Wednesday 22 November 2023

Father to Daughter translated into Arabic

منْ أبٍ إلى ابنتهِ 

How beautiful is that?          My poem....   

 'Father to Daughter' in Arabic script above

Thanks to Dr. Salwa Goda, Egyptian academic, poet and translator.

Thank you to Mark Ulyseas for facilitating the meeting of minds that allow us to meet across the sands.

Thanks also to Chris Murray for first publishing the original version in English on her Poethead website.

Thanks to Paul Casey at ÓBheál, Cork for hosting poet's from across the globe which enabled me to meet poet's such as Rafiq Kathwari.

The full poem in Arabic along with an article by Dr. Salwa Goda was published today Wednesday 22nd Nov 2023 in the Jordanian magazine Thaqafat.

It took more than 30 years after I had returned from a two year stay in Iraq to write this poem. Sometimes it takes something outside of ourselves to trigger us to write. In this case it was a post on Facebook by Rafiq Kathwari about the possibility of Tony Blair being brought to court for war crimes that brought me back to my time in Baghdad and this poem emerged. I loved everything about Iraq, about Baghdad, about the people. I visited as far north as Zakkho and south to Basra and most places in between. I 'grew up' there. It entered my blood and still keeps my heart beating.

My dad was a reader. He didn't own many books but still somehow managed to read voraciously and passed on this love to me.

I am now older than my dad was when he asked me 'Do you realise there is a war going on?' I didn't although I didn't say so.

The tide has come in and gone out many days since then. I am slowly coming to the realisation that the more I know the less I know. I know that no religion has the answer because there is no answer. We each have to find our own way. As we come into this world alone so we leave it.

Saturday 20 May 2023

When I'm 64

My poems BEYOND and WHALE SONG are published in AGENDA 55, Stepping Stones, Editor: Patricia McCarthy;

Reflecting on this past year I thank all those who have read my work and hope you continue to find something there to enjoy, consider, or question. Thanks to Cork County Council Library & Arts Service for awarding me a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre.  I thank those editors who have accepted my work for publication and I also thank those editors who have taken the time and effort to read and reflect and who have not accepted my work this time. A special thanks to the pianist, composer, friend, Brian Priestley who has collaborated with me for more than a year putting music to my words. And thanks to the Arts Council of Ireland for supporting this poetry and music collaboration. Thanks to Filology, led by John Philip Murray, for enabling the live performance of one of these collaborative pieces at Inish Beg Estate in Baltimore and at Arthurs' Blues & Jazz Club, Dublin with Brian on piano/keyboard and vocals by Jo Smyth. 

One of the highlights of this past year for me was meeting up with people in person. I have little capacity for maintaining an online presence and all that this involves so instead I try to make contact with writer friends by email, zoom or phone calls and best of all over coffee. So do feel free to reach out to me if you feel like meeting up.  

I participated in a number of workshops during the past year. All of the workshop leaders were generous in sharing from their own experience of the writing life and I think leaders and participants all benefit from this communion. The workshop with Paul Muldoon was extra special because it was in person and I was one of ten participants selected by Kinsale Arts Week. I finally understand what a masterclass is and what a master! I am delighted that Paul has been awarded the honour of Ireland Professor of Poetry.

Writing, as with painting, sculpting, composing etc., is something one can only do alone, like reading. It is a privilege to read to a live audience or to know that someone has read ones work. This completes the cycle of the person putting words to paper, the finished piece itself and the reader.

Thanks to Patrick Cotter, Munster Literature Centre for selecting me as one of six readers for the Pre-Booked reading event at the 2023 Cork International Poetry Festival at the Cork City Library on 19th May. One day before my 64th birthday.

A special thanks to Patricia McCarthy, Editor of Agenda, who, after 20 years at the helm is handing over to Professor John Burnside, University of St. Andrews. Re-reading 'The Green Fool' by Patrick Kavanagh recently where he talked about A.E. not accepting his submission of poems but asked him to send him others which he did publish brought to mind Patricia doing the same for me. I am particularly pleased to have two poems in this 'Stepping Stones' edition of Agenda.

