Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dublin Writers Workshop

Great credit is due to Nessa O’Mahony for her website “Dublin Writers Workshop Online” see < >.

It all goes back to the well-known Dublin Writers Workshop that met for years in a range of venues around Dublin and attracted many writers that have since become familiar names e.g. Sheila O’Hagan, Jean O’Brien, Ted McNulty and many others. I was a regular in the early nineties but have often argued against the notion of workshops, mainly on account of the very mixed ability of writers that attended.Now I have to give credit to that workshop in particular; a disproportionate number of the members have gone on to be widely published and award winners.

Anyway Nessa O’Mahony who definitely falls into the category of successful past members, facilitates this website; she does writers, poets in particular, a great service and this is a great resource.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What's in a Title

Occasionally a combination of words grabs you, opens up a new space in your mind, new possibilities. Mary O’Gorman’s title “I am Horses, I am Swallows” is a title that does just that. I came across it at Southward, newsletter of the Munster Literature Centre, Sullivans Quay, Cork; On same page poems from Pearse Hutchinson, Paddy Bushe, Fred Johnston and others. Worth mentioning by the way Paddy Bushe, who I have a lot of time for; he has a new collection: To Ring in Silence: New and Selected Poems (The Dedalus Press, 2008).

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ireland and Newfoundland

A wave of emigration from Ireland to Newfoundland, particularly from the south-east of Ireland, occurred in the early 1800’s even before the famine. Today a great number of the Newfoundland population have Irish roots.

The strength of poetry in Ireland is well known, but many here would have been unaware of the strength of poetry in Newfoundland and Labrador at least up to the publication of The Backyards of Heaven An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry from Ireland and Newfoundland & Labrador (eds. Stephanie McKenzie and John Ennis Scop Productions, 2003). The book was a celebration of our common heritage. I was glad to be included.

I mention it by way of introducing a video from Youtube.Can you believe this is not a video from Wexford?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Interest in Poetry

The new ESRI Report, In the Frame or Out of the Picture?, analyses current involvement in the Arts in Ireland in terms of participation in the arts, attendance at arts events and reading habits.
It comes up with some interesting statistics relating to poetry:

Women are more than twice as likely to read poetry than men

Age, gender, educational attainment are among other factors that impinge on the readership of poetry but not social class. Interestingly social class is a factor in other categories of reading choice.

Age is (surprise surprise) a major factor in readership of poetry with over 65’s over six times more likely to read it than 35 – 44 year olds

Poetry reading is strongly related to educational attainment; the post-grad holder figure is over 3 times the figure of those without third level qualifications.

It would be nice to see an analysis of interest in poetry in all its guises undertaken under the auspices of Poetry Ireland, an organization that would have the influence to implement a strategy to deal with the findings. In particular, I would be interested to learn how the colossal exposure of second level students in Ireland translates into such low levels of manifest interest and appreciation.

Surely there is an urgent need for a move to be made in this direction?