Friday, March 26, 2010

Annamakerrig Awaits

I'll be off writing for a whole week, undisturbed (sans hub, sans kids, sans everything - bar the sense), at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre for Artists and Writers.

Tyrone Guthrie, playwright, was a rare spirit. He gifted his estate, deep in the drumlins of Co. Monaghan, to the Irish state upon his death in 1971, as a place to be developed for giving artists a space to work in.

I've already received a couple of bursary residencies to this magical place, last year (one lot from Dundalk Town Council, another from the centre itself), and by the Goddess did I make the most of those three weeks.

This coming week is my last gifted week there, making the most of Tyrone Guthrie's far-sighted hospitality, which is continued through the friendly staff who mind the place on his behalf, for us writers and artists: Guests of the Nation, indeed!

Thanks TG.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Chimaera

The new issue of The Chimaera is online, and there's a review of Nigel McLoughlin's Chora, a new and selected from Templar Poetry.

There are also other reviews from Angela France on Alison Brackenbury & Paul Stevens on Jee Leong Koh's book, Equal to the Earth (lovely title, don't you think?), and poems galore, themed and unthemed, from all sorts of poets (Alison Brackenbury & Anna Evans to name but a few).

Check out this lovely online poetry ezine, it's presented well and easy to navigate and some of the poems can also be heard as well as read.

Oh yeah, I wrote the NMcL review... nearly forgot!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"With a shillelagh under me arm...

Photo courtesy of St. Patrick's Shamrock Company at - a website where you can buy shamrock - jaypers I'll be getting mine out in the field, as usual!

...and a twinkle in me eye,
I'm off to Tipperary in the morning!"

I wish - but, it is good that St. Patrick's Day falls on a Wednesday this year, as it gives me a chance to mitch off from teaching - no I mean take a well-earned rest and have a bit of family time.

I'm just surfacing from what has to have been my own worst winter of discontent: illness after illness, pain after pain, strange swellings and shrinkings, ultra-mood swings - it could be viewed as being funny, in that understated way that Irish women have, except that all the way along since last September I've remained undiagnosed - but I'm finally getting closer to a diagnosis! Progress indeed. I've had a colonoscopy (basically, a camera up me bum -unneeded, but apparently an elimination that was needed), and an OGD, both of which thankfully I was knocked out for (camera lowered into the tummy and small intestine). Nice, I suppose, to know that at least that part of me is okay and has been passed as fit. Wish the rest of me was :/

But it seems that the pains and the mood-swings and the awful, awful mind-numbing tiredness is down to wandering bits of endometrium; the lining of the womb.

You'd think that this stuff would stay put, where it belongs - but no, in some women it likes to go off and have an ould grow on other organs, causing 'adhesions' which are when one bit sticks to another - say your ovary to your womb, or your ovary to every other organ around it.

What happens every month as you go through the cycle is that these extraneous bits grow and shed, just like your womb would, except that there's nowhere for the shedding to go... which is why you get strange, regular pains (that were frankly the most excruciating thing I've ever been through - I'd much rather have had a baby, without any anaesthesia any day!). I'm far from having the whole thing sorted out, but it's nice to have a name for the symptoms - endometriosis - and not feel like I'm simply going doolally.

So, wherever you are, have a Happy St. Patrick's Day : enjoy the wearing of the green and have an ould pint of shtout for me!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lovely things to read

This week, into my mailbox arrived Paul Maddern's Kelpdings (great title); The Stinging Fly (so many good stories/poems in there - and congrats to Kit Fryatt on winning piece of the year), The Dark Horse from Scotland/US (really enjoyed this last subscription and now they've gone 'buy online' so there's no excuse!). Last but not least is the Poetry Divas 1(still a few copies left- go there to buy!) pamphlet with those brazen poetry huss... lovely ladies! The Divas work hard and play hard as is evidenced by the poems in this first edition, complete with a cover of pink wellie-booties in a love-heart - oh yah.

Paul Maddern's pamphlet from Templar was one of the winners of their pamphlet competition last year and it's just gorgeous. The poems, the cover (how can you not like a cover that colour), the pamphlet, the words... it's like taking a vacation in your head in much warmer Island waters... how I long for some real heat in the sunshine now.

This year's Templar pamphlet comp. is already open, in fact it closes mid-April, so you'd want to get a move on soon. The judge is Pat Winslow (get her poetry if you can - very, very talented poet) and the comp. closes on the 8th May 2010. Get cracking now (that last bit was to myself ) B)

Monday, March 08, 2010

International Women's Day

So, what are you doing to celebrate International Women's Day?

I remember when I was expecting the twins being asked to read at a poetry event in Drogheda to celebrate, with Susan Connolly - that's eleven years ago now, in 1999! Frightening.

Today, I'll content myself with hugging some quiet poetry news to myself and thinking about the achievements of some great women in writing: Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, Dorothy Molloy, Adrienne Rich - and some more contemporary ones: Emerging Writer, Nuala, Apprentice, Peony Moon, Jane Holland, Pascale Petit, Kay MacKenzie Cooke... and that's just a quick glance around the blogospere - here's to us grils (yes, that is deliberate!).