Introduction to Poetry at Irish Writers Centre June 2017

Irish Writers Centre - Dublin, Ireland

My next Introduction to Poetry six week course begins on the 8th June. I’m really looking forward to meeting a new group of aspiring poets – the creativity and positive nature of group work always energises me as a writer.

More info on the course content here:

Starts: Thur 8 June 2017
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Duration: 6 weeks
Cost: €165/€150 Members

This six-week course is ideal for beginner writers, or those who are new to poetry. We will explore different approaches to writing poetry, with the aim of building up a body of work. Participants will discuss image, metaphor, rhythm, sound, the shape of the poem on the page, and then be challenged to respond to a series of fun and inspiring exercises. Favourite poems will be shared as forms of inspiration. There will also be workshop elements for those who would like to share their work with the group. 

Jessica Traynor is a poet and creative writing teacher from Dublin. She is the Museum Curator at Epic, the Irish Emigration Museum. Her first collection, Liffey Swim, was published by Dedalus Press and shortlisted for the 2015 Shine/Strong First Collection Award.

Interested? You can sign up here.

New Year New Writing

I’m finishing up full time work at the Abbey Theatre at the end of this year to return to freelance work. After two exciting but hectic years as Literary Manager, I’m looking forward to dedicating more time to writing and teaching.

I’ve a few courses lined up for Spring 2017, covering playwriting, poetry, and spoken word at Big Smoke Writing Factory and the Irish Writers Centre. Take a look – maybe one of these might be a nice Christmas present idea for a friend who needs a creative boost?

Write the Play – Fundamentals at Big Smoke Writing Factory

Start Date Duration Time Slot Fee
Thursday January 26th 8 weeks 6.30pm-8.30pm € 200
Ever wanted to write a play, but didn’t know where to begin?
This course is suitable for those looking for an all round introduction to the craft of playwriting, or those with a play-in-progress looking for a creative boost. We’ll cover the basics of playwriting under the headings of plot, characterisation, structure, dialogue, theatricality and style and redrafting. Each participant will also be encouraged to write and workshop a number of scenes.
Jessica Traynor is a dramaturg and poet who has worked as Literary Manager with the Abbey Theatre, reading and responding to hundreds of plays and developing new work for the Abbey and Peacock stages with some of Ireland’s top playwrights.

Starts: Mon 6 Feb 2017
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm 
Duration: 6 Weeks
Cost: €165/€150 Members

Award-winning poets Adam Wyeth and Jessica Traynor are offering a space for your poems to be workshopped and critiqued in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere. Each participant will have the opportunity to read their own pieces to the group. They will then have a chance to listen to feedback from their audience, with Adam and Jessica giving a final summary of detailed analysis, constructive feedback and suggestions for further improvement.

Jessica Traynor’s debut poetry collection, Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press, 2014), was nominated for the 2015 Strong/Shine Award. Adam Wyeth is a published poet and playwright and works as editor for Fish Publishing.

 

The Art of the Spoken Word with Emmet Kirwan and Jessica Traynor

Starts: Wed 8 March 2017
Time: 6.30pm – 8.30pm
Duration: 6 Weeks
Cost: €165/€150 Members

As an art form and mode of communication, spoken word is enjoying tremendous popularity and is a powerful and playful way to communicate on themes of social importance. Spoken word embraces word-play, intonation and voice inflection with strong links to rap, hip-hop, theatre, jazz and blues. While the words are important, how they are delivered is equally so. This new course takes a two-pronged approach, as actor, writer and star of RIOT, Emmet Kirwan focuses on the art of performance, the truth, delivery and connection to the audience, while award-winning poet Jessica Traynor will guide participants through the technicalities of the form.

Jessica Traynor is a poet and creative writing teacher from Dublin. She is Literary Manager of the Abbey Theatre. Her first collection, Liffey Swim, was published by Dedalus Press and  shortlisted for the Shine/Strong First Collection Award. www.jessicatraynor.wordpress.com

Emmet Kirwan is an award winning actor, playwright, poet and voiceover artist from Tallaght in Dublin. He has worked extensively on Irish television and Film appearing in many films as well as leading roles in home grown Irish series from the Big Bow Wow and Legend for RTE and Jack Taylor for TV3.

