Monday, January 31, 2011

Here's one I wrote earlier

So, here's my second publication of 2011, a monologue, printed in the lovely online "Good Ear Review"

I really have no idea of their readership, but I do think they're very kind hearted people for taking the words that I have fashioned together and putting them up on their site, and I only wish there were more such kind hearted people in the world.

It's my first ever publication in the world of Drama, so be nice...

You'll find it here

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kind of wrecked tired on the bus - NanU part deux

So here's this week's effort, NanU asked for a poem reflecting different days of the week, and different moods, and I ended up with this... - for a fuller description of the prompt and other passengers, click here - on Sunday or Monday

First Week


A return to being

in an ever strange familiar

A laugh at meeting

mother on the street

A nervous day

of acronyms and awkward

A slightly warmer

soaking into atmosphere

Absorbing week of newness and adventure

Is ended now, the starting has begun


It was an interesting week and a fortuitous one for the prompt I think, for me anyway. I'm a bit wrecked from the newness of everything - the concentration and trying to learn as fast as possible about what's going on around me, although objectively all I seem to be doing is sitting around rubbing my shins. It has been really great in a lot of ways, the new job is very varied, the people all seem pretty happy, enthused and enjoy what they do. There's lots of chocolate around, and coat hooks. It's the first time I'm not working in a factory, so with no hairnets for bad hair days I'm actually having to make an effort on the appearance front, which is difficult when you're not used to it.

Anyway - we're still back to Dubland for weekends at the moment which is great, but very tiring too in terms of travel, and I'm a bit of a Zombie right now, and overall I just wanted to let ye know about it, and to tell ye not to worry too much if posts slacken off for a while, it's just that I've even less energy right now, and less time, but I'll still enjoy reading yours, and have a few more poems to dissuade up my sleeves, so Wednesdays will stay live at least...

On that topic - can ye let me know if you have any favourite poems to dissuade? I know it's hard to pick with all those gems in there, but which would you think should deffo make the book? I'm trying to do a shortlist for the illustrator. is where you'll find all the old ones if you can't remember, anyway - happy week everyone.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


1. This weekend I will not be on the radio - but Eamonn Lynskey will be, and along with him will be the lovely Ann Tannam - who is soon launching here first collection of poetry "Take this Life" 4pm on Liffey Sound y'all (or fm), don't forget to tune in.
2. It only takes a cute dog with a teddy bear face about 2 days to convince the responsible owners of a previously in control household to allow her half access to the couch. Full access and priviledges are predicted with great confidence in the near future.
3. There are more cars in Cork! (contentious one, I know - but they are all over the place, in 3 lanes, flying along - instead of my old slow crawl city commute. I even ended up dreaming about them last night)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Feeling Stoopid and the "Craic"

In saying "Feeling Stoopid" I don't just mean having a cuddle with the dog (dog if you're reading this, I'm kidding!). But you know when you start in a new place of work, and you haven't the first notion how anything works, who anyone is, or what the punchy sounding acronyms mean? and then you're sitting at your desk, hoping desperately like you look intelligent and useful, and like you're soaking up all the information that's floating around you, especially that which will be relevant to what the worky people would like you to know about... that was me yesterday, and it was kind of tiring, you know when you try and give that intelligent, squinty like you're really thinking something very bright kinda look? that was me, pursing my lips, furrowing my brow, stroking my shin philosophically, (or my chin whichever comes first) and really looking forward to the day when I actually get what's going on.
new jobs are fun... (I will repeat 10 times first thing every morning, till I actually get annoyed with my own nerdiness or until it's an old job)

In response to Dominic's query on the 3 toed sloth poem - craic as a term in Irish may mean "Chat or Conversation" which is presumably the origin for its use on pub ads ie - ól, ceol agus craic, but it also translates as crack, or crazy/ cracked person... not to be confused with cráic - which refers to something else entirely

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your Coyote to Claire's Accessories

Thanks all for the comments on yesterday's illustration, I will bring you some more in time, in the mean time, Yes I'm in Cork, but we also have animals and we also have shops here too, so I find my duty to research and inform on these matters is yet to find an end...

A Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your Coyote to Claire's Accessories

Don't bring your Coyote to Claire's Accessories
She'd be sure to make a mess, yes sirree
I mean, I'll even have to confess; her fleas
wouldn't hop in, no matter the sweet perfume smelt
Illuminous tights don't look good on your canine
Neither quirky tiaras, nor fruit lipsticks shine
She prefers subdued neutrallish tones, not carmine
Her fashions are more bloody, heart felt
She'll think there's a road runner lurking 'mong the boas
It'll get ugly, for there's no shelter there, no stoas
and you won't hardly hear for the howls and holloas
when sparkly mascara spills on her pelt
Tell her stick to her den, your darling coyote
And let her do without earrings, or beads for her goatee
For a ravenous hunter, this shop's not so dotey
No Claire's Accessories for your Coyote today

Nearer the Equator

So, here I am - reporting for the first time from down under ie: the people's republic, ie: two and a half hours down the road, ie: Cork.

Yes, my car radio will only tune in Red FM, everybody knows my name (well, I ran into some one from school in a book shop today), and I'm currently staying at the place of my childhood, with the people who were adults when I was a child. (Now they're kids again, of course) It's funny. Of course I've been back for visits in the mean time, but they were always short term.
Now I'm seeing the place again as a place to actually live. It makes things different. It's shinier and stranger and bigger than the town ever was before. Everything is changed; there's walls where there used to be very different walls, a post box beside the post office, people on the street have a familiar accent and talk about their health. I've spent four hours today at one of my oldest friend's houses, just drinking tea, trying to amuse her 2 year old and five month old.

Anyway - there is other news, apart from the moving news (and new work starting tomorrow news!?!?!)
I have had a very talented artist offer to illustrate my Poems to Dissuade. One of the first
drawings to come through is here, and I think they've very nicely captured the spirit and mood of the series. This one below is for the "Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your Sloth to Dunnes" I'd really appreciate your feedback on it - a closer view can be found here

A Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your 3 toed sloth to Dunnes

Don’t bring your three toed sloth to Dunnes
He’d surely linger by the buns
Would get stuck on the sticky ones
It wouldn’t be good craic
He’d want to eat all the free samples
Through deli counters he’d slowly trample
And squash the fruit, his butt is ample
Before it’s too late turn back!
Yes sloths are worst in groceries
The choosiest choosers at the slowest speed
They only think of their own greed
When they browse the shopping racks
So tell the sloth he’ll have to wait
At home, or slowly at the gate
He’s not getting out there, no mistake
No Dunnes for your three toed sloth today

Sunday, January 23, 2011

NanU's Bus - part one of two weeks

So NanU's first of two prompts for the bus was to write about something you like that others don't or vice versa, or something you think they'll like or something... for a more Scientific explanation of the prompt and some other travellers - visit her blog here.

As for me, not unusually - I've tried to follow the prompt but have ended up spinning off in a strange direction that kind of just seems to hint at things I like, and I don't like fishing, but the name fitted the poem, so who am I to judge...


We let the grass grow as it wants

Can wear bright coloured shirts

Make lists of silly things

Mix polishing with sliding stockinged feet

We talk for hours saying everything

and never wish to hear an other voice

can wash the wind until it shines

bring our own selves around with every step

See iridescent Tuesdays far ahead

Bedraggled eyes, the maps of long lived time

Split ended thoughts are ours, the things we fed

Are hungry still, and so our lines be thrown

Thanks too to the Fantabulous Mr TFE, Mr Poetry Bus himself who was my last ever guest on the Sunday Scrapbook today, the best possible grand Finalé to the series from my point of view and giving Mr Lynskey a great jumping off point for his taking to the airwaves. Peadar's show can be listened to over here along with all my past guests.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Peadar O'Donoghue, Total Feckin Eejit, on the Radio!!!

What better way to say goodbye to the Sunday Scrapbook and all its joys than to get a really famous, mysterious and supercool guest to help me see it out?
(Pat Inglesby wasn't available, so Peadar helpfully stepped in)

I am really grateful to Peadar for agreeing to come in and take us into his world for an hour of intrigue and mind-bending insight during his show, which is based on the theme of

"Certainty or Uncertainty, Depending"

Peadar needs little introduction to most of ye as the original poetry bus driver. He authors the World's Greatest Blog also known as "Total Feckin Eejit the people's lost republic of Eejit" over here, (a site that is frequently responsible for uncontrollable outbursts of hilarity in my life, and is safest read alone) and is an artist, poet and photographer of great talent. I am really priviledged to have him on the show as my very last ever guest, and know you're going to relish the time with him as much as I am...

And now the bio:

"Peadar O Donoghue, known affectionately by his online followers as TFE, Peadar is a photographer, sculpturist, figure skater, golden shorts wearing badminton player, three times winner of the "Drinking champagne without letting bubbles up your nose, while playing badminton championships", he once wrote an entire novella in yoghurt on the side of a hill deep in Co Wicklow - so deep that he had to use the yoghurt lids to signal a passing aeroplane to come to his rescue. His poems and photographs have been published in The Shop, Revival, The Stinging Fly, The Dubliner, Magma, Poetry Ireland Review, and he is editor of "the Poetry Bus" magazine and founder of the original poetry bus which has been touring the world since mid 2009 and is showing no sign of running out of petrol yet."

I'd say this one is unmissable. Tune in on Sunday, 96.4 fm on Liffey Sound - weblink to listen live on the right there, 4pm (11am in Miami), or catch up on the Sunday Scrapbook archive ( as always, sometime after.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Crunchy Numbers & live poetry

So, some of you may remember that last year I took on a project where I wrote a poem a day, no matter, whether I felt inspired, uninspired, or whatever - the results are in....

I wrote about 400 "so called" poems up to early October (before energy of all kinds deserted me while I began my current creative project). Of these I kept a record up to early September of how many I felt were any good and how many got published v's the dates they were written...

The best month for good poems was July, though I judged what poems were "good" fairly soon after writing, I haven't looked at alot of them since, so I don't know whether they actually were any good or not.
Reasonably good poems were frustratingly well spread throughout the week - I was hoping to see all good poems being written on a Thursday for some reason. The only slight pattern showed more good poems clustering on Monday, Tuesday, slightly less on Wednesday, Thursday - with weekends slackening off in number. Having said that - actual published poems showed more of a trend - being written mainly on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Perhaps suggesting that spending more time on the things (ie on a Saturday) sometimes led to better results. No published poems were written on a Sunday. So I'll be taking that day off writing in future. - or not - maybe my Sunday Luck has been out, but it's just waiting to come back...

So would I recommend it to a friend?
Why yes, it did definitely keep me in a more creative frame of mind, made me feel like I was writing something, gave me a home for alot of ideas and I have a heap of poems that I wouldn't have otherwise got, and there's 203 pages of junk to entertain me in my old age, perhaps I can read it at dinner parties (or more likely at dinner in the home), "did I ever read you my collection?... in its entirety?... I was quite the hot shot you know, Doris...."

As proof of that I can show Doris a live, in technicolour (though of course I wore grey) recording, made this monday night gone at the Glór sessions.

I'm at minute 17, second 52 of the latest recording, if ye want a laugh, though I'm cringeing too much to watch it back myself, hope you enjoy. There are lots of great acts spread throughout the night, so it's well worth a look through, and you can tune in live to that link of a Monday at 9ish - which is what I'll have to do for future look ins, since I'll be in Cork for the next few months worth of Glórs.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your Friesian to the Moon

Just to inform non Irish readers, that when we think Friesian, we think the ice-creamy dairy type black and white painted cows that are so ubiquitous in our countrysides (at least in postcards), rather than the horse(!?)

A Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your Friesian to the Moon
Don't bring your Friesian to the moon
Though she might say there's plenty room
Believe me it would mean your doom
For she'd surely attempt to jump over
There's no grass to chew there, please, for your own sake
You'd better be cautious, no lunar escape
for your 4 stomached friend, there's just too much at steak
Not a job for the bestest trained drover
She may say her leathery skin's good in space
She knows all the stars, won't make you lose face
But I've herd that her dung is a terrible case
Even though she lives mainly on clover
She might be laughing, and jiggling her udder
but don't be seduced, she can't stone you like budder
Tell her "Sorry my love, but your tricks make me shudder"
No Moon for your Friesian today

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

And Now for my next Trick

Not that growing new people in your stomach is a trick per se, but here's another little creation of mine that's now out in the world.
A poem - to be viewed on Outburst, a relatively new online magazine that specialises in publishing young writers (average age of 15 here).
-regular readers might know the poem from a past poetry bus...

Anyway here it is, and there's lots more besides me in it, so should be well worth a browse.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Beginning of a Great Adventure

So I bet ye all think this is further info about the big move, changing job, city, house and home in the near future, ie this day week... well it is and it isn't...
There's more...

More news I mean.
Myself and Mr VC are just over half way through that adventure known as pregnancy, and all going well, fingers and toes crossed, will have an all new member of the family joining us towards the end of May.

This does mean I have a current average age of about 15, so have an urge to make all kinds of silly and inappropriate comments, but I will resist.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

TFE's Driving again!!

Total Feckin Eejit, poetry bus founder and madman extraordinaire, with a recent birthday under his belt - has given us a difficult soulful type of excercise for this week's bus - don't think, feel. Be silent and think about breathing, existence etc etc... I'm not sure why but I found this rather tough (having said that I seem to find em all tough lately).. but here's the effort after a couple of goes - the other passengers will be found here


For Now


A mushy mind

A tired neck

frustrated eyelids droop again

slow brain can’t keep up

or think something to say

(apart from the usual nothings and moans, the tingles in toes and the hammering “no”s)

traipse blind and excited to a whole new page


here’s a thing

an escaped kitten, not missing the cage,

a sniff at the air, and follow the flow

dreaming, “sail on, there’s a reason

will make it – to a freedom”

little cat hands push on

push mushy mind on

little claws clutch for comfort

pink patches touch clean


the heart is rolled and jumped on for play

arteries, veins know what to say

about such an outrage

“Hey, you! Stop!”

even they are giggling helpless

because it’s just too cute

so they know they will let it away

with turning the heart inside out for a day

there’s always tomorrow, to go back to clay

Friday, January 14, 2011

Seán Ferrick on the Radio

Our guest this week on the second last Sunday Scrapbook with meself at the helm is going to be Seán Ferrick, taking on the theme of "Utopia and Dystopia in the media"

That's alot of "ia"s and I am giving a free jar of lollipops to the listener who guesses the correct number of times that we will say "ia" between us. "ea" as in idea, urea, panaceaea - doesn't count towards the total.
Guesses must be submitted by 9 am on Friday morning, ie today, ie 15 minutes ago.

Now for a little more about Seán. He is currently working on an MA in Creative Writing with UCD. His original interest in writing begain in fantasy, but he has since moved on to socio realism. His first published story, Fate, was a short and somewhat depressing (he says) story of a man who decides to commit suicide, is saved but survives only to die by accident - succombing to his 'Fate'.
He has also taken some of his work onto the stage having developed an understanding of theatre from his own acting experience. His play "Debate" was produced several times both within the college setting and out in the big bad world. Another story that he adapted for the stage was 'Little Miss Muffet'. This received nominations for acting and script at the Drama Society awards that year, and was the most successful lunchtime show of the year
The current project, 'Down to the Bridge' is a novel that started life in many different forms (there is in fact a full stage play written last year, that he decided was simply too small to display the work that went into planning the novel). As part of his MA is enjoying the process of vigorously critiquing his work and learning from this.

Seán is a very impressive performer of his work and is a writer of some serious ambition, with some thought provoking ideas behind his approach. If you haven't heard of him already, there is no doubt in my mind that you will. He's well worth a listen at the usual time 4pm (6pm in Damascus) on Liffey Sound - link for live listening on the right there, or catch up at a later date on the archives as always.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What men really talk about when they're golfing

A quick look at wikipedia's common misconceptions page here shows that alot of what of what we thought we knew, we never really knew at all.

Another common myth has been exploded this week where our very leader has admitted that himself and a top banking executive never once discussed banking while on a golfing day out (or stick picnic as they fondly call it), therefore the common belief that men discuss business while golfing has been shown to be completely false.

So what do they really talk about?

Luckily I happen to have the tapes, and can now provide a full transcription of the conversation.

B: Love your hair Sean, it's only fab since you got it done.
S: Oh would you stop, my straightener went down this morning and I had to leave it all natural.
B: Well it suits you lovely.
S: Ah thanks, is that a new bag?
B: Oh, do you know the last one was just covered in muck, so I went into McGuirks and they had a sale on their Mizuno Aeralite in Electric lemon, so I couldn't pass it.

