10 September 2012

Cuisle Young Poet of the Year Competition

As you know this is one of my all time favourite poetry competitions for young writers. For one, there aren't all that many going around. Oh yeah, and I won it two years ago.

Are you between the ages of 8 and 18? Cuisle would like you to write up to three poems, about anything that matters to you, in Irish or English. Winners will be invited to read during our festival in October, when prizes will be awarded at a special ceremony. 

Start writing now! Send us your poems, each accompanied by an entry form, by 24 September 2012.

Entry forms here

07 September 2012

Connacht Heat of the All-Ireland Poetry Slam

North Beach Poetry Nights hosts...

The Connacht Heat of the All-Ireland Poetry Slam on Monday 10th September in The Crane Bar, Sea Road, Galway

At 6.30 pm 

Poets wishing to enter the Slam on the night need 2 max. three minutes poems, both performed without a script. So get memorizing now.

There are slots for 16 performers, so get your name in now per email (johnmawalsh@gmail.com) if you want to participate.

Remember: you must be from or resident in Connacht.

The All-Ireland Slam will be at O’Bheal in Cork on Friday 30 November.

Door: 5/3 Euro

My Fellow Sponges are playing on the night

03 September 2012

Scene Shifters

There's nothing like the air on your face to lift the cobwebs. Notebook in hand, actually pocket, I took to the boreens. They never let me down. There along ankle length grass, wild blackberry brier and rusted fern the scribbling came fast and furious. There's a lot going on in Connemara that you'd never know, passing through or along the coast road. Seems quiet. Laid back. Odd bit of traffic. And up until last month the dusk time hauling of turf. Clunks on the roadside the only evidence next day. There's always fodder for a murder plot or two. Maybe even an awakening deep within. It's My Time. And staring across at Aran or Burren I am in my writing zone. The grass whispers here, and tree branches rattle. Even the wind through the stone walls has something to say. Today's story took root by a field. A man and his dog. Contented pair. Him digging spuds from his plot of land. His dog lying in the grass, watching, by his side as the spade turned the earth over and over. There in the clay this season's potatoes, just in time for tea and my wee notebook. Stories, they sprout everywhere and anywhere.

26 June 2012

Celebrating the Solstice

The 21st of June has long been celebrated as the brightest day of the year. To celebrate the beginning of summer Brigit's Garden held a community bonfire. We had never been before so we took the opportunity to look around. It has four different gardens celebrating each of the four Celtic seasons among other things, such as plantings of the Ogham trees. 

Ogham is an early medieval alphabet composed of various horizontal lines crossing a vertical one. The name Ogham is allegedly derived from that of the Celtic god of literature and eloquence, Ogma. It is sometimes called "The Celtic Tree Alphabet," based on a tradition associating the names of trees to individual letters. The letters are primarily named after Irish native trees. 

Along with the bonfire, there was a drumming workshop in a marquee (big tent) which could be heard all over the garden. Afterwards there was a torch-lit procession, whereby the employees of the gardens (and some uh, lovely children) held torches while the rest of us followed with tea lights in Styrofoam cups. 

In a Celtic revival sort of ceremony, we filed under a living arch of branches while incense burned and women sang a Celtic song with the drums. I would have preferred this one instead.

We walked through the stone circle and around to the pile of wood.

Our tea lights were put in a large circle around the fire and the torches placed in the ground before the pyre was set alight from the hay piled beneath it. 

There was a fire dancer with all kinds of flaming fire tools. Some looked like arcs.

Some looked like wings.

After the singing procession, the drumming heart beat, and the shape of the pyre, a lot of us were thinking Wicker Man. At first there was smoke, drifting over all of us where we stood shivering and waiting in the twilight (because, of course, although it was almost ten, the light was still lingering).

Then it burst into flame!

And gradually...

died away.

06 March 2012

Writers' Blok by Ja¢kson Pearce

Can't believe I only just discovered her! Her videos are amazing, and she is such a great role model for young (female) writers. Now I just have to read her books...