Poetry Ireland Introductions 2014 Redux: Angela T. Carr

The Poetry Ireland Introductions Series – a showcase for emerging poets working towards a first collection and with a track record of publication in journals and magazines – is open for submissions until 31 Jan.

Introductions mentors new writing talent in Ireland, providing the opportunity to workshop poetry with an established, published poet and perform work to a live audience at a showcase, hosted by Poetry Ireland; the showcase is recorded and published on the Poetry Ireland web-site.

As an alumni of last year’s series, 2014 was pretty busy for me on the writing front, and I’ve been asking my fellow emerging poets to share their experience of taking part in the Introductions series. I thought I’d round up today with my own feedback: what it was like to take part in Poetry Ireland Introductions, how I benefited and where I am now with my writing.

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Poetry Ireland Introductions 2014 Redux: Stephen Heffernan / Stiofán Ó hIfearnáin

The Poetry Ireland Introductions Series – a showcase for emerging poets working towards a first collection and with a track record of publication in journals and magazines – is open for submissions until 31 Jan.

Introductions mentors new writing talent in Ireland, providing the opportunity to workshop poetry with an established, published poet and perform work to a live audience at a showcase, hosted by Poetry Ireland; the showcase is recorded and published on the Poetry Ireland web-site.

As an alumni of last year’s series, 2014 was pretty busy for me on the writing front, and I thought it would be fun to catch up with my fellow emerging writers to see what they’ve been up to.

To encourage those of you who might be thinking of applying this year, I asked them to share what it was like to take part in Poetry Ireland Introductions, how they benefited and where they are now with their writing.

Stephen Heffernan / Stiofán Ó hIfearnáin

[Note: Stephen is an Irish language poet]

“There can be little doubt that taking part in the Poetry Ireland Introductions series was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life so far. To be perfectly honest, I submitted my portfolio of work as a means of testing the waters rather than having any great ambition fulfilled and the positive response was a surprise to say the least! As someone who never did much in the line of creative writing classes or the like, and who had only ever shown my work to a small circle of friends, before submitting poems, it was an exciting experience to exchange criticism and praise with the other selected poets on the work they brought to the workshop.

Since taking part in the programme, myself and Breda Wall Ryan have dabbled a bit in the translation of one of my poem sequences, with a view to publishing both versions in the Poetry Ireland Review but, apart from that, I’ve been going through something of a dry patch. [Stephen is currently a visiting student at the University of Potsdam, Germany, as part of his degree studies in History & German Literature – A.] I admit to being somewhat envious to see many of my fellow poets announce the publication of their first collection, as I’m still considerably distant from the particular milestone, but suppose I have youth on my side, if nothing else.”

To his own great surprise some people have decided that Stiofán Ó hIfearnáin should be called a poet: his words have graced the pages of Comhar, The Stinging Fly and Cabhsair/Causeway and in 2014, he was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions series. Although he is presently in exile in the former East Germany, he is usually to be found somewhere in the shadows of the Knockmealdowns.

Poetry Ireland Introductions 2014 Redux: Erin Fornoff

Erin Fornoff - Spoken Word Poet. Photo by Arek Wnuk

The Poetry Ireland Introductions Series – a showcase for emerging poets working towards a first collection and with a track record of publication in journals and magazines – is open for submissions until 31 Jan.

Introductions mentors new writing talent in Ireland, providing the opportunity to workshop poetry with an established, published poet and perform work to a live audience at a showcase, hosted by Poetry Ireland; the showcase is recorded and published on the Poetry Ireland web-site.

As an alumni of last year’s series, 2014 was pretty busy for me on the writing front, and I thought it would be fun to catch up with my fellow emerging writers to see what they’ve been up to.

To encourage those of you who might be thinking of applying this year, I asked them to share what it was like to take part in Poetry Ireland Introductions, how they benefited and where they are now with their writing.

Erin Fornoff

Poetry Ireland Introductions was a big confidence booster for me. Focusing so much on spoken word, I sometimes get a bit insecure about “traditional” poetry and it really helped me feel as though I fit in there a bit more. It’s entry into a community. It’s amazing what a community feel it creates, even with such a short time together. The workshop and support, and promotion thereafter, was a great thing. There is a camraderie among the writers which is quite lovely–like a football team of poets there to root for one another. And Poetry Ireland has been immensely supportive.

This year writing was sacrificed on the altar of organising and performing. I helped found (together with a great poetic committee) Lingo, Ireland’s first ever spoken word festival, which sold out, featured over 100 performers including Paula Meehan, Mary Coughlan, and Polarbear, and received 45 media hits including features in the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Metro Herald, Journal.ie, RTE Arena, Newstalk, and RTE The Works. I finished an M.Phil in Creative Writing from Trinity College, focusing on a novel, and received Distinction. Other than that, I had a poem published in The Stinging Fly and a couple other places and performed at Edinburgh Fringe, Electric Picnic, Indiependence, Mountains to Sea, Culture Night, Bram Stoker Festival, NYF Dublin, and other events. In 2015, I’ll be reading at O’Bheal in Cork, Over the Edge in Galway, and opening for Hollie McNish‘s Irish tour in three cities in May. Then I’m taking a few months off to write my book!”

Our Nation’s Sons from Joe Caslin on Vimeo.

Erin recently collaborated with artist, Joe Caslin on the poetry film ‘Our Nation’s Son’.
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A native of the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina, Erin Fornoff has performed poetry at Glastonbury, Electric Picnic and many other festivals and events. Called ‘deliciously exotic’ (Irish Independent), and ‘one of the top performance poets in Ireland’ (Electric Picnic), in 2013, she was featured poet at Farmleigh House’s ‘New Voices’, alongside Hollie McNish and Hozier. Her work is published in the Stinging Fly, Cyphers, New Planet Cabaret and Burning Bush II, among others. She won First Prize for Poetry in The Cellar Door, Third Prize in the Strokestown International Poetry Award, and won the 2013 StAnza Digital Slam. She is Artistic Director for Lingo, Ireland’s first spoken word festival. Follow Erin on Twitter @jarsofshine.
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Photo by Arek Wnuk.

Poetry Ireland Introductions 2014 Redux: Breda Wall Ryan

The Poetry Ireland Introductions Series – a showcase for emerging poets working towards a first collection and with a track record of publication in journals and magazines – is open for submissions.

Introductions mentors new writing talent in Ireland, providing the opportunity to workshop poetry with an established, published poet and perform work to a live audience at a showcase, hosted by Poetry Ireland; the showcase is recorded and published on the Poetry Ireland web-site.

As an alumni of last year’s series, 2014 was pretty busy for me on the writing front, and I thought it would be fun to catch up with my fellow emerging writers to see what they’ve been up to.

To encourage those of you who might be thinking of applying this year, I asked them to share what it was like to take part in Poetry Ireland Introductions, how they benefited and where they are now with their writing.

Breda Wall Ryan

“For me, the confidence I gained from being selected for Poetry Ireland Introductions, from participating in Alan Jude Moore’s and Theo Dorgan’s workshops, and from the support of my Introductions colleagues, has given my poetry a new impetus and energy. The poem I submitted to Alan Jude Moore’s workshop has since won the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize 2015 [Breda will be reading her winning poem at the Cork Spring Poetry Festival, on 14 February – A].  I gained particular benefit from Theo’s workshop on reading in public. His guidance was invaluable when I read at anthology and journal launches, and when, as part of a bespoke marriage ceremony, I read my specially commissioned poem to an audience of 85 guests. Thanks, Theo!

Introductions made me realize that the process of making the poem is what being a poet is about; I love that process. However, once the poem is finished, it deserves to be sent into the world to find its readership or audience. Eleven of my poems were published in 2014 and I’ve had poems commended, shortlisted or placed in several competitions, including the Bridport Prize, the Gregory O’Donoghue, Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition, Fish and the Patrick Kavanagh Award. My purpose in entering contests has been to get exposure for my work. The exposure online, in print and especially in the P.I. Introductions video earned me endorsements from competition judges and established poets, all of which helped to get my work noticed by a publisher. The past few months have been taken up with putting together my first collection, In a Hare’s Eye with Doire Press, which will be published in March 2015.

 Poetry Ireland Introductions made me more adventurous with my poetry. Apart from writing the commissioned occasional poem, I’ve translated two poems by our Introductions colleague Stiofán Ó hIfearnáin from Irish to English. It was a really absorbing process, writing a version that preserved the rhythm, rhyme, tone and structure of the original. I’d like to do more translations, possibly from languages I don’t know; but I’d need a very comprehensive crib.

Through meeting my peers on Introductions, my mind has been opened to spoken word, film poems, the links between poetry and art, environmental poetry, abstract poetry and philosophical poetry, all of which I’m exploring by degrees. But the most important thing is to keep on writing. And rewriting. And rewriting again. Process is all!

Congratulations to all my colleagues in P.I. Introductions 2014 on their recent successes; on their work on behalf of poetry and on their excellent and unique poems.”

