Thursday, May 28, 2009

Salt's Innovative Campaign

Save Poetry Now! Well, that's the tenor of the campaign that Salt publishing are running at the moment. Having come to the end of a three year stint of development funding that would have seen Salt upping it's game and raising it's profile, the deepening recession came along and knocked the stuffing out of their previously healthy sales.

Just One Book, was Salt's response. If everyone who was into poetry, went along to their website and bought just one of their many titles, enough cash-flow could be raised to smooth them through a bumpy few months and stabilise their publishing list for 2009.

So, if you've been reading about their poets or writers, and wondering what that particular book was like, now is the time to act on that impulse. Only one book - that's all it will take to show support and keep the business viable.

If you're in the UK, or if you're here in Ireland and have access to BBC2, you might watch Newsnight Review this Friday, to see Chris Hamilton-Emery elaborate on Salt's predicament and the Just One Book campaign. Look out for the Manchester Evening News too.

I've put my money where my mouth is, and invested (yes, that's what I call it) in some Salt books that I've wanted for a while. Go on, you know you want to!

Monday, May 25, 2009

I'm Back!

Wonderful news on WRW's blog, about her new addition to the family, Juno, and her nomination for the European Prize for Literature - talk about really good news!

I've got a whole house to overhaul, but just wanted to say that Annamakerrig was the best week of my life... so productive, so calming, so friendly and such good food!

I'll be back later in the week when I've put manners on my house, to fill in the blanks and hopefully post some pics!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Busy, Busy Busy

Tomorrow the last of my offspring, Sinead, makes her First Holy Communion. She will wear the same white dress that her two older sisters wore - I'm not a great believer in spending more than needs be. I take after my mother in that respect!

I'm then heading to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annamakerrig on Sunday for a week long of writing. It's one of the residential weeks that I won as a bursary, from both Dundalk Town Council and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre itself.

I've already printed off some of the materials that I might work on. I'm thinking 'torture implements,' but I'm not sure what I'll do with them yet. I'm a little bit concerned about how these ones here at home will cope without someone to clean up and wash up after them, but I know I shouldn't be. I won't miss that at AMK.

Imagine: not having to get up and interrupt work because I've to make dinner, or peg out clothes, or wash the floor, or vacuum the sitting room, or fill the washing machine, or do the shopping, or bring someone to the dentist, or fix the toilet, or ... Just imagine: no-one's needs to tend to but my own, no interruptions - in fact absolutely no excuses for not writing!

I'll see you all on the far side, in a week's time. I'm not allowing myself on the internet while I'm there!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Drogheda Writes 2 Launch Tonight!

Finally this baby is going out into the world. I've spent the last four months in intimate contact with all the contributions: editing, placing, sharpening, paring away at the final edit and it's due to be launched this evening by the Mayor of Drogheda, Frank Maher as well as special guest, Joseph Woods, Director of Poetry Ireland. It contains poetry, memoir and fiction, as well as the Amergin Award winners of 2007. It weighs in at 136 pages in total and is packed with talent, from the youngest contributor of eight to the oldest contributor at almost 80!

It's been a real labour of love - I have undimmed respect for anthology editors everywhere.

So now, I give you a brand new anthology: Drogheda Writes 2, a veritable garden of blooms! Tonight at 8pm in Drogheda at The Venue, McHughs, Chord Road. Yahoo!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Kreativ Blogger - Moi?

1. Post the award on your blog and link to the person who gave you the award.

This was awarded by Made for Weather, aka NZ poet and writer, Kay MacKenzie Cooke. Thank you Kay :))))

2. List seven things you love.

County Kerry, peace and quiet, sunshine, ice and snow, cumulous clouds, the colour blue (like Kay) especially cobalt blue, the virtual friends and writers I've met through t'internet

3. Pass it on! List seven blogs you love and let those people know you’ve given them the award.

Women Rule Writer
Emerging Writer
Michael Farry
Keeper of the Snails
Baroque in Hackney
My (elastic) gap year
Dick Jones Pateran Pages

Come and get your awards people!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Lady Doth Protest

Over at Indieoma, there's a week's worth of articles and views on the idea of protest, called 'Your Voice'. I've got a piece, Voicing the Truth on the difficulty of crafting a 'protest poem,' Sean has a piece, Vox Interruptus, on stammering; Karim looks at revolutionary literature while Ric investigates revolution, films and butterflies.

There is also a short story by Farryl and a rousing piece on why you should protest by Martin - and last but not least, how to influence people through protest by Jacki

You can post comments after the pieces - you needn't register, but do let people know who you are. Happy reading!


On another note, a thoughtful review of Kairos is up at Liam Guilar's Lady Godiva & Me. Liam is English, of Irish descent, living in Australia. His poetry has lately appeared in The Shop & The Stinging Fly, for Irish readers who might just recognise his name.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Wigtown Weekend

I'm back from an interesting weekend away in Scotland in Wigtown. If you ever happen to find yourself in this part of the world, you couldn't do better than the warmth and comfort of Brora Lodge, a family run B&B, where nothing is too much trouble and their breakfast is simply the yummiest out.

After a long journey on Friday, Saturday proved to be really sunny: all the visiting poets brought good weather with them. The awards took place in the main hall in Wigtown, and all us prizewinners were pleased to be given a few words by Douglas Dunn, the judge, about how he chose the poems. Quite simply, he picked the ones that he liked best: that were original and that appealed to things he knew in an unusual manner. Douglas spoke of the judging process requiring "monastic conditions" (solitude and a helpful dram) to get through, but that it was an enjoyable honour to read all these poems.

Then, we were all asked to read our poems, in reverse order, as well as the Gaelic winner. Afterwards we were invited to join everyone for a celebratory Angus beef dinner, at the Writer's Retreat, with Alistair Reid, the translator and poet, and all prizewinners, judges and organisers. I felt so honoured to be in such great and illustrious company and I was minded to distraction all weekend by the good folk of the Wigtown festival: Davie, Adrian, Catherine, Ann... I'm sure I've missed someone!

I also had the great pleasure of chatting to the Gaelic winner, Tormad Caimbeul and his beautiful daughter, Catriona, about the pleasures and difficulties of writing in their wonderful language, as well as the similarities to Irish. The craic was mighty, as they say here in Ireland, and it was a great weekend away.

A wee hey-out to Jim, Mora, Rob, Victor, Tormad and Caitriona - so good to meet you all, may you go on to even greater heights.