Category Archives: Portfolio

Review of A City Burning – Nation Cymru

Jane Fraser

The acclaimed Irish short story writer, Claire Keegan, has stated that, ‘the short story begins after what happens, happens.’ After the drama has passed is the territory the writer has to work within: a time, a place, and a context of emotional consequences where, after the water has been stirred up and settled, what was before, is not now.

The making of a short story into a beautiful art form is therefore a delicate and challenging craft.  And Belfast-born Angela Graham has risen to that challenge, exhibiting in her debut collection, A City Burning, twenty-six stories which allow the reader to feel the emotional intensity of a range of characters as they stand at pivotal moments in their lives in the aftermath of personal tragedy. Continue reading Review of A City Burning – Nation Cymru

Time To Write Around The Coast of Ireland

Maria Isakova Bennett celebrates Poetry Day Ireland 2020 by the creation of a collaborative poem made up of lines she has selected from poems specially written on that day with the sea as a theme. I chose to write about Broughanlea Townland where I live near Ballycastle.

Her beautiful stitching work enhances the presentation of the lines as they create, together, a harmony of sea sounds.

Collaborative Litany – Time To Write Around The Coast of Ireland 2020

The opening section

My poem, FULL CIRCLE, BROUGHANLEA TOWNLAND, COUNTY ANTRIM is part of the work I am doing on Place and Displacement for which I recieved a SIAP Award from the arts Council of Northern Ireland in 2019.

Maria hopes to arrange a reading involving all 34 contributing poets around the coast of Ireland when circumstances allow.

This lovely project brings together poetry and embroidery, two things I’m very keen on. I have plans for a stitched seascape!

Reactions to ‘A City Burning’

A city burns in a crisis − because the status quo has collapsed and change must come. Every value, relationship and belief is shaken and the future is uncertain.

A CITY BURNING  Order here

A Book of the Year 2020 on Nation Cymru and The Lonely Crowd.

Books of the Year 2020: Part One

“This is an exemplary collection illustrating the creative possibilities of the short fiction form… All the stories allowed me to feel the emotional intensity of a range of characters as they stand at pivotal moments in their lives in the aftermath of personal tragedy. This is due, I believe, to the innate understanding that Graham has for the ‘stuff’ of the short story: suggestion rather than statement; rising tension rather than high drama; the power of the unsaid; and the realisation that endings are not neat and tidy and tied up!” Jane Fraser (The Lonely Crowd)

“a kind of clarity of languag… that rings off the page…  a voice that feels completely new and fresh… Graham’s language has a searing quality yet also a humour about it that is genuinely hard to forget long after reading. Very highly recommended – I can’t wait to see what she does next.” Kate Hamer (The Lonely Crowd)

“Angela Graham’s debut collection A City Burning announced a confident, stylish new voice in short fiction.” Jon Gower (Nation Cymru) Continue reading Reactions to ‘A City Burning’

Silver Branch Poet for January 2021

I’m delighted to have some of my work featured as Black Bough Poetry’s Poet of the Month in the Silver Branch Series.

The series is curated by Matthew M.C. Smith, poet, and editor of Black Bough Poetry, a project which promotes imagist micro-poetry.

Silver Branch showcases the work of a poet whose poems have appeared in a Black Bough Poetry publication. In my case:

Moon, Landing – Black Bough – Issue 2 (Apollo 11 edition)

Thaw & Quite All Right, Thank YouDeep Time (volume2)

Freedom  in the imminent Freedom / Rapture issue

Alongside these are 5 other poems. Plus a pair of poems – Triptych and Three Stones – inspired by images: respectively, a painting by Matthias Grünewald and three photographs by the writer and photographer, Phil Cope.

The photograph that heads this post is Winter Branch © Phil Cope. The magical Silver Branch of Celtic story ensures entry to the Otherworld. It’s something both natural and wrought, like a poem.

 

A Book of the Year – A City Burning

I’m delighted that two authors in The Lonely Crowd’s Books of the Year feature Part One chose ‘A City Burning’ as a highlight of 2020 – Jane Fraser and Kate Hamer

and that Jon Gower selected it too in his Books of the Year for Nation Cymru.

Books of the Year 2020: Part One

NATION CYMRU

Wales’ Books of the Year, 2020 – what have our contributors been reading?

Writing Today in Ulster Scots

My blog for The Irish Literary Society: irishlitsoc.org

Why is it so hard to find writing in Ulster Scots among contemporary publications? Has it gone for good or is it poised to make a come-back?

Up to the mid-twentieth century it was commonplace to find Ulster Scots poetry and prose in literary magazines or in newspapers but now it is exceptional. Although there is a body of Ulster Scots work appearing in specialist sources this work often deals with the past. In contemporary creative writing, Ulster Scots is all but invisible. A language without a lively, multi-genre, modern literary and cultural presence is one that is struggling. The degree to which Ulster Scots achieves such a presence is a litmus test of feasibility and relevance, even of its existence as a spoken medium.

In the last census in 2011, there was, for the first time, a question about capacity in Ulster Scots. Based on the census returns, the Ulster-Scots Agency states “there are approximately 140,000 people who have indicated some ability in Ulster-Scots.” However, the number claiming a capacity to speak, read, write and understand Ulster Scots is only 0.9 per cent of the population of Northern Ireland. The spoken language is under pressure and the gap between the spoken and the written word has been allowed to widen.

Ulster Scots is the speech that developed (or whose development intensified) as a result of the in-migrations of Lowland Scots to Ulster from the early seventeenth century…

Read the full piece here: https://irishlitsoc.org/writing-today-in-ulster-scots/

About: The Irish Literary Society

The Irish Literary Society was established in London in 1892, succeeding the Southwark Irish Literary Club. Among its founders were W. B. Yeats, T. W. Rolleston, Francis Fahy and Douglas Hyde and other leaders of the Irish literary revival. The Society was formally founded with Sir Charles Gavan Duffy as President, at the Caledonian Hotel, The Strand, 12 May 1892. Evelyn Gleeson was its first secretary.

Stopford Brooke gave the inaugural lecture to the society on “The Need and Use of Getting Irish Literature into the English Tongue” (Bloomsbury House, 11 March 1893 – its delivery delayed to allow for the start of the National Literary Society in Ireland). Although the business of the ILS has always been conducted in English the Society was influential in nurturing the revival of the Irish language by programming language classes even before the Gaelic League was formed in 1893. 

Next event 8 December, 7pm

7th Annual Yeats Lecture – 8 December 2020