Breda Wall Ryan grew up in rural Co. Waterford and lives in Co. Wicklow. She has an M. Phil in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. Her poetry has been widely published, in Skylight 47, Deep Water Literary Journal, Fish Anthology, The Pickled Body and The Rialto, and has won several prizes, including the UCD Anthology Poetry Competition, Poets Meet Painters, Dromineer Poetry Competition, Over the Edge New Writer of the Year, and most recently, the Gregory O’Donoghue Poetry Competition 2015. Her debut poetry collection, In a Hare’s Eye, is due from Doire Press, in March 2015. You can find Breda on Facebook at Breda Wall Ryan – Writer.

The Poetry Ireland Introductions series is open for submissions until 31 Jan.

Poetry Ireland Introductions 2014 Redux: Larry Stapleton

The Poetry Ireland Introductions Series – a showcase for emerging poets working towards a first collection and with a track record of publication in journals and magazines – is open for submissions.

Introductions mentors new writing talent in Ireland, providing the opportunity to workshop poetry with an established, published poet and perform work to a live audience at a showcase, hosted by Poetry Ireland; the showcase is recorded and published on the Poetry Ireland web-site.

As an alumni of last year’s series, 2014 was pretty busy for me on the writing front, and I thought it would be fun to catch up with my fellow emerging writers to see what they’ve been up to.

To encourage those of you who might be thinking of applying this year, I asked them to share what it was like to take part in Poetry Ireland Introductions, how they benefited and where they are now with their writing.

Larry Stapleton

“Although I have always written some poetry, I regard myself very much as a late developer in this respect, and my first poem published was in 2012. I worked for many years in environmental protection and my writing mainly involved presenting the results of environmental research and monitoring. Much of my research related to protecting the environment of Ireland’s bays, estuaries and coastal waters, in which I have an abiding interest, now often reflected in my poetry. I served as editor of the Environmental Protection Agency‘s first two reports on the State of the Environment and, later, as a Director of the Agency.

My getting to the point of being among those selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series 2014 is due in no small measure to my availing of what the Irish Writers’ Centre has to offer. In moving from writing mainly technical and scientific texts to writing mainly poetry, I have had the benefit of several poetry workshops and courses. My first published poem, in Poetry Ireland Reviewwas submitted at the suggestion of Catherine Phil McCarthy, after I brought it along to her workshop at the IWC.

I find the coast of County Wexford, where I live, to be particularly inspiring, and it is the setting for several poems, although some are set on the coasts of Counties Sligo and Kerry, and some even away from the coast! The actual themes of the poems can vary. Most of my recent writing has gone back again to the first few months following the death of my wife, Jennifer, in 2011. She encouraged my poetry, and I greatly valued her opinion and her ability to spot what I would often miss.

Participating in the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series 2014 was indeed a rewarding experience. Being among those receiving this recognition from Poetry Ireland, participating in the events, including the workshops led by Alan Jude Moore and Theo Dorgan, and engaging with this lively group of emerging poets, all provided memories that I will cherish.

Subsequently, I have had poems published, in The Stony Thursday Book and Cypers 78participated in several readings: at the launch of the former, during the Cuisle International Poetry Festival, in Limerick, at Soundings for Simon, in Dublin, organised by Daragh Bradish; and at the Fusion Cafe, in Wexford, where, on the first Friday of each month, Denis Collins is the regular MC, and visitors are always welcome. I have continued to work with my poetry group, established some years ago, after a Peter Sirr workshop at the IWC.

Larry Stapleton was born in Sligo and lives in Wexford. Prior to his being selected for Poetry Ireland Introductions Series, his poetry was published in a number of anthologies and journals – Poetry Ireland Review, Science Meets Poetry 3, About Place Journal (US), The Stinging Fly, THE SHOp and The Scaldy Detail.

The Poetry Ireland Introductions series is open for submissions until 31 Jan.

Poetry Ireland Introductions 2014 Redux: Rachel Coventry

The Poetry Ireland Introductions Series – a showcase for emerging poets working towards a first collection and with a track record of publication in journals and magazines – is open for submissions.

Introductions mentors new writing talent in Ireland, providing the opportunity to workshop poetry with an established, published poet and perform work to a live audience at a showcase, hosted by Poetry Ireland; the showcase is recorded and published on the Poetry Ireland web-site.

As an alumni of last year’s series, 2014 was pretty busy for me on the writing front, and I thought it would be fun to catch up with my fellow emerging writers to see what they’ve been up to.

To encourage those of you who might be thinking of applying this year, I asked them to share what it was like to take part in Poetry Ireland Introductions, how they benefited and where they are now with their writing.

Rachel Coventry

“I couldn’t believe it when I got the message to say I had been selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. I am a relatively new poet and, while I had been published in a few magazines, I still felt like a beginner. I won’t lie, the prospect of travelling up to Dublin for the workshops, and then the reading, was a little daunting, but the other poets were kind and warm and the whole experience was a rewarding one. Everyone at Poetry Ireland was great, especially Ayoma Bowe, who kept the whole thing running like clockwork. The workshops were helpful, both Alan Jude Moore and Theo Dorgan were very generous. In particular Theo’s advice on performing poetry has really stayed with me. The reading was scary but we had an opportunity to rehearse and this really helped.

There are two positive legacies of my Poetry Ireland Introductions experience. I now take my poetry more seriously. I wasn’t really thinking about a collection before this but I am now in the process of putting one together. I was short-listed for the Cork Literary Review Poetry Manuscript Competition in December. My confidence grew and I started to see that I have to stand by my work, especially in public readings. If I’m unsure about my work how can I expect anyone else to take it seriously? In short, the Introduction’s series marked the point where I began to believe in my poetry in a new way. (We were also paid which, I guess, makes us professionals!).

The other big benefit was getting to know the other selected poets and becoming the ‘class of 2014.’ I’ve also heard previous Introductions graduates talk about this. It’s great to hook up with a group of emerging poets, share experiences, and then follow their careers. It’s encouraging to see my fellow alumni publish collections, organize festivals and show up on short-lists and in journals. I bump into them at events and festivals, I even travelled to Dublin for Angela’s launch in November and it’s always great to see them.

Poetry can be a solitary business, the Introductions Series provides you with a few allies.”

Rachel Coventry lives in Galway. Her poetry has appeared in various journals including The SHop, Crannog, Cyphers, Boyne Berries, Poetry Bus and Poetic Diversity. She was selected for the 2014 Poetry Ireland Introductions Series and was short-listed for the Cork Literary Review Poetry Manuscript Competition in 2014. She is currently writing a Ph.D thesis on Heidegger’s poetics. On Twitter at @RachelCoventry

The Poetry Ireland Introductions series is open for submissions until 31 Jan.

Poetry Ireland Introductions 2014 Redux: Colm Scully

The Poetry Ireland Introductions Series – a showcase for emerging poets working towards a first collection and with a track record of publication in journals and magazines – is open for submissions.

Introductions mentors new writing talent in Ireland, providing the opportunity to workshop poetry with an established, published poet and perform work to a live audience at a showcase, hosted by Poetry Ireland; the showcase is recorded and published on the Poetry Ireland web-site.

As an alumni of last year’s series, 2014 was pretty busy on the writing front, and I thought it would be fun to catch up with my fellow emerging writers to see what they’ve been up to.

To encourage those of you who might be thinking of applying this year, I asked them to share what it was like to take part in Poetry Ireland Introductions, how they benefited and where they are now with their writing.

Colm Scully

“This year was a year of firsts  for me; I won my first competition – the Cuirt New Writer’s Prize – was selected for PI Introductions, read as a guest at my first festival – the O’Bheal Winter Warmer, in Cork – and published my first poetry collection, ‘What News, Centurions?’, with New Binary Press.

In a practical way PI Introductions undoubtedly helped me to get a publisher, and that in turn helped me to get invited as a guest reader. Put simply, the introductory series looks great on your CV.  I  made very few submissions to magazines this year, because preparing the book tends to take up all your spare time. In the hiatus just after summer, and before publication I did manage to write a quite a bit, and am only looking back over it now. As ever, none of it seems quite as good as it did at the time.

Like Angela, I collaborated on another poetry film last year, ‘Crow’, with my friend Conor McManus, which was short-listed for the Indiecork Film Festival. Conor and I are currently working hard on a performance piece, including a poetry film, commemorating the 1916 anniversary.  I love the idea of poetry film, and the synthesis of the visual and the poetic, here echoing Kevin’s sentiments.

I really enjoyed  reading the review of Kevin’s year. He eloquently expressed what inspired him in his  journey and it clearly came through how much he was enjoying what he was doing. The many successes almost seemed ancillary to the process of the work itself.  It  is inspiring me to try and move away from the self promotion, submissions and social media carousel and to try to focus more on my poetry. One can really get caught up in the whirl of  twittering and trying to get stuff published and its easy to lose sight of the the important thing, which must be trying to write  better poems.

Above all, Poetry Ireland Introductions series  increased my confidence. Never let anyone tell you that your voice is not valid, is my current dictum. Ayoma and the gang really made us feel at home as we entered into the intimidating offices of Poetry Ireland on Kildare street.  Of course, one of the great benefits has to be meeting up with the group and learning so much from people’s work and opinions.  May this years group be as lucky with those who are selected.

Colm Scully is from Douglas in Cork. He has poems published in Burning Bush 2, Abridged, Cyphers, Wordlegs, Poetry Bus and The Stony Thursday Book. He has read as a guest in Cork and Limerick, and in Coventry in 2011 as part of the Twin City Cultural Exchange. Colm won the Cúirt New Writing Poetry Prize 2014, one of his poems was commended in the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize 2014, and he was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductory Series 2014. . He likes to make poetry films and is collaborating on his second one. He is a Chemical Engineer, as well as a poet and his debut collection, What’s New Centrurions? is published by New Binary Press. On Twitter at @ColmScully1.

The Poetry Ireland Introductions series is open for submissions until 31 Jan.

Poetry Ireland Introductions 2014 Redux: Kevin Conroy

The Poetry Ireland Introductions Series – a showcase for emerging poets working towards a first collection and with a track record of publication in journals and magazines – is open for submissions.

Introductions mentors new writing talent in Ireland, providing the opportunity to workshop poetry with an established, published poet and perform work to a live audience at a showcase, hosted by Poetry Ireland; the showcase is recorded and published on the Poetry Ireland web-site.

As an alumni of last year’s series, 2014 was pretty busy on the writing front, and I thought it would be fun to catch up with my fellow emerging writers to see what they’ve been up to.

To encourage those of you who might be thinking of applying this year, I asked them to share what it was like to take part in Poetry Ireland Introductions, how they benefited and where they are now with their writing.

Kevin Conroy

“No doubt for me, Poetry Ireland’s Introductions initiative has triggered new energy and exploration. I’ve been short-listed in the Cork Literary Review Poetry Manuscript Competition and long-listed for a pamphlet competition, for the first time in 2014. They rubber-stamped ‘emerging poet’ belief into my psyche. I had poems published in Ireland during the year, several rejections, and my first poem published in a U.K. magazine. But mostly, P.I. Introductions marked a change in my poetics, with a personally exciting search where apophatic and ekphrastic are key words. And now a hiatus as I absorb this new world view.

World class iconographer, Helen McIldowie-Jenkins, published ‘The Gilded Arch’ – my 14 stanza poem of her Wymondham Abbey, Norfolk icons, painted in the 14th C Italian painting techniques and style – probably a first for both poetry and iconography!

I love painting and poetry – my Christmas cards this year had a painting and poem of mine for the first time. Sent to people who like slow food, slow reading and seeing. So whatever spare time I have is divided between sketching, improving my oil portrait technique and speaking to my Muses. Truth is, I prefer my quiet room and the page to public performing. Plutarch said it -“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” This year I’m aiming to write poems that complement my painting. So, maybe the competition submissions will have to wait.

All the poets I really like, love music too. I’ve realised the source of good and great poetry is not necessarily words but vocal sound and visible marks. In November, I heard the strange eerie sounds of síle-na-gig voiced by Kimberly Campanello in the James Joyce Centre, the acoustics intensifying the effect. It was like she was communicating without words across time into an Irish past of the lost and disallowed, bypassing controlling powers with poetry that bridges to music. I’ve since read “The HD Book” and see more of the “permissions of poetry”. Campanello and Aosdána composer Ben Dwyers launch of their limited ed. book in May, is a red letter date for me.

No doubt, poetry, art and music are one intermingling enrichment in my life that P.I. have triggered anew! Maybe I’ll finish the lovely Erin Fornoff sketch this year.”

Kevin Conroy, born in Dublin and living in Kildare, has worked in U.K., Germany, Swaziland, South Africa, U.S. and Ireland as a teacher, professional engineer, manager in multinationals, executive coach and organisational psychologist.  His work has been published in The Moth, Southword, Burning Bush II, Writing4All – the best of 2010, Boyne Berries, The Blue Max Review and erbacce. Selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series in 2014, he was a prize-winner in Trocaire & Poetry Ireland Competition 2012, published  in  their  pamphlet ‘Imagining a Just and Free World’. On Twitter at @KevinKConroy

The Poetry Ireland Introductions series is open for submissions until 31 Jan.