcome. Please register with Kate on the night.

Photo is of Paddy Halligan reading at AT The Edge, Cavan, July last year.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Popshot - The Curious Issue

Popshot is an illustrated literary magazine that publishes short stories, flash fiction, and poetry from the literary new blood. The magazine is published bi-annually, in April and October and each issue is usually devoted to a theme.

The theme for the forthcoming fourteenth issue of Popshot, is "curious" so the issue will be The Curious Issue. It is now open for literary submissions, poetry and short stories.

If you would like the opportunity to have your short fiction or poetry published and illustrated in the next issue of the magazine, find out the full submissions guidelines at the submit page. The deadline is 20 July.

Please also consider getting hold of a copy of the magazine to gain a feel for the kind of work that they publish.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Happy Birthday W.B. Yeats

It's W.B. Yeats' birthday today and when I got in touch with him earlier to wish him a happy birthday he seemed a little grumpy. He told me to say that he was very disappointed that Irish poets had not taken his advice:

Irish poets, earn your trade,
Sing whatever is well made,
Scorn the sort now growing up
All out of shape from toe to top,

He said that in his opinion things have got much worse, all poetry now seems to be out of shape.

He also told me to remind people that the “terrible” is as important as the “beauty” in his poem Easter 1916.

He wants this poem read on his birthday because he’s proud of the shape, the rhythm, the rhyme scheme, the refrain, the contrary sentiments and the clever way he revisited the theme of tower.
It’s from his “Last Poems”, one of the last poems he wrote, possibly the very last one.

The Black Tower

Say that the men of the old black tower,
Though they but feed as the goatherd feeds,
Their money spent, their wine gone sour,
Lack nothing that a soldier needs,
That all are oath-bound men:
Those banners come not in.

There in the tomb stand the dead upright,
But winds come up from the shore:
They shake when the winds roar,
Old bones upon the mountain shake.

Those banners come to bribe or threaten,
Or whisper that a man’s a fool
Who, when his own right king’s forgotten,
Cares what king sets up his rule.
If he died long ago
Why do you dread us so?

There in the tomb drops the faint moonlight,
But wind comes up from the shore:
They shake when the winds roar,
Old bones upon the mountain shake.

The tower’s old cook that must climb and clamber
Catching small birds in the dew of the morn
When we hale men lie stretched in slumber
Swears that he hears the king’s great horn.
But he’s a lying hound:
Stand we on guard oath-bound!

There in the tomb the dark grows blacker,
But wind comes up from the shore:
They shake when the winds roar,
Old bones upon the mountain shake.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Poems in Local Newspapers

One of the most valuable historical sources is local newspapers. While researching the history of the 1912-1923 period in Sligo I read a lot of local newspapers, the hard copies in the early years, and more recently, on microfilm.

I paid little heed to the poetry which regularly appeared in those newspapers. Recently I have returned to the same newspapers without the pressure of a publisher's deadline and have begun to appreciate the volume and variety of such poetry.

I have set up a website to record, correlate, comment on poems published in Sligo Newspapers 1912-1923. I am especially interested in poems written by Sligo authors.

It is interesting to see how the poetry published will reflect the political upheavals of those years which saw the outbreak of World War 1, the change in attitude among the people, the 1916 Rising, the rise of Sinn Féin and the IRA and the War of Independence, the Treaty and the Civil War.

The war poetry published in 1915 is especially interesting and I have an article, War Poems in Sligo Newspapers, 1915, published in The Spark, North-West Local History and Arts Review, Issue 28, 2015. It especially deals with a poet from Manorhamilton, County Leitrim, Louisa Stockdale.

I also hope to have an article in this year's Corran Herald dealing with 1915 war poems from some Sligo poets.

It is a hobby rather than a task and will be done slowly as time and humour allows. I hope to keep in step with centenaries, 1915 is online and I am working on 1916.

Below: First stanza of a poem encouraging enlistment by South Sligo MP, John O'Dowd from Sligo Champion 4 September 1915.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Keystone Anthology

Janice Windle and Dónall Dempsey are co-founders of the loose collective they have called “The 1000 Monkeys”. The name refers to the saying that an infinite number of monkeys with keyboards, given an infinite span of time, will produce every work of literature ever written.

I met Janice and Dónall at Fermoy Poetry Festival two years ago and again at the Cork Poetry Festival earlier this year.

Over the past three years they have been organizing performance open mics with featured guests in Guilford and also publish an annual anthology. This year's anthology, The Keystone Anthology, is a collection of 121 poems by poets whose work Janice Windle and Dónall Dempsey have enjoyed at spoken word events and book promotions in 2014 – 5.

I'm delighted to have three poems, Lady's Anniversary, The Gun and My Turn, included in the anthology - and have my photo of the back cover!

There’s something for every taste in the anthology, the criterion for the editor’s choice being the poems’ accessibility and their value as oral, as well as written poetry. It includes poems by the eminent writer Bernard Kops, established and award-winning poets like Chrys Salt MBE, Wendy Klein, Patrick Osada, and Bethany Pope and successful performance poets like Steve Pottinger and Robert Garnham.

The anthology will be launched in Guildford on 8 June 2015. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend but I',m sure it will be a great occasion.

It can be ordered online using PayPal and copies will be dispatched after the launch. Price: £9.99 + postage.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Connie Roberts Collection Published.

Arlen House, Dublin are proud to announce the publication of Connie Roberts's debut volume Little Witness

Connie Roberts, an Offaly native, emigrated to the United States in 1983. She has won both the Patrick Kavanagh Award and the Listowel Writers’ Week Poetry Collection Award. She teaches creative writing at Hofstra University, New York.

In Little Witness, Connie Roberts interrogates memory and history. From her early-childhood with her parents to her years in an industrial school in the Irish Midlands, the 1943 Cavan orphanage fire where 35 children perished and the self-immolation of a former inmate of Letterfrack Industrial School, Roberts spins the coarse flax of poverty and abuse into the golden rope of poetry.

This is the poetry of rock-hard experience. It will skin your soul. – New York Times journalist Dan Barry.

The collection will be launched at the Listowel Writers Week on Friday 29th May 2015 at 12.30 pm in the Boys' National School Hall.

Purchase a copy here.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Moth and Caterpillar Competitions

Entries for the Moth Short Story Prize, judged by Donal Ryan, close on 30 June.

The word limit is 6,000 (no minimum length) and the story can on any subject.

The prizes: 1st €3,000; 2nd a week-long writing retreat at Circle of Misse in France (including a €250 stipend); 3rd €1,000.

The winning stories will be published in the autumn 2015 issue of The Moth.

You can enter The Moth Short Story Prize here.

There's also the new Caterpillar Short Story Prize – with a single prize of €1,000 (and publication in The Caterpillar) for the best story written by an adult for children (aged 7-11). Closing date is 30 September.

You can enter The Caterpillar Short Story Prize here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

2015 iYeats Poetry Competition

Yeats 2015

The iYeats Poetry Competition is an annual, online, international poetry competition which has won a prestigious reputation for the calibre of both entrants and judges. The competition is open to all those 16 years of age and upwards.

Prizes: General category: First Prize €500. Emerging category: €300 (aged 16 – 25 years)

The iYeats Poetry competition was launched by the Hawk's Well Theatre in 2009 to mark the 50th Yeats International Summer School and the 70th anniversary of the death of W. B Yeats. This year it joins in the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Yeats’ birth.

Closing date for entries: Wed 1 July, 2015 at 5pm. Winners will be notified by: Monday 20 July, 2015
Results publicly announced: Late July, during the Yeats International Summer School.

Judges for 2015 are Jane Clarke and Dave Lordan. Now there's a great choice of poets to put together as judges. I'd love to be a fly on the wall at their deliberations!

Jane's collection The River has been published by Bloodaxe this year and Dave's most recent published work is Lost Tribe of the Wicklow Mountains published by Salmon.

Find out more about entering here. Competition terms and conditions here. Another 40 line limit competition. Ah well, just amalgamate lines.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wild Atlantic Words open poetry competition 2015

Entries are invited for the Wild Atlantic Words open poetry competition 2015, for poems on any theme related to coastal landscape or maritime life and heritage, broadly interpreted.. The competition will be judged by Breda Wall Ryan.

Closing date for entry is 19 July 2015. There will be a first prize of €500, a second prize of one week’s retreat accommodation at The Creativity Cabin on the Beara peninsula, and a third prize of €100.

Winning and shortlisted poems will be featured at the Wild Atlantic Words Poetry Festival in in Castletownbere, County Cork, on 5-6 September 2015, and published in a printed anthology and/or on the Hungry Hill Writing website.

Each poem must not exceed 40 lines, and should be typed single-spaced. Up to three poems may be submitted per entry. You may submit as many entries as you wish. A fee of €10 is payable per entry of up to three poems.

You can enter online or by post. Full details on the website.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Poetry Day Reading, Maguire's Tara

A very successful Boyne Writers Group Poetry Day reading at Maguire's, Hill of Tara on 7 May. A great turn out, great readers, young and old. Some favourite poems by Eliot, Belloc, Yeats, Heaney, Kavanagh and some wonderful new poems by great readers and writers.

Well done to all involved! Thanks to all the readers, members of Boyne Writers and Meath Writers Circle and other groups and to those who travelled a distance to be there.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Poetry On Tara

Poetry Day Ireland takes place on 7 May 2015 and will celebrate poetry’s vital place in our culture by making poetry both inescapable and irresistible for a day. Groups, organisations, libraries, schools, bookshops, poets and all poetry lovers are invited to get involved.

Poetry Ireland encourages everyone to become involved and has plenty of ideas on its website. There are loads of free materials available also to help celebrate the day.

The website is also adding events as they are being organized.

Boyne Writers Group has organised Poetry On Tara, a poetry reading and open mic in Maguire's Cafe on the Hill of Tara. It takes place at 7.30pm on Thursday 7 May and all are welcome. People are invited to read favourite poems and/or their own poetry and there is no admittance charge.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Prole Journal - Latest Issue and Submissions

Some news from Prole Books who publish the always interesting prose and poetry journal, Prole. The latest issue Prole 16 is now available to purchase from the website.

They are open to submissions of prose or poetry all year round. They aim for a four week turnaround – though if a piece of writing is shortlisted, a final decision can take a little longer.

They have just opened for entries for their annual prose writing competition, the Prolitzer Prize. Full details on the website. Prizes: Winner: £200, publication in Prole; two runners up: £50, possible publication in Prole 18; publication on the Prole website.

Judge: Jaki McCarrick. Entries are anonymised prior to judging. Open: April 1st 2015 and closes: October 1st 2015. Unpublished prose only. Word limit 2500. Fees: £4.00 for one entry, £3.00 each for further entries. Enter via the website.  Payment can be made by PayPal.

In Caboodle, they've put together six short poetry collections into one publication. Karina Vidler, Gill McEvoy, Russell Jones, Kate Garrett, Angela Croft and Rafael Miguel Montes have created a powerful body of work for both avid and occasional readers of great poetry.

Wendy Pratt’s Museum Pieces is also making waves and bringing a very talented writer to a wider audience. Wendy is certainly a writer to look out for.

Both Caboodle and Museum Pieces are available from the website.

Brett Evans is one of Prole's editors and his first pamphlet, The Devil’s Tattoo, has just been published by Indigo Dreams.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Poem in The Pickled Body

I'm delighted to have a poem included in the current issue of the online magazine, The Pickled Body. The editors are well-known Irish poets, Dimitra Xidous and Patrick Chapman. Dimitra's first collection was published by Doire Press and Patrick has a number of collections published by Salmon Poetry.

The theme for this issue was Quantum and it includes work by Marjorie Lofti Gill, Iggy McGovern, Eleanor Hooker, Kate Dempsey, Afric McGlinchey, Angela T Carr, Paul Casey and others. Good company!

The poem is based on a painting by the Cavan artist, Roisin Duffy, which I saw at her exhibition in Bailieborough Library last October which coincided with our LitLab Bailieborough Poetry Festival. Roisin's website is here.

The poem is called "My Fish and I" which is the title of Roisin's painting, below.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Call for Submissions

Family Matters

International author and editor Frank Joussen from Germany is looking for short stories (500 - 3,500 words approx.) or very creatively written non-fiction stories that focus strongly on relationships within the family.

Frank was one of the co-editors of the international anthology "Family Matters" by Indian publisher Nivasini which included a number of stories and poems by Irish authors including poems of mine..

As in that book, the aim is to string together stories from many different cultures, age groups, religions, countries. How much do we really know about family life in other countries, other cultures? How much of our cultural knowledge is based on hearsay or worn out clichés?

The stories will be translated into German, therefore the editor is only asking for first-time publication rights in the German language. All rights remain with the authors and the English original version can still be considered unpublished. Previously published pieces are also more than welcome. Frank's email address is : f_joussen@t-online.de

For reviews of the original "Family Matters" anthology please go to here and here.

The deadline is 1 July. Frank pays one complimentary copy and is willing to send you more copies at a reduced price.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Yeats Society Poetry Competition

At the 2014 summer school, the Yeats Society Poetry Competition in memory of the late Seamus Heaney was announced.

The Judge: Paula Meehan, Ireland's Professor of Poetry.
Closing date: 1st May 2015.
The Prize: €500.00
A tuition scholarship to the 2015 Yeats International Summer School 26th July - 7th August 2015.
Participation in the Summer School Poetry workshop which will be faciliated by Eavan Boland on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd August.

The list of the five short-listed entries will be published on the Yeats Society website and newsletter.

Entrants may submit up to 3 poems.
All entries must be in PDF form and be submitted via email to yeatssummerschool@yeatssociety.com.
Poems must be a maximum of 40 lines.
All poems must be the original work of a living author and must not have been previously published, self-published, published on a website or broadcast.
The name of the entrant must not appear on the poems themselves.
No alterations may be made to poems once they have been submitted.
The decision of the judge is final and no correspondence can be entered into regarding the judge's decision.
Copyright will remain with the competitor, but the Yeats Society reserves the right to arrange first publication or broadcast of the selected poems as it sees fit.
Submission of a poem implies the competitor's acceptance of the conditions set out above.
Entries should arrive no later than 1st May 2015.
Entries must be paid by credit / debit card through PayPal. The Fee per poem is €10.00.

Enter online on the website. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Boyne Berries 17 Launched

Boyne Berries 17 was launched last evening in the Castle Arch Hotel. A large crowd included contributors who had travelled from as far away as Galway and Cork to be present.

Boyne Writers chairperson, Caroline Carey Finn, welcomed everyone and introduced Adrienne Leavy (right) who launched the issue. Adrienne lived in Dundalk, County Louth, for the first twenty-five years of her life but immigrated to the United States and now lives in Arizona. She has a Ph.D. in English Literature from Arizona State University frequently lectures on various aspects of Irish literature.

Adrienne thanked the group for inviting her to the launch and complimented the editor, Orla Fay, on the publication. She talked about how important small magazines have been and are to Irish writers. She mentioned how importance acceptance by Boyne Berries was to her writing. She thanked Boyne Writers Group for their work in establishing and continuing to publish the magazine.

Editor, Orla Fay, (left) then introduced each reader and we were treated to a feast of wonderful poetry and prose. As usual the variety of topic and treatment was impressive and the audience enjoyed all, the humorous and the sad, the wise and the witty.

One contributor, M.J. Iuppa who lives on a small farm on the shores of Lake Ontario, had sent a sound file with a greeting and a reading of her poem and this was played.

The evening ended with a presentation to Paddy Smith to mark his retirement from the chair of Boyne Writers after six years service.

Then tea, coffee biscuits and plenty of chat.

To purchase a copy of Boyne Berries 17 please use the PayPal button top right.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Boyne Berries 17 Launch

Boyne Berries 17 will be launched on this Thursday 26 March at 8.00 pm in the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim by Adrienne Leavy.

Adrienne Leavy was born in Ireland and lived in Dundalk, County Louth, for the first twenty-five years of her life. She was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. After receiving the degree of Barrister-at-Law and being called to the Irish Bar, she immigrated to the United States.

She practiced law in Arizona for ten years before returning to post-graduate education to pursue her interest in Irish literature.

Adrienne holds a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (with a focus on Irish Studies) from Arizona State University West, and a Ph.D. in English Literature from Arizona State University.

The subject of her doctoral dissertation was the representation of women in the poetry of the Irish poet Thomas Kinsella.

Adrienne frequently lectures on various aspects of Irish literature and her poetry has been published in many Irish literary journals including A Modest Review, Boyne Berries, Crannóg, Revival and The Stony Thursday Book.

Recently she set up the Reading Ireland website which promotes Irish Literature and contemporary Irish writing.

Many of the contributors will attend and read their pieces on Thursday. All welcome, no charge, tea, coffee and biscuits.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Reading Ireland: Website and Magazine

I'm delighted to have an article and two poems included in this new E-journal published by Adrienne Leavy as part of her Reading Ireland website initiative.

Reading Ireland is a website dedicated to promoting Irish Literature and contemporary Irish writing. It has biographical and critical entries on twentieth-century and contemporary Irish writers, links to a number of Irish independent bookshops and publishing houses, along with information on Irish literary journals.

Every quarter, Reading Ireland will publish an E-Journal, Reading Ireland: The Little Magazine,  The aim of this publication is to provide essays and articles analyzing Irish literature, past and present.

Volume 1, issue 1 appeared on March 15 2015, and is being made available at no cost so that you as the reader can decide if this is a publication you would like to receive on a quarterly basis. You can download it from this page. After issue 1 the journal will be available to subscribers for an annual fee of $40.

Contents for issue one includes the following:

An essay on James Joyce’s short story collection Dubliners and the innovative ways in which scholars, readers and writers are still in conversation with Joyce’s stories one hundred years after publication.

An essay by Irish poet and historian, Michael Farry, on the 1911-1912 correspondence between Sligo men James Marren and Thomas O’ Grady, and the Irish American Joseph McGarrity (1874-1940). It provides a fascinating, factual context to some of the issues at play in Joyce’s story, “Ivy Day in the Committee Room.”

A critical appraisal of the work of Jennifer Johnston, one of the foremost Irish writers of her generation. An interview with Jennifer Johnston.

Book reviews of Thomas Kinsella’s latest poetry collection, Late Poems and of Colm Tóibín’s new novel, Nora Webster.

Spotlight on The Klaxton 1923-1924.This single issue magazine, with its confrontational and polemical style, could be considered an Irish style Blast. Published in the winter of 1923-1924 by Abraham Jacob Leventhal.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Poets Meet Politics Competition Results

The winning and shortlisted entries in the 2015 Poets Meet Politics competition were read at the Sarah Walker Gallery, The Pier, Castletownbere, County Cork, on Saturday last 14 March 2015. I was delighted to have a poem highly commended and to make the journey for the event. The readings were introduced by the competition judge, Derek Sellen.

The winner of the competition was Afric McGlinchey. with her poem I is Another. Second place went to Shirley McLure for Dad's Canvassing Card and third was Jacks for Office by Michael Casey. I was impressed by all the poems and very interested in how poets approach such an open topic.

The full results and Derek's comments are on the website. Also some photographs from the event.

I was impressed by the judge's selection. It was clear that he appreciated the breadth of the subject and the winning/commended poems include the directly topically political and the more sideways treatment of the topic. My poem, The Gun, probably belongs to the latter category.

The winning and commended poems, 23 in all, are published in the Poets meet Politics 2015 Anthology which is available from the Hungry Hill website. Well worth 4 euro!

Earlier on the day I attended a poetry workshop led by the competition judge, award-winning poet, Derek Sellen. A most enjoyable and useful session. The nine participants had submitted a poem each and these were critiqued. It was fascinating to hear the reactions of the participants to each piece.