A Demonstration

‘A Demonstration’, my poem for Dr Kathleen Lynn, is featured in today’s Irish Times, along with the video beautifully shot by Padraig Burke and co at the Irish Writer’s Centre. Really excited that this piece will reach a wide audience. You can watch the video and read the poem here.

The whole documentary on a Poet’s Rising, including poems by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Eilean Ni Chilleanain, Paul Muldoon, Theo Dorgan and Thomas McCarthy and with music by the gifted Colm Mac An Iomaire can be watched on the RTE Player here.

 

A Poet’s Rising

I was really delighted to be commissioned as part of ‘A Poet’s Rising’, one of the Ireland 2016 projects. The Irish Writer’s Centre commissioned myself, Theo Dorgan, Thomas McCarthy, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Paul Muldoon to write poems in response to the experiences of the leaders of 1916, set at various locations around the city. I write mine about Dr Kathleen Lynn in City Hall. We launched our poems on the 31st March at the Irish Writer’s Centre, and the accompanying documentary (featuring all the poems with beautiful accompaniment from Colm Mac Con Iomaire) will be broadcast on RTE on the 19th April.

Here’s a picture of me reading on the night:

And here’s a great blog post from Catherine Dunne about the event itself:

A Poet’s Rising live event April 05 2016

at the Irish Writers Centre, 31 March 2016 

Catherine Dunne 

 

A Poet's Rising

‘When I think of all the false beginnings…

The man was a pair of hands,

the woman another pair, to be had more cheaply,

the wind blew, the children were thirsty – ’

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s poem ‘For James Connolly’ was the first to be recited to a spellbound audience at the Irish Writers Centre in Parnell Square, Dublin, last Thursday night.

I found these opening lines deeply moving – they brought me right back to when I was ten or eleven and read my first adult biography. It was a portrait of James Connolly, one that concentrated on the family man, the deeply compassionate human being whose sense of fairness and decency was outraged by the appalling poverty in which the ‘common man’ – and woman and child – were living.

I thought that Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s lines captured that sense perfectly – the sense of a man tired of waiting for ‘the voices to shout Enough’.

‘For James Connolly’ is one of six poems commissioned by the Irish Writers Centre and supported by the Arts Council as part of the national commemoration of 1916.

The six poets concerned are Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Paul Muldoon, Jessica Traynor, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Theo Dorgan and Thomas McCarthy.

Each poet focused on a key historical figure and a particular location associated with the Easter Rising. Paul Muldoon ‘ventriloquised’ Patrick Pearse. Jessica Traynor chose Dr Kathleen Lynn, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill the O Rathaille, and Theo Dorgan paid tribute to Elizabeth O’Farrell.

Thomas McCarthy inhabited the Garden of Remembrance, where he reflected upon ‘the two states we’re in/A state of mystical borders and broken spears/Left by a silent procession of things left unsaid.’

All of the poets were then filmed in their chosen locations and the film will soon be an app, freely available for download at the end of April.

Conor Kostick has written the historical links between each of the poems on the app, and the glimpses that the audience got of the final version were enticing.

As the poets are filmed reading their work, they are accompanied by the fiddle playing of the incomparable Colm Mac Con Iomaire. Colm composed a haunting score in response to the poets’ commissioned work. We, the audience on Thursday night, were privileged to be in attendance as he played ‘Solasta’ for us.

It was illuminating to focus on the humanitarian motivations shared by so many of those involved in Easter 1916.

In Jessica Traynor’s ‘A Demonstration’, she explores the work of Dr Kathleen Lynn:

‘Haunted by skulls

that boast through the thin skin of children

who ghost the alleyways, dying

young in silent demonstration,

 

I raise my own demonstration

against my limits as woman and doctor.’

And finally, among all the many riches of the evening, I took away with me the closing words of Thomas McCarthy from his beautiful ‘Garden of Remembrance’. Words of reconciliation, of understanding, of all the things we share in our common humanity:

‘we have a duty to make a firm nest –

Not an ill-advised pageant or a national barricade.

When the midday sun breaks through, my eyes rest

On harp and acorn, on trumpet and bronze hands,

On things a family without our history understands.’

