I had the pleasure of reviewing Helen Dunmore’s elegiac but uplifting ‘Inside the Wave’ from Bloodaxe Books for RTÉ’s Arena last week. This is a book that deals with mortality, but also surprises with its insights and imaginative drive. You can have a listen here.
It’s been a busy month leading up to Christmas (as always), but this year I’ve had a few lovely experiences promoting Liffey Swim. The first was reading at Bray Arts earlier this month to a really engaged and responsive audience. Have a look at their website for upcoming events.
The second week in December, I went to London for the launch of Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, edited by Gareth Prior and Claire Trévien. this is a really fantastic anthology in which a number of poets respond to historical events. This is exactly the kind of poetry I like to write, and I was very pleasantly surprised to be included in such great company. I think many of the poems included really stand up in their own right, even without immediate knowledge of the various historical contexts involved, so I’d really recommend picking up a copy, which you can do here.
Earlier this month, I also paid a flying visit to RTE’s Arena, where I recorded an essay on personal Christmas experiences which will be broadcast on Christmas Eve. At the same time, I recorded a few more poems from Liffey Swim, which Arena have been dotting throughout their broadcasts over the past few weeks. It’s always lovely to get a text from someone saying ‘Did you know you’re on the radio??’ My poem From the Diary of Doctor Jekyll can be heard at here, and The Water Table can be heard here.
Finally, I read as part of the Big Smoke Winter Literary Café, along with Michael Naghten Shanks, Mia Gallagher, Michelle Read, Dave Lordan, Raven and more. I’ve been writing lots of new stuff since the book was published and it was nice to have the opportunity to try out a new poem (although, as with the Doctor Jekyll poem above, it was a bit off-season. I’m going to have to publish a purely Halloween themed book next time around.) At least I got the Christmas jumper right.
I launched my debut collection Liffey Swim last Thursday evening in the great company of Enda Wyley and Patrick Kehoe. What to say except that it was a fantastic night, and I was really touched to have so many good friends come by to say hello and pick up a copy of the book.
It’s out there in the world now, so I’m excited about the notion of it reaching a wider audience. If you’d like to hear more about the process that went into putting it together, you can have a listen to my interview on Arena from last week:
I’ll also be reading at the Irish Writers Centre for National Poetry Day this Thursday evening 2nd October, along with Deirdre Cartmill, Alan Jude Moore, Maria McManus, Gerard Smyth, and Michael O’Loughlin. I’ll have a few copies of the book with me if anyone would like to pick one up; otherwise it’s available in bookshops and from Dedalus Press at the below link:
Here are some nice things that have been said about Liffey Swim:
“Her finely lyrical work is informed by wide travel, a meditative intelligence and an acute sense of history, in which Dublin and its three rivers become a living metaphor for the truths and felicities of one woman’s life.” —Harry Clifton
If anyone would like to review a copy of the book, please drop me a line.
Here’s a link to my reading on Arena on New Year’s Eve with Dave Lordan, Nuala Ni Chonchuir, Dave Rudden, Rob Doyle, Paul Timoney, Kathy D’Arcy and Temper Mental MissElayneous – most of us reading our writing from the New Planet Cabaret Anthology. There may have been more readers but I was too busy concentrating on not sneezing/ falling over/ accidentally swallowing the microphone to notice (all common first-time-on-radio anxieties apparently). I’m on in the last five minutes but why not listen to the whole thing to hear some exciting new voices from the Irish writing scene.
And afterwards, why not buy the book? It’s available from New Island Press and all proceeds go to the Writers in Schools scheme. Available here: