Off-site Reading | Untold Stories

Waaaaay back in April, I had the chance to organise a very fun reading with local writers, Christodoulos Makris, Sue Rainsford (and me), alongside Gregory Betts, Tanis MacDonald, Shannon Webb-Campbell and Erin Wunker, who were visiting from Canada for the Untold Stories: Canada 150 Conference at University College Dublin.

We shook off the conference setting in favour of the pub. Here we are, reading our hearts out in Devitt's Pub on Camden Street. 

Is the Avant Garde over?!

I had a whirlwind adventure in March reading in Montréal, Washington DC and New York, teaching at Concordia University, panelling at NeMLA in Baltimore and researching at the MHSO Archive in Toronto. Thanks to Drawn & Quarterly, Solas Nua, the Hillyer Art SpaceBluestockings Bookstore for hosting the readings, Karen Harte for designing the posters, and my pals who shared various couches, air mattresses, meals, drinks and hours with me. 

Most excitingly(!!!!), I signed with BookThug in Toronto for my first collection, Where the Mile End. Dreamtimes! Looking forward to working on the manuscript over the next 18 months (and finishing my PhD...). Be grand!

Another rad part of the trip was meeting so many fantastic poets. I got to read with Canadian poets, Sarah Burgoyne, Erin Robinsong, Jessi MacEachern and Claire Farley, and American poets, Wendy Barnes, Red Washburn and Jean Lee. There was also the monumental moment of Claudia Rankine's reading in Montréal, and catching Lisa Robertson at Knife Fork Book in Toronto. Knife Fork Book are carrying some copies of my pamphlet now, too! Also, got to hang out with some BookThug label-mates after that reading :) 

I celebrated my birthday in every city I went to (at least twice). And had many informative conversations about Foucault and Affect Theory with Claire Farley on trains and bunk beds. We probably should have just had a drink instead...

Catch me in April, north and south:

Thursday, 27 April, UCD presents Poetry Day, Reading with Siobhan Campbell, Julie Morrissy, Paul Perry, Grace WilentzNerys Williams & more, J208, Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, 1:00 pm

Saturday, 29 April, IAAS Conference Reading with Kathleen McCracken, Julie Morrissy & Grace Wilentz, Ulster University, Belfast Campus, 1:30pm

Sunday, 30 April, Cross-Atlantic Reading with Gregory Betts, Tanis MacDonald, Christodoulos Makris, Julie Morrissy, Sue Rainsford & Erin Wunker, Devitt's Pub, Camden Street, Dublin, 7pm

Hot or Not?

Long time ago in Montréal I interned with Drawn & Quarterly. It was excellent and I loved it. After work I used to take the bus down Park Ave with two pals, Jessica Campbell and Bridget Moser. I worked with Jessica at D&Q, and Bridget and Jessica are longtime close friends. 

In October I was in Toronto reading at the International Festival of Authors and it turned out to be a D&Q reunion bonanza! Seth designed the v cool poster for the 37th IFOA. While I was in TO, Jessica also launched her new book Hot or Not: 20th Century Male Artists, with Bridget performing at the launch. It all felt really cool and special. The last time the three of us gals were together was probably on the 80 bus in the depths of Montréal winter. I was only sad that I didn't manage to see the whole D&Q team but I have my eyes fixed on Montréal for 2017. More on that soon...

For now, look at these cool pics.


Heaney Homeplace | Opening Weekend

Check out some photos from the Incertus event at the opening weekend of the Heaney Homeplace. It was incredible to read "Mid-Term Break," as well as one of my own poems, "Intermural," with the Heaney family in the audience. Thanks to all involved in organising the event, and especially to David Grant who did a fantastic job staging the Incertus reading. 

Toronto this month! Details here.

"Any direction--as long as it's north..."

I am so pleased to have had work this year in some of my favourite publications. My poetry has appeared in gorseThe Stinging FlyPoetry Ireland Reviewsome mark made, and I had my first publication in the U.S. through Solas Nua and their mini-edition of "The Rising Issue" of The Stinging Fly for Irish Book Day.

Also thrilling is my inclusion in a forum "For a Global Poetics" in the latest issue of ASAP/Journal from John Hopkins University. The forum, edited by Walt Hunter, includes many brilliant poets, including M. NourbeSe Philip. NourbeSe Philip's poetry is central to my studies, so it is so v cool to be featured alongside her!  You can check it out here.

Suzannah Evans wrote a kind and insightful review of my pamphlet I Am Where in the August issue of The North magazine, a wonderful publication produced by The Poetry Business. You can see some of Suzannah's words from her review here, and The North is available to purchase from The Poetry Business website. 

So! For the rest of year I am going to be having the best fun reading my work. Catch me all over the place, at home and abroad, in the coming months:

September 30th 2016 -- "Incertus" with Shea Atchison, Stephen Connolly, Brian Diamond, Danni Glover, Rachael Hegarty & Emma Must,  Opening Weekend of The Seamus Heaney Homeplace, Bellaghy, Co. Derry

October 27th 2016 --"Poetry Ireland @ IFOA"  with Ciaran O'Rourke, International Festival of Authors, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Canada

October 29th 2016 -- "Ireland @ IFOA" with Emma Donaghue, Paul Muldoon & Ciaran O'Rourke, International Festival of Authors, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Canada

November 12th 2016 -- "The Rising Generation" with Jane Clarke, 
Christodolous Makris & Ciaran O'Rourke, Dublin Book Festival, Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin

Tour, Shortlist, Read, Revolt

I got so envious of my friends going on tour with their bands I decided it was high time I go on a research and reading tour. Big big thanks to Rob McLennan, Dennis Dennisoff, Dale Smith, Ryerson EnglishChristina Milletti, and NeMLA for making the readings possible. After presenting on a wonderful creative panel at NeMLA, I took part in their Flash Readings Series -  a really cool idea for an academic convention where writers are set up during the breaks to read while people relax, have a coffee, etc. Then on to NYC where I was lucky enough to scour The Strand for those hard-to-get books and where my pal, poet and editor Claire Farley found this treasure - Dale Smith's The Flood & The Garden

I was warmly welcomed into the Multicultural History Society of Ontario to conduct some research for my project. I listened to hours of fascinating interviews with women who emigrated to Canada. The staff there set me up with a lovely space and it was a joy to work there. While in Toronto, I was thrilled to read in the Ryerson New Writing Series with Lana Pesch, and Moez Surani. For Easter weekend I headed off to Ottawa on the train to read at the Factory Series with Claire Farley, and Sarah Burgoyne, whose collection Saint Twin just came out and you should definitely buy it. 

Because of my whirlwind trip, I missed out on the centenary celebrations of the 1916 Rising in Ireland. I was really pleased to have work included in both The Stinging Fly's Centenary issue and Poetry Ireland's "Rising Generation" issue. Both good books worth checking out. My poem "i measc mo dhaoine" was also featured in a mini-edition of The Stinging Fly's "In the Wake of the Rising" issue published in conjunction Solas Nua and distributed in Washington DC for Irish Book Day.

Still busy times ahead! I am moving house - which is just as well because I was concerned I would run out of things to write about. This month I am very excited to convene a panel of stellar readers at the biennial conference Association of Canadian Studies Ireland held in Maynooth University. Myself, Kathleen McCracken, Connie Voisine and Dimitra Xidous will be reading at the "Canada in Ireland" panel on Saturday, May 14th, which focuses on the work of Canadian poets living in Ireland and poets with personal connections to Canada. 

There is another brilliant collaborative event coming up as part of the Bealtaine festival. On May 17th in Book Upstairs I will read in The Next Generation night with my aunt, Mary Morrissy, poet, Enda Wyley and her nephew Ciaran O'Rourke, a fellow-Rising Generation poet. Mary's new book Prosperity Drive has been launched to rave reviews so it will be a treat to hear her read on the night.

And finally! There are some lists to pay attention to. I Am Where has been shortlisted for Best Poetry Pamphlet in the Saboteur Awards in the UK. Please vote here!

The awards will occasion my reunion with the wonderful Megan Nolan, who is also shortlisted for her collaborative work "And No Animal Is Without Enemy" - you should vote for this too! some mark made, a limited edition publication edited by Sue Rainsford and featuring a trove of excellent work, made the long list for Best Anthology. There are still some copies available to purchase through the some mark made website. 

Fave part of my research this week was discovering Sonia Sanchez. Check her out:

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I have been v busy lately. My debut poetry pamphlet I Am Where was launched by Eyewear Press (UK) last week in London. I had fantastic time with my London pals on the night.

Last night myself and Sue Rainsford took a trip to the weekly O'Bhéal event in Cork with readings by my fellow-Poetry Ireland Introductee, Jen Matthews, and new pal, Victoria Kennefick. Jen's pamphlet Rootless published by Smithereens Press is available to read online. You can buy Victoria's pamphlet White Whale here. I recommend that you do both things! 

Tomorrow is our big night in Dublin. Myself and Michael Naghten Shanks will launch each of our pamphlets in the Eyewear 20/20 Series at McGrattan's Bar at 7:30pm. Further details here.

Also, listen out for a mention of the 20/20 Series, and for my poem "Joint" on The Poetry Programme this coming Saturday, December 5th on RTÉ Radio 1, 7:30pm. 


canthius is not your run-of-the-mill literary journal. As evidenced by the editorial, it is a careful and considered publication that, amongst other things, addresses the gender gap in Canadian publishing, and alongside its contributors, explores what it means to be both a woman and a writer. 

I feel privileged not only to know the editors Claire Farley, and Cira Nickel as friends, but also that they thought of me when they were compiling this very impressive first issue of canthius. And what an extra-special surprise to see the cover art by Winnie Truong, another inspirational Canadian woman taking the world by storm. 

canthius is available to order through their website. Issue 01 features writing by myself, Sharon Thesen, Sonia di Placido, Ruth Daniell, Tanis MacDonald, Nina Murray, Sara Jane Strickland, Deirdre Maultsaid, Jen Currin, Megan Paranich, Kristen Smith, and Susie Winters.

Get a copy. It's really great!

Where am I again?

I am so thrilled with the cover of my forthcoming debut pamphlet with Eyewear Publishing. Big thanks to Edwin Smet for the design, and to Todd Swift and all the team at Eyewear. It's getting very exciting...

Send help or Coffee

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Sandra Bland street art, Soho, New York City

Sandra Bland street art, Soho, New York City

If you would like to know what I have been doing for the last month, look no further than this photograph of my desk. I have just started my practice-based PhD in Poetry at the University of Ulster, which means I pile stuff up on my desk and hope that some day it will add to up make a huge amount of groundbreaking sense! 

I did manage to go on holiday before my desk turned to that state. I spent some time in New York and Philadelphia. I went on a tour of Edgar Allen Poe's house in Philly, and spent hours at the Strand Bookshop in NYC. I also got a fantastic parcel from my former-supervisor and friend, Dale Smith, that arrived right before I left. Dale, Hoa Nguyen, and Michael Cavuto are publishing a really cool quarterly poetry newsletter called Slow Poetry in America. The pamphlets are beautiful and give a fantastic sampler of very talented poets. The pictured pamphlets feature Kim Dorman, and Marion Bell. I was also treated to two of Dale's poetry books, both perfect in content and presentation. 

This week brings the much-awaited launch of Canthius in Toronto, a Canadian journal that I am thrilled to be featured in. The editors have put in gigantic amounts of work and I know the journal is going to be a triumph! It is a stretch for me to get to Toronto this week but anyone living a little closer should stop in to the Likely General for the launch party on Saturday, 26 September 2015.

We are currently putting the finishing touches to my debut pamphlet I Am Where due out in November with Eyewear Publishing. Keep an eye out for details of the launch, which I will be posting soon.

Hackney Panic No. 17

Reading at the Eyewear 20/20 Summer Pamphlet Launch, London, July 2015

Reading at the Eyewear 20/20 Summer Pamphlet Launch, London, July 2015

Books and Pamphlets from Eyewear Publishing

Books and Pamphlets from Eyewear Publishing

I went to London last week to read for Eyewear Publishing, and man, did I have a good a time! There I am on the left doing just that; reading and having a good time. 

I am completely thrilled to say that I will be the Poet No. 17 in the Eyewear 20/20 Pamphlet Series, edited by Les Richardson and designed by Edwin Smet. My pamphlet will be launched this coming November - hardly any time to wait!

If you would like to check out the poets on the current list of 16 in the series (and buy their pamphlets), you can do that here. I had the opportunity to read with seven of these fantastic poets last Tuesday; V.A. Sola Smith, Samantha Jackson, Damilola Odelola, Keith Jarrett, Leilanie Stewart, and none other than Georges Szirtes.

I also finally got to meet Todd Swift in Maida Vale after considerable anticipation, and some panic. I got lost the moment I left the flat in Hackney, despite a hand-drawn map made by my good friend and hostess, Hannah. Those who know me will not be surprised...Todd was very understanding about my ineptitude, and we had a great meeting that roughly covered Ferlinghetti, Shutter Island, and robot writing. 

Writer and  Guardian  Employee of the Month, Megan Nolan

Writer and Guardian Employee of the Month, Megan Nolan

Deffo one of the best parts of being in London (apart from using all the free testers in Liberty) was seeing the ladies what art. I had burgers and wine and popcorn with writer and darling of The GuardianMegan NolanAisling Fahy, the Young Poet Laureate of London, and actor, Hannah James-Scott. It was lovely to have their support at the reading and it gave me a glimpse into what looks like strong poetry community in London. 

Know this; there is no "I" in Eyewear.

My fave thing in Hannah's flat. Custom-made by Jean Roberts.

My fave thing in Hannah's flat. Custom-made by Jean Roberts.

Foaming At The Mouth Part 5

Sue Rainsford reading "Aporia's Circle".

Sue Rainsford reading "Aporia's Circle".

Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan Ryan

Claire Potter performing Lads of Aran.

Claire Potter performing Lads of Aran.

On Saturday night I went along to one of the most lively and interesting creative showcases that I've seen in Dublin. Curated by Tracy Hanna and Emer Lynch, Foaming At The Mouth presented their fifth event in the Polo Clubhouse, Phoenix Park. The venue was an excellent choice - right size, beautifully lit stage, seats (!), conveniently placed bar, burgers, free entry (!); really what more can you ask for? 

Lots more apparently! The physicality of many of the performances and the range of forms and disciplines was refreshing and I think really energising for the audience. I was excited about seeing Sue RainsfordEoghan Ryan, and Claire Potter in action. I'd had a sneak peak at Sue's short fiction piece, "Aporia's Circle" beforehand but she added very smart erasure elements for the performance and her transition through the forms was seamless. Also, the way that Sue read, her voice, her spirit, drew me into her piece.

I had heard a lot about Eoghan Ryan's work in advance of his performance and justifiably so. It was captivating from the moment he breezed past me en route to the stage with hip hop blaring around the room. The interaction between video, sound, text and his own stage presence pulled my brain in different directions, leaving me to concentrate on everything separately and together all at the same time.

Claire Potter's thoughtful and physical performance entitled "Lads of Aran" focused on the figure of the lad, in both English and Irish contexts. Claire's investment in her material was clear from her considered performance. I loved the glimpses of her personal connection to the figure of the lad referenced in the link to her adolescence in St Helen's, Merseyside. That personal connection helped to illuminate some of the more complex issues in her work. Like Eoghan Ryan, Claire is right in there at the centre of her work. I loved that each of Sue's, Eoghan's, and Claire's work had so much of themselves throughout.

I really had fun! I'll be on the look out for more events and projects by Tracy Hanna and Emer Lynch in the future.

I am Reading!

I'm juggling a few books at the moment. I have been slowly reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt for a couple of weeks but still am only halfway through. I really like it though the narrative voice is remarkably similar to the character of Del in Richard Ford's Canada, which we read during my MA in Creative Writing a couple of years ago. Most of the class hated Canada but I loved it. Turns out I can't get enough of runaway teenage boys from dysfunctional families. Maybe I was one myself in another life. My friend Sue Rainsford pointed out that though she is a big admirer of Tartt's work, some say The Goldfinch is  quite heavy handed and of course, once she said that I keep noticing that it is just that. There are some parts in particular that I dont' think would survive a workshop!

I also just started Vona Groarke's X. I'm only a few poems in and will probably start over and read the whole collection through before thinking seriously about it. I have been leafing through some old copies of The Belleville Park Pages with glee. Some nice work in there.

My next move will be to Karen Perry's Only We Know, which is getting rave reviews all over the place. It recently made the top lists for crime fiction in both the Telegraph and the Irish Times. Once I get over this fascination with runaway teenagers, I'll be straight on to Only We Know.

Bloomsday Reading at Lilliput Press

Reading at Lilliput Press with Rosita Sweetman (right), Gary Jermyn (far right).

Reading at Lilliput Press with Rosita Sweetman (right), Gary Jermyn (far right).

When I was handed pizza and wine on arrival, I knew myself and Lilliput Press were going to have a lot in common! 

Last night was a really successful and fun event. I was honoured to meet Rosita Sweetman and even more thrilled to find out that Chupi, my number one fave Irish designer, is her daughter! Women running the world! 

Another happy coincidence was finally getting to chat with Anna Walsh, a fellow graduate of the MA in Creative Writing in UCD. I love seeing the MA graduates doing well. I read one of Anna's poems a couple of years ago for a workshop I led at UCD. I loved the poem she submitted but didn't get to meet Anna on the day. So nice when all the little threads come together.

All of the readers did a fantastic job. I enjoyed seeing Sam Coll read, who once wandered into my basement flat in Portobello barefoot and padded what looked like soot over the floors. Barely recognised him with his shoes on :)

Looking forward to more Lilliput events in the future, and big thanks to everyone there for organising such a fun and interesting evening. More photos of the night to come.

The Dalhousie Review & Mandolin

So thrilled to get my contributor copies of The Dalhousie Review this afternoon! It's a beautiful publication and I can't wait to sink my teeth into it. My thanks to all of the team at TDR, especially the production manager Jennifer Lambert. I will post a link to "Mandolin" when/if one becomes available.

In other news, I'm reading tonight from Ulysses at Lilliput Press.

Happy Bloomsday!

Yeats 150th Birthday Celebration, Sligo

Lissadell House and Gardens

Lissadell House and Gardens

 Playground graveyard near Pearse Road, Sligo

 Playground graveyard near Pearse Road, Sligo

Blurry but brilliant female poet laureates

Blurry but brilliant female poet laureates

I was whisked off at the weekend by a supportive gaggle of women (my mom and my aunts) to the Yeats Festival Weekend in Sligo. Alongside the deep poetic tradition in Sligo, my mother grew up just at the top of the Pearse Road on the edge of Sligo town. Days were spent climbing the walls of the graveyard and skipping endlessly in the yard of the National School. It was enchanting to see the view of Benbulben from the McCann childhood home and to think that my Mandolin was once there.

We spent Saturday morning and afternoon at Lisadell House and gardens. The event was opened by Senator David Norris, a totally charming and charismatic man. The gatherers were then treated to a host of Yeats poetry read by the famous faces of RTE. Although the RTE performers gave their all, and of course are wonderful public speakers, I did wonder why there were no poets reading at the opening ceremony in Lissadell. Afterall, there are hundreds of Irish poets - aren't those the people whose investment in the Irish poetic tradition is strongest? I also was pretty jaded after the sixth recital of The Lake Isle of Inishfree!

Luckily, I was able to secure last minute tickets to the Poet Laureate reading in Knocknaree Arena. That was a really interesting and well-organised event that paid respect and gave time to poetic talent, both new and old, and showcased some fantastic musicians. I saw Mary McPartland sing that night, and the previous night at the Candlelit Salon chaired by Vincent Woods. McPartland's voice has the ability to transport the mind to the places she sings of and beyond. Dr Margaret Harper is a well of knowledge on Yeats and her thoughts on his work were sharp and engaging. I have a feeling she will soon become an academic hero of mine.

But the Poet Laureates! I couldn't choose a favourite (especially because anytime Paula Meehan speaks it is my favourite thing I've ever heard - until the next time I hear her!). These poets spoke with power and poise. Sinéad Morrissey's voice has such texture. Her poem about the Moscow circus will stay with me. Carol Ann Duffy's reverse-chronology poem about knowing her mother in life and death was pure genius - the kind of poem that left me wondering how she wrote it. There were thought-provoking words on swans from Liz Lochhead, on countrywomen from Roscommon from Gillian Clarke, and on holy water vs. Bonjela from Aisling Fahey. 

And as for Paula Meehan's trio of poems from her time in Leitrim during the 80s - I for one was still thinking about that dark face in the window. 

I made it back to Dublin just in time to hit up Belvedere House to see Susan Howe. I simply have never seen someone read with such command and mystique. The sounds and the words she builds together are, for me, what poetry is - a movement through the mind to the thought behind the thought.

Last night, I was truly behind Susan Howe's thoughts and I hope to remain there.

Caves, Bears & Pages

Last night saw a very successful reading at The Ink Factory in Dublin organised by The Belleville Park Pages, The Bohemyth and Cave Writings. Twelve readers performed (four from each of the groups) showcasing dynamic and varied work in all genres. 

I always love seeing Christodoulos Makris and his reading last night twisted my brain in new (and welcome!) directions. Liz Reapy regaled us with stories of childhood and dead dogs, and Dimitra Xidous brought me to a new understanding of eggs! Alvy Carragher nailed her performance - she spoke with confidence and charisma, and she's right - more poems should feature Patrick Kavanagh and Michael Jackson together!

I was able to pick up a few copies of The Belleville Park Pages, which were generously provided for free. Looking forward to reading those, and to submitting work to them in the future.

My next reading will be in July - details to follow as I get them :)

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