Opinions were freely given, suggestions were offered, punctuation and syntax were examined, meanings were queried and the big questions - Where to break the line? How much to tell the reader? - were discussed. I really enjoyed the workshop, thanks to the facilitator and the participants.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Poetry Day Ireland 2015

Poetry Ireland is presenting Poetry Day Ireland on Thursday 7 May 2015. We’re on a mission to make poetry both inescapable and irresistible, and we are actively inviting individuals, groups and organisations to get involved.

We have a number of headline events planned for 7 May (at least one in each province) including Paul Durcan in conversation with Tipperary hurling manager Eamon O’Shea at the Source Arts Centre in Thurles, poets/crime fiction writers Sophie Hannah and Paul Perry reading at Green St Court, a Yeats event in Thoor Ballylee, and an event at the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry/Londonderry.

Poetry Ireland’s Writers in Schools scheme will visit an island off the northern, western and southern coasts and approximately 10,000 patients in hospitals throughout the country will receive a menu of poems on the day through the AHCI (Network of Arts and Health Coordinators in Ireland).

Third level institutions including University College Cork and University College Dublin will be taking part, and all schools will receive a specially commissioned poetry lesson plan.

We’ll also be running a Poem in Your Pocket campaign, printing thousands of elegant mini cards with poems, which will be distributed all over the country to make sure that great poetry shows up in many unexpected places from Kerry to Derry.

All Poetry Day Ireland events and activities will be listed on a dedicated webspace at www.poetryday.ie.

We are inviting all libraries, arts offices, arts venues, bookshops, poets and poetry fans to get involved with Poetry Day Ireland.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

National Student Poetry Competition 2015

Windows Publications in association with Cavan Crystal announce the 23rd  National Student Poetry Competition 2015 adjudicated by Heather Brett and Noel Monahan.

€100 1st Prize in each category with several runner-up prizes and over 50 highly commended certificates
Closing date Friday 20th March 2015

Entry to this competition is free. Entrant details (name, age, school or contact number) must be clearly marked on the BACK of each entry if posting work or at the end of the work if sending by email. Poems should NOT have been published before or won a prize in any other competition, and must be the student’s OWN work.

Entries will also be accepted on line as well as by post and from individual students as well as entries sent by schools. Class poems and poems written by groups of students are acceptable but there will be only one prize given per winning poem.

For email entries please send to: heatherbrett22@hotmail.com or by post to Windows/Cavan Crystal Poetry Competition, Cavan Crystal Hotel, Dublin Rd. Cavan, Co. Cavan, Ireland  on or before FRIDAY 20th MARCH  2015, clearly stating which category you are entering.

The award ceremony will be held in Cavan Crystal Hotel on Sunday 10th May at 4pm. It is a condition of the awards that top prize winners must be present at the ceremony before a prize can be awarded.

Junior Category: Open to all students throughout Ireland and the U.K. in primary or national school education or equivalent. (8-12/13 years)
Senior Category: Open to all students throughout Ireland and the U.K. in second level education or equivalent. (12-18 years)  

Irish Language Category - Open to all students between 10–18 years old.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fool For Poetry Chapbook Competition

This year's winners of the Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition had their winning manuscripts published in lavish form and launched during the Cork Poetry Festival. The chapbooks have been produced in a large format size (26cm by 20cm) using 14 point Centaur font, fully exploiting the charm of plenty of white space surrounding the poems. The covers are in full colour with French flaps. The publications are limited editions and sure to be coveted by collectors, as much as for their design as their content. The winners received 50 copies each (worth €400) and €500 in cash.

The chapbooks were launched at the Cork Poetry Festival to a capacity crowd. Over 60 copies were sold on the day. The poets were treated to hotel accommodation, drinks, meals and free entry into all events at the festival and were afforded introductions to editors, publishers and literary stars.

The Curative Harp is Virginia Astley's debut poetry publication. Astley is already a very successful musician, composer and recording artist having worked with many great 80s acts such as Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explodes, The Skids and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Here she is on Youtube singing a duet with David Sylvian of Japan in a song produced by Ryuichi Sakamoto. She has been acknowledged in many single poem competitions including the Bridport.

White Whale is the debut of Irish poet Victoria Kennefick, whose poems appearing in periodicals have been causing quite a stir. Her work has been acknowledged in competitions such as the Bridport and Gregory O'Donoghue Prize.

The competition is open again, closing date this year is May 31st. Full details here. The winning poets will have the opportunity to launch their chapbook at the 2016 Cork International Poetry Festival, receive 50 copies of their winning publication and €500 in cash. At least one of the two winning publications will be a debut publication. Why not buy and read last year's winning chapbooks, so you can not only read great new poetry, but creatively visualise how your own poems could look next year?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Doolin Writers' Weekend

Doolin Writers' Weekend takes place at Hotel Doolin from the 27th - 29th March 2015.

There will be readings from Donal Ryan, Christine Dwyer Hickey, Dave Lordan, workshops from Catherine Dunne, Madeleine D'Arcy, Anthony Glavin, as well as singer songwriter John Spillane, theatre with Peter Sheridan, a workshop with publishing whirlwinds Tramp Press, a photo exhibition by Hanne T. Fisker, a craft market all weekend in the Marquee and a plethora of local trad musicians, Dooliner Beer and some of North Clare's finest food to keep the whole thing moving.

The Weekend also features the Doolin Poetry & Short Story Competition, which Hotel Doolin is hosting in association with Tramp Press and Salmon Poetry

The prize fund for first place in each both competitions is €1000, while the winners will also receive a publishing consultation with Tramp Press (short story) and Salmon Poetry (poetry).

The Poetry Competition, the closing date for which is Monday 2 March, will be judged by poet Jessie Lendennie, who is the founder and Managing Editor of Salmon Poetry.  Novelist and short story writer Éilís Ní Dhuibhne is this year's Short Story judge.

For terms and conditions and to download an entry form please go to the website here.

Weekend Passes & Workshops can be booked with Hotel Doolin at 065-7074111 / info@hoteldoolin.ie.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fingal Library Poetry Series

Cross-stream: ways of writing is a series of talks from a diverse group of outstanding contemporary poets discussing the compositional process behind one of their poems which takes place in Fingal Libraries in February and March.

Produced in partnership with Fingal Libraries, these talks / presentations offer a unique opportunity for poetry audiences, writers, students and general readers to gain an insight into the range of approaches towards writing.

These events are all free admission and start at 6.30pm. They will also include Q&A sessions.

Full details: http://yesbutisitpoetry.blogspot.com/2015/02/cross-stream-ways-of-writing.html

pat-boranTuesday 17 February 2015
Baldoyle Library
Maurice Scully & Enda Coyle-Greene

Wednesday 25 February 2015
Donabate Library
Harry Clifton & Susan Connolly

Tuesday 3 March 2015
Blanchardstown Library
Pat Boran (right) & Karl Parkinson

Tuesday 10 March 2015
Malahide Library
Máighréad Medbh & Alan Jude Moore

Monday, February 9, 2015

Trócaire and Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition

Ethiopian Farmers in Desert

Poetry Ireland and Trócaire are proud to announce the launch of their fourth joint poetry competition. Applications are now invited from published and unpublished poets writing in English and Irish, as well as from spoken word poets.

Trócaire and Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition 2015: 'Feeling the Heat'

Extreme weather events are having a devastating effect on people in the developing world: destroying families, demolishing homes, ruining livelihoods. The people who contributed least to climate change are those most ‘feeling the heat’ from its effects. This is part of Trócaire’s ‘Climate Justice’ campaign.

Cuirtear fáilte roimh iontrálacha le haghaidh an tríú comórtas bliantúil filíochta Trócaire Éigse Éireann ar an téama 'Feeling The Heat'.

More Information here.

Last Year's Winning Poems.

Entries are invited from both published and emerging poets, in English and Irish, with special categories for younger entrants and a Spoken Word category for performance poetry. Poets can submit up to THREE poems each, and entry is free.

The closing date for entries is Friday 13 March 2015, and winners will be notified by Friday 8 May 2015. Entries will be judged by Mary Shine Thompson, former Dean of St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra (Dublin City University), by poet Theo Dorgan, and by Trócaire's Trish Groves.

