An online event on 7th July 6.30 – 8.30pm invites contributions of work by female artists whose work deserves greater recognition Le Ortique Open Mic
I am very much enjoying my encounter with the work of this passionate, uncompromising poet, Livia De Stefani.
Notturno n. 4
Non morirò. Vivo ancora. Ancora di te
del tuo profondo sonno fra le braccia dell’altra.
Ti odio. Nell’odio io incendio foreste
più fonde di quelle d’amore.
Al lume di fiamme vermiglie m’inoltro
nel fuoco vestita dei miei capelli.
Voluttà rinnovate, interminabili saziano
le affamate notti, alzano maree
fra le sponde dei giorni.
Non muoio. T’inseguo ti trovo ti schiaccio
e mi succhio il tuo sangue e lo sputo.
È amaro il tuo sangue, dà sete, dà sete.
Die – I will not. I live on still. Still on you
On your deep sleep in the arms of that other woman.
I loathe you. In loathing I set ablaze forests
deeper than those of love.
By the gleam of vermilion flames I give myself
to the fire wearing only my hair.
Endless voluptuous pleasures, tasted again, again, sate
the famished nights, flood tides
between the shores of the days.
Dying – I am not. You – I follow you find you crush you
Suck up your blood – spit it out.
Bitter, your blood – makes me thirst, thirst.
Mary Shannon is a member of Wilde Writers◊ creative writing group. She won The Heather Newcombe Poetry Award 2019 and was Runner Up in The Bangor Literary Journal Aspects Festival 2019. Poems published: Community Arts Partnership: 2018/19 and 2019/20; Lagan Navigation Trust: 2018 and 2019. In 1999 she produced and contributed to an anthology of children’s poetry to raise funds for the N.I. Children’s Hospice. She enjoys art and crafts and her painting ‘Flowers For a Lady’ hangs in the Cancer Centre, Belfast City Hospital. @MaryBShannon
Mairéad Breen A native of Co Armagh, Mairéad Breen settled in South Down several decades ago. She’s a peripatetic teacher of young people with special needs and on her daily work journeys is captivated by the golden displays of gorse that enhance and enliven the countryside for much of the year, a reminder of her childhood by Slieve Gullion where whins flourished and blazed on nearly every ditch, field and mountain slope. She began writing poetry relatively recently and writes short stories, flash fiction and memoir. Some of her writing has been published in anthologies and online.
◊Wilde Writers describe themselves as “a reincarnation of two creative writing groups of the wonderful Joan Carberry (tutor, poet, short story writer and all-round legend): the Whiterockers (West Belfast) and the Ballyhackers (East Belfast). These groups go back many years and formed a refuge for (among others) the recently retired. The groups merged when Joan retired and fell under the wide, embracing wing of poet Shelley Tracey and includes dreamy poets, forensic memoirists and short story and flash fiction fiends. Since the lockdown the current group has successfully moved into Google Classroom with the ever-patient Shelley.”
I’m delighted to have 2 poems in the new anthology: ‘North Star: short stories and poetry by female Northern Irish writers’ released on 4th June 2020.
With 45 contributors, the book’s six sections reflect the counties of Northern Ireland. It is currently number 1 in new and hot releases coming soon on Amazon within anthologies and number 5 in Women’s short stories out of 1,000 titles listed in that genre.
In the Tyrone section is my poem ‘Ballycastle Granny: her husband, Thomas Graham of Gortin’. This won Joint 3rd Prize in the Almost Dancing Poetry Competition and Heather Newcombe Award 2019 organised by Ballycastle Writers’ Group.
My grandfather lived in Gortin where he worked with his brother, John Graham in their saddlery business. John’s his wife, Letitia ran the Post Office.
My poem in the Antrim section is ‘The Scottish Referendum: A View from Carraig Uisneach’. This is set on Ballycastle Beach. It’s about the relationship between this north-eastern area of Ireland with Scotland.
This anthology is unique among collections by Northern Irish women in its dynamically wide embrace of writing talent.
Conceived and produced during lockdown, the North Star anthology comes from women’s writing collective, Women Aloud NI.
Chairwoman, Angeline King Kelly, whose idea it was, says: “The submission process for North Star was open to WANI’s 165 members, without selection. Every woman has a story to tell. Many of the most fascinating stories from Northern Ireland are locked within the minds of people who do not perceive themselves as storytellers or writers. I believe we have opened a door to those people, in addition to nurturing the talent of some of the most respected writers in the country.”
‘North Star’ is available to buy in hardback, paperback, and kindle edition on Amazon. The Collection is also available to buy in local bookshops such as No Alibis and The Secret Bookshelf.
My thanks once again to writer and folklorist, Róise Ní Bhaoill for these links. She tells me she finds gorse referred to in Irish more in songs than in poetry. The three examples here are an absolute treat.
This wonderful tune will set your heart racing.
Seán Ó Riada, “Cnocáin Aitinn Liatroma” – The Whinny Hills of Liatrom
My first blog on gorse ( see end of this post) gave rise to some lovely reactions. I went looking for more gorse-related poetry in Irish and Róise Ní Bhaoill, writer, editor and folklorist, gave me such a generous response that her material will supply more than one blog. I am very grateful indeed.
I had referenced the ancient Irish poem commonly known as ‘The Blackbird of Belfast Lough’ so Róise draws our attention to some thoughts from a talk of 2012 by the late Aodán Mac Póilin, formerly Director of the Ultach Trust where he and Róise were colleagues.
“I’d like to give you a taste of the culture of that thousand-year period. I’ll start with a tiny little 9th century poem set on the shores of Belfast Lough, which at that time was called Loch Lao.
I’ve been delighted to contribute the first of two blogs to the Creative COVID19 Blog Site of the Centre for the Study of Media and Culture in Small Nations at the University of South Wales.
This site pulls together research and information about a wide range of responses to the constrictions experienced in many fields of creativity: Theatre, Screen Industries, Public Service Broadcasting, Tourism and other areas.
And it hosts also the first Screen Industries Census for the Cardiff Capital region. I am a fan of counting things in the media sector because otherwise policy and practice develop in an ill-informed vaccuum.
I am unable to get to the place I undertook to write about for a prose and poetry work for which I have received a SIAP Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland this year. A book about the performance of culture in Wales has helped me get my head around how to keep my writing on track: Prof. Lisa Lewis’s ‘Performing Wales’.
Recently I had a poem about gorse on the Pendemic.ie site which describes itself as, ‘Not a literary magazine for ordinary times, but journaling the extraordinary.’ in these COVID-19 times. My poem describes the gorse that flowers copiously in Ireland in Spring.
Nedim Türfent is serving an eight-year-and-nine- month prison sentence on trumped-up terrorism charges following an unfair trial, during which scores of witnesses said they had been tortured into testifying against him. He spent almost two years in solitary confinement in harrowing detention conditions. Determined to keep writing, he started composing poetry while detained. (PEN International) Continue reading Poem for Nedim Türfent – PEN International on Poetry Day→
Once again the dynamic group of women writers, Women Aloud Northern Ireland have demonstrated their vitality and commitment by using the global lockdown to fuel a powerhouse of literary creativity.
The writers of WANI are publishing North Star –an Anthology of Literature by Northern Irish Women.
I’m delighted to have 2 poems in the book.
Not content with merely print, they are also staging an online literary festival, bringing their sparkling storytelling to audiences they would usually be entertaining through workshops, readings and other events, were it not for the worldwide restrictions on their movements.