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.


The Tiger’s Tail – A Film Poem

With self-promotion increasingly becoming the lot of writers and poets – and social media making it easier than ever to share information – I see many poets doing the spoken word thing, direct to camera, as means of bringing their work to new audiences.

I like the idea of my poems getting out and about but, being the shy, retiring type, I don’t necessarily want to put myself front and centre.

So I had a chat with photographer, Mike Bors, about a poem, The Tiger’s Tail, from my debut collection, and my idea for making a little ‘film’ to accompany it. I wanted to keep it simple, using a slideshow format, rather than live film. We talked about the kinds of images that would fit the mood of the poem – black and white, street photography, night in the city, weekend revellers – and Mike took to the city streets to capture Dublin at night.

The poem itself was written about the events of 30 September 2010, the day Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan, made an emergency broadcast announcing the bail-out of Allied Irish Banks, after the discovery of massive undisclosed debt. I was in Galway and as I walked back to my accommodation, after an evening out, the late-night streets bucked and reeled with gleeful debauchery: Nero, fiddling while Rome burned.

It’s my first attempt at this kind of project and I’m delighted with the result, especially Mike’s beautiful images.

I hope you enjoy it and, if you do, please share.

For more photography by Mike Bors, go to www.mikebors.com.