Prizes for adults include choices such as a stay at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, a year's subscription to Poetry Ireland Review, or professional feedback on your poetry through Poetry Ireland's Critical Assessment Service. Younger entrants can win a Kindle or book tokens, and a visit to your school by a writer.

The winning poems are also published in booklet form, and winners and runners up are invited to read at our lunchtime awards ceremony at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin. Many past winners have gone on to read at events around Ireland, including Culture Night, and the Mountains to Sea Book Festival in Dun Laoghaire.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Boyne Writers Group AGM

Paddy Smith, outgoing chairperson of Boyne Writers Group, stepped down at the AGM held recently in the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim.

Paddy has been a driving force behind the success of this group which holds regular fortnightly meeting, occasional public readings, publishes a widely-respected journal Boyne Berries twice a year, facilitates poetry readings for the residents of Knightsbridge Nursin

g Home, and has taken a prominent part in the Trim Swift Festival.

His final chairman’s address was a look back at his five year tenure which, he said, had been a most enjoyable time. He saluted the Group’s members for “the enthusiasm that constantly bubbles up at our meetings as members show courage and passion in presenting their material for comment by other members”.

He choose as highlight of his time as chairperson, not the most important event, but one which provided a couple of lasting memories. It was the Group’s celebration of the work of four Meath poets on all-Ireland Poetry Day 2013 at four locations associated with the poets. The fact that a local man, Christopher Gray of Higginsbrook House, read a poem by a famous relation of his, the poet F R Higgins, in Laracor where Higgins is buried, was a definite high point. Another on that same day was reading the poetry Of John Boyle O’Reilly in the spills of rain in a very exposed Dowth graveyard in east Meath at the memorial to the poet. The fact that it was raining so hard ‘made’ the occasion, Paddy felt, it is only right that writers should suffer for their vocation.

(Pictures: Top - A group at Laracor, Poetry Day 2013. Above: Paddy contemplating the John Boyle O'Reilly Memorial at Dowth. It started to rain when we began to read poetry.)

Paddy, a noted stickler for the niceties of grammar, spelling and syntax, (an ex-journalist!) ended his address with tongue firmly in cheek as he offered his apologies to any members he may have unwittingly hurt in his zeal to improve their writing. He has no come to realize, he said, how unreasonable it was to expect that writers should know how to spell and how to use correct punctuation in their work, how to construct a sentence correctly and how to obey the rules of syntax and grammar.

On behalf of the Group secretary, Michael Farry, thanked Paddy for the enthusiasm and dedication he had brought to the position and for his hard work during his five year tenure.

Paddy’s successor as chairperson is long-time member, Caroline Carey Finn, a frequent contributor to Sunday Miscellany.

The annual report which was presented at the meeting showed that 2014 had been a successful year for the Group with regular meetings being well attended and enjoyed, a number of new members welcomed, two issues of the Group’s journal, Boyne Berries, published, and many publication and competition successes for members.

The past year saw the editorship of Boyne Berries, pass from Michael Farry, who had been editor since the beginning, to Orla Fay. Both were congratulated by members on the work they had done to make the journal an important part of the literary scene in the country.

The two launches, in March and September, were very successful with contributors travelling from various parts of the country to read their contributions.

As part of the Bealtaine Festival which celebrates creativity as we age, Boyne Writers Group and Meath Writers Circle organized a very well-attended poetry reading in the Old Rectory, Trim on Thursday 22 May at the invitation of Martina Quinn of the Old Rectory.

Boyne Writers Group continues to lead a weekly poetry reading for the residents of Knightsbridge Retirement Village on Wednesday afternoons. This has proven a great success with many residents taking part by reading their own favourite poetry.

The secretary thanked the Castle Arch Hotel who accommodate the Group every second Thursday night and host the launches, the local press, Focus and The Meath Chronicle, who publish notices and reports of various functions.

Plans for 2014 were discussed and it was decided that efforts should be made to hold a small number of readings and open mics during the year.

It was also decided that the Group should mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising and it was decided that Boyne Berries for March 2016 might be a special 1916 issue with submissions invited on that theme. It was also decided to investigate the possibility of publishing a booklet of collaborative stories written by members based on the 1916 Rising.