This was a memorable evening on so many levels.

Congratulations to the Arts Council, to the Irish Writers Centre – particularly to Pádraig Burke, the Development Officer there – to Colm Mac Con Iomaire, to Conor Kostick and, of course, to all the poets involved.

I made my way home through the Dublin evening afterwards feeling uplifted, grateful, almost optimistic.

Thank you.

Catherine Dunne

www.catherinedunneauthor.com

 

 

Mindshift – From Page to Stage at the Irish Writers Centre

I’m delighted to be taking part in a professional development day for aspiring playwrights at the Irish Writers Centre this Saturday 4th October.

There’s a great line up and I’ll be kicking off the day with some tips on submitting your play to theatres. I’d highly recommend this Mindshift event for any aspiring playwrights or theatre makers, as it’s a great way to familiarise yourself with the industry and the people who work in it promoting and producing new writing. Here’s the full programme for the day:

Mindshift: From Page to Stage with Industry Professionals

Learn the dos and don’ts of preparing your play for submission from the Abbey Theatre’s Literary Reader, Jessica Traynor. Hear from Karl Shiels (Theatre Upstairs), Anthony Fox (The New Theatre), Sarah Ling (Project Arts Centre) and Kris Nelson (Dublin Fringe Festival) as they present on the opportunities available to emerging playwrights.

Literary Managers Aideen Howard (Abbey Theatre), Gavin Kostick (Fishamble) and Maureen White (Rough Magic) discuss the kind of work they’re interested in receiving and what makes a good play. Ireland’s leading playwrights Michael West and Deirdre Kinahan will share their experiences of getting produced. All sessions will be followed by Q&A from the audience.

I think some places are still available – booking here: http://writerscentre.ie/html/courses/Autumn2014/PageToStage.html

Liffey Swim Launch and Reading for National Poetry Day

Jessica Traynor, poet

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:

http://www.rte.ie/radio1/arena/programmes/2014/0924/647820-arena-wednesday-24-september-2014/

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:

http://www.dedaluspress.com/p/liffey_swim 

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.

Creative Clinics at the Irish Writers Centre

On Saturday 24th May, I’ll be running a series of one-hour consultancy sessions as part of the Irish Writer’s Centre’s new Creative Clinics initiative. These one-to-one sessions are aimed at aspiring playwrights and are ideal for anyone looking for advice on how to develop their work, where to send their play, and on what kinds of opportunities there are out there for playwrights. I’m hoping the participants will come away feeling inspired and re-energised!

There are some places still available. Please do spread the word to any interested parties! More info and booking here:

 

CREATIVE CLINICS  

Saturday 24th May + Sat 7th June

10.30am – 4.30pm
Duration: 1 Day

Cost: €85/€75 Members

We’re giving writers at all stages of their professional development the opportunity to book a one-hour slot with an experienced, published writer. You can use it to discuss any aspect of your work as a writer: to get a professional opinion on an idea or concept, to address a specific problem, to get an assessment of and feedback on a sample piece of text, or to seek industry advice.

Your chosen author will review a small sample of your work in advance (1,000 words) whether that be a synopsis, sample text, script treatment, or a summary of the issue to be addressed. The author may, if you wish, take further time during the hour to read more of your work before feeding back and offering advice. Consultations are strictly limited to one hour, but arrangements may be made for ongoing consultations.

The following writers will cover these chosen areas.

Celine Kiernan

Sci-fi / Fantasy

24th MAY

Sean O’Reilly

Fiction & Short Stories

24th MAY

Jessica Traynor

Theatre script

24th MAY

Lauren McKenzie

Film & TV script

24th MAY

Louise Phillips

Crime / Thriller (2 dates)

24th MAY & 7th JUN

Henry McDonald

Memoir

7th JUN

Oisín McGann

Children’s Writing

7th JUN

Conor Kostick

Rights & Contracts

7th JUN

 
     
 

There are three slots available with each writer, which are:

10.30AM – 11.30AM
11.45AM – 12.45PM
1.30PM – 2.30PM

 
     
 

For more information on these clinics and to book a slot, please call 01 8721302.