Publications in 2022/23, for which I have included links should you wish to read and support myself as a writer and these wonderful journals,  by Journal/Editor:

Agenda 55 Stepping Stones / Patricia McCarthy

Crannóg 58 / Edtorial Board: Sandra Bunting, Ger Burke, Jarlath Fahy & Tony O'Dwyer

Tabula Rasa / The Linen Press;  Editors: Rawaa Elsir, Kavita A. Jindal, Avril Joy, Lynn Michell, Reshma Ruia.

Cork Words 3 / Cork City Library, Patricia Looney

Dreich / Jack Caradoc

The Frogmore Papers / Jeremy Page

Stony Thursday / Annemarie Ní Churreáin [Limerick City Arts]

The North / Andrew McMillan & Stephanie Sy-Quia

A World Transformed / Matthew Geden, James Harpur & Roisin Kelly [Cork County Council Library & Arts Servie]

The Stinging Fly / Cal Doyle

Porridge Magazine Online / Georgia Tindale

The Windrow / Colin Close

Live Encounters / Mark Ulyseas

In Leafy Shade / Mary Angland & Lisa Egan 

Poetry as Commemoration / Irish Poetry Reading Archive UCD

Fear Less Anthology / Poetry Cooperative Galway

Workshops in 2022 were led by:

Sarah Byrne / The Well Review

Matthew Geden /Cork County Library & Arts Service

Stephen Sexton / The Stinging Fly

Paul Muldoon / Kinsale Arts Weekend [selected participants]

Thomas McCarthy / Gallery Press

and in 2023, three short morning masterclasses via Cork International Poetry Festival:

Valzhyna Mort

A.E. Stallings

Roby Rivas de la Martinez

and as part of the Stinging Fly Summer Poetry Online Workshop:

Martina Evans


And a few pics from:

Crannóg 58 launch was a really special evening. This was a journal I had submitted to numerous times and was delighted to have my poem 'Mycelium' included in Issue 58. I knew that the journal was of superb quality but had no idea that the people behind it are such an amazing group, so warm and welcoming. I hope to return.  Video Recording of the readings at the launch of Crannóg 58. My reading starts at 34:37.

 the launch of Stony Thursday with Annemarie Ní Churreáin at the Belltable, Limerick

We had a brilliant evening at the launch of  The Stinging Fly in Dublin and an online launch but unfortunately I don't have any pics from the events so including the wonderful cover below! Delighted to be part of The Stinging Fly family.

participants of the masterclass and reading by Paul Muldoon in Kinsale

at the launch in the Council Chambers of The World Transformed published by the Cork County Council Library & Arts Service 

A few of the journals where my poems are resting......

Friday 20 May 2022

It's that time of year

Sharpening my scythe, 2020
See a short article and my poem Haymaking published in 
Scythe Association of Britain & Ireland 

This morning I woke to rain watering the earth, and now, a few hours later I look out my study window at the sun glistening on the raindrops in the hedge. Birch leaves wave in the breeze and the firs above Kilmurry stand still near the barely rotating blades of the windmill.

On my birthday I reflect back over the year, over six journals. So much life in words and breaths. I am taken by the ending to Eimear Ryan's essay in Literary Hub 'How Sports Profoundly Shape Us, Even After We Quit': "Gradually, through repetition, we come back to ourselves".

Thanks to everyone who has supported me in any way from a walk and chat to publication and readings. Thanks to the Arts Council for their Agility Award in 2021. 
In April of this year I read at the intimate Plugd venue in Cork as part of the Rebound Festival hosted by Eimear Ryan and I participated in workshops during the year with a number of writers including Matthew Geden, Sarah Byrne and in July with Paul Muldoon. 
I have work accepted for publication later this year by Dreich and The Frogmore Papers and was delighted to have two poems published recently by Agenda.  Other publications over the past year include: