Yearly Archives: 2019

Finalist in PENfro Book Festival Poetry Competition

Judge Rhiannon Hooson has chosen Elizabeth Wilson Davies’s poem ‘Heartland’ as the winner of this year’s poetry competition. My poem, ‘After Iconoclasm: The Jesse Tree Window’ and 19 other poems will be published in the Festival Anthology  by Parthian Books.

Continue reading Finalist in PENfro Book Festival Poetry Competition

Shortlisted for Write By The Sea Competition

I’m delighted that my short story ‘The Bangle’ is on the shortlist for the Write By The Sea Festival Competition.

I had three stories shortlisted for this last year. I messed up the payment process and ended up with 3 entries. The administrator for the Festival was impressively patient with my ham-fistedness and when I saw that all three stories had made the shortlist I was initially convinced that it was because I had somehow made another mistake!

As I like the sea theme, and since the Festival seems to be such a properly human enterprise, making allowances for the likes of hames-makers such as mysef, I wrote one for this year’s round. Hence my especial delight at making the shortlist again.

I very much enjoyed writing the story.

The Festival programme looks really good, with writers such as Paula Meehan, Kit de Waal and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne.

Programme 2019

 

Poem on the Prorogation of Parliament

The Twenty-eighth of August 2019, the Prorogation of Parliament

 

That day when the wedding guests exploded;

That day when I let a wee girl ricochet

From and towards her mother’s spew of blame;

That day I didn’t shelter

A railway worker from a racist shower …

 

Some close at hand, some far.

Kabul or Coleraine station, the same acid rain.

 

Today in Coleraine station I was witness

To the airiness some architect enticed inside;

To a guard whose smile kept all our doors ajar;

And, in town, to cocktail bottles

Wittily displayed. Such light-filled things.

 

Some close at hand, some far.

Kabul or Coleraine station, the same inherent shine.

 

Today, when democracy exploded,

I was treadmilling for an email thrill

When I caught the acrid taste of tipping-point.

In the rank mulch of small misdeeds

The great ones grow. Wake up, wake up, my soul.

 

Some close at hand, some far.

Kabul, Coleraine, the Commons, I must reach those I can.

 

Poem in Black Bough #2

It was an inspiring theme from Matthew C. Smith, editor – the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing to be dealt with in no more than 10 lines in an imagistic style. I wrote Moon, Landing from the perspective of the moon coming to earth rather than humans going to the moon. See Broadside 5. Black Bough Poems

On the same theme I also wrote a poem in Ulster Scots which will be in #9 of The Bangor Literary Journal, launching August 18th and First Death of The Troubles, occurred 14th July 1969 about the context of the Moon Mission in Northern Ireland – this is on my website.

A Telling Week: 50 Years On

This is a week of momentous anniversaries, of the Moon Landing and also of a significant escalation of unrest in Northern Ireland, including two deaths in controversial circumstances.

The call-out for poetry for Issue 2 of Black Bough Poetry, for Imagist poems on the theme of the Apollo mission, prompted me to write three poems (one in Ulster Scots). One of these, ‘Moon, Landing’, is in the issue and another  is here below. I wanted to consider the context in which I experienced the Moon Landing, and anniversaries which make us reflect on progress and also how we deal with memories, and with events, resolved or unresolved. Continue reading A Telling Week: 50 Years On

Poetry: A Year’s Mentoring from Glen Wilson

I am so thrilled that the poet, Glen Wilson has chosen to mentor me for a year. The aim is to compile a collection.

Glen’s collection An Experience on the Tongue has just come out from Doire Press. He won the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing in 2017.

This amazingly generous initiative was sparked by Matthew C. Smith of Black Bough Poetry.

Words at the Seamus Heaney Home Place

I’m particularly pleased that it is a poet from Northern Ireland and a poet from Wales who have been instrumental in giving me this wonderful gift as I have a project on Writing in Wales and Northern Ireland with the Centre for the Study of Media and Culture in Small Nations at the University of South Wales.