S: Let's tee off.
B: *giggles*
S: What is it?
B: Ah, just that the phrase "Tee off" always makes me laugh, you know, kind of like "Eff off", but it's like as if you're talking about a cup of Tea, maybe one that's gone off with all mould in it or something.
S: Oh, ho ho, yeah, see what you mean. I used to think that in the early days, when yerman with the sticks, back when I was a caddy, I always thought when yerman said "Give us another Tee there Sean" - I thought they meant a cup of tea, and I'd always start walkin back to the clubhouse for it.
B: Gas
S: It's a gas world isn't it?
B: Just gas

S: That reminds me of the grass, the way it rhymes with it, did you ever think you'd like some grass like this in your garden?
B: I was thinking of asking each club for a bit actually, maybe as a tax. If every club in the country posted me a thumb tack sized part of their grass, I'd have enough to be practising my putting.
S: By the way
B: Yes?
S: Those sock things you put on the sticks, they're only meant for the woods, like the thick ones.
B: Well I think it's unfair to discriminate
S: I suppose
B: And I like the way they feel

S: Did you.... eh
B: Go on Sean
S: No, it's silly, you'll think I'm weird.
B: Aren't we best buddies all these years? For god's sake having breakfasts, doing lunch, all for the joy of each other's company, how is there anything you can't ask me or talk to me about?
S: Well, did you ever try them on at home, on your own feet like.

*There is a silence on the recording for the next few hours*

B: Well only on special occasions
S: I knew it, the lads owe me a tenner
B: Who, you!? Ah ya fecker, c'mon and buy me lunch will ye, I'm starvin.
S: Yeah, you're wastin away there

*Uproarious laughter*

And that's what really happened between B & S

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your Hairy Mammoth to Peter Mark

Nothing I ever attempt in Poetry will ever beat the raw emotion and poetic mourning seen in Peter Goulding's very fine post of yesterday - to be viewed here

So instead I offer some humble advice to those with fashion conscious prehistoric animals in their care, (the very worst kind of prehistoric animal is the fashion conscious one)
A Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your Hairy Mammoth to Peter Mark
Don't bring your Hairy Mammoth to Peter Mark
Whether he wants to turn his rustic fringe dark
or lighten his bangs, style his cut somewhat stark
This is not the right place for your Woolly
He's likely to rear up at the sound of the drier
Highlights make him think his whole head is on fire
The gels make him woozy, hairspray makes him higher
Clearing sinks after him takes a pulley
No, a perm wouldn't suit him, his tusks would look strange
with a bouffant between them, he'd be better to change
this madcap idea, they can't help with his mange
So please don't give in to this bully
And if he thinks a chignon would make him look elegant
you better have a word with this old hairy elephant
The phrase "Good Hair Day" to him, won't be relevant
No Peter Mark for your Hairy Mammoth today

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Moving On

I wrote a poem called "Moving On" a while back, it was about that feeling of excitement and ill at ease-ness that comes with major changes, and was actually based on leaving the place where I spent my college years for the big bad world - I think I posted it as a bus poem, but can't see it anywhere now, but anyhow.
Like the littlest hobo, I'm on the road again, not yet exactly, but it's imminent, my departure from Dubland and alot of the lovely things that I have grown to enjoy here. I'm currently having the strange (and slightly ghostly) experience of watching myself be replaced in three different areas.

One is at the place where I've merrily stirred the gravy for a bit of dough for the last two years. It's a small family business, with a small but very friendly work force, some of whom I'll miss a terrible lot, if only for their crazy Dubland ways. People in suits and nice hair cuts are streaming in every day looking for the coveted place at my desk and bench and my soon to be former bosses are agonising over who they can get who'll turn out to be slightly more useful to them than I was.
Second Place is on the radio. I'm handing over the Sunday Scrapbook Earphones to a local hero and excellent entertainer called Eamonn Lynskey, who's just won a residence at the Heinrich Boll cottage, blogs over here and is going to take the show and shape it into something great. I've had such a ball doing it and meeting all those great writers, and I look forward to tuning in for his version. But first there'll be another one or two little offerings from my good self.
And the Final area is as facilitator for the Honey Fungus Group - aka Lucan Teen Writers. I've been enjoying their company, and getting truly inspired by their work for the past few years, and I know they'll continue to go from strength to strength. They took about two seconds to think of someone they'd like to get to replace me, (almost seeming indecently eager about it), and for the last couple of sessions we've had the company of a young, talented history and classics teacher who should see them safely continuing their journeys in writing for the next good while. As I was saying to them, it'll be great to have someone handy who actually knows stuff about stuff.

So like Mary Poppins, we'll be off when the wind changes - myself, Mr VC, the dog, the gold fishes, the potted plant...
But where to? and what else will I miss about Dubland? what other adventures await?

Well, that's another story and shall be told at another time

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Booky Meme - Take it from one who doesn't have a clue

The fabulously talented David Mohan has issued the below questions for a bit of a ponder. I don't have a huge amount of reading done, or indeed know anything much about what counts as a classic, but not knowing about stuff has never stopped me yabbering on about stuff before - so here's my tuppence:

1.Name some lost classics – books you love that you feel are undervalued or have been neglected.

Elizabeth Bowen's House in Paris is one I found amazing - exciting and dramatic, written in 1935 - is that old enough?
The Neverending Story too was a really great and memorable read, and I know the film will always have a place in the special shelf, but I'd say too few people get that step further to the pen and ink version.
(Is two some? this is hard)

2.Name the ‘great’ books you feel are overrated.

Great books? Maybe On the Road was a little too hyped by the time I got round to it, same goes for In Cold Blood - otherwise I tend to find old books survive for a reason.
Actually, now that I think about it Socrates discourses were a bit wordy and not very easy to get into (he'd never get published nowadays), but then that's not really a novel.

3. Name authors/books you feel are this age’s future classics. Books and authors that best speak our times and/or are just pure quality.

Jennifer Johnston is a pure pure genius. Colum McCann is getting there, but not fully there yet (I'm sure he'll be thrilled to hear I think he's getting there though). Paul Murray is really high quality and speaks very much from our times.

David's original post is here for those of ye who'd like to read a bit about it from someone who actually does know something about it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bus ticket - Bitter Bussing

This week's prompt from Emerging Writer was to take Tim Minchin's lead and write something bitter and twisted and vengeful. (Again this week we were spoiled with several options and choices to choose, but this one appealed most) I love Tim Minchin - especially the song about "If I didn't have you... someone else would surely do" but bitter and vengeful isn't that easy to do on the spot, so I trawled through the Poem a Day files from last year and found this... written for a lady who I interviewed in the course of my volunteering at one of the festivals - a delightful person


There’s a lady well preserved
Striking cheek bones, make up light
Staying in a hotel
Over from Lisbon, overnight
Says art shouldn’t be about money
So won’t tell what she’s spending
To the funny one with clipboard
Who’s been commissioned to find out
What it’s all worth
Her husband rents a car
And she blithely turns away
And talks to her friends
The many famous writers

When I’m a famous writer
I don’t want any friends like that

I thought this one fit the theme too - and it's timely... see if ye can guess who it is


Your name is after fading, it got drank up in a shower
magnetic lights through stadiums fly eaten in the hour
they came there once for sport to test their expert brawn
but ended up with lives cut short, with blood spilled on the lawn
Paper hats in dressing rooms and infamous quotations
phones going off in interviews majestic situations
refuse to sell what isn't there your brooding stare continues
your body is a theatre, of muscle, speed and sinews

Proper Bus Tickets will be found over here very shortly...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Don Conroy on the Radio

Yes, Ireland's answer to Rolf Harris, the fantastic Don Conroy is gracing the Sunday Scrapbook this weekend, and bringing us through some of his thoughts on a passion of his that may surprise some listeners - the theme he has chosen is: "Gothic Romance"
I feel like I know him, since his days on 80's and 90's kids TV, teaching us how to draw a squirrel with nothing but a couple of circles and a few squiggles - he's like the MacGuyver of drawing, and I have lots of fond memories of drawing along with him, and reading his lovely books written from the point of view of animals.
His wikipedia page says this:
"Don Conroy is an Irish children's author, artist, conservationist and television personality. His artistic and literary work centres around a wildlife theme. "Uncle Don",[1] as he affectionately known, is heavily involved in wildlife conservation work in Ireland and has made regular appearances on The Den since 1986, the longest continually serving member of the crew. He makes regular public appearances at various schools, libraries and other public places, where he entertains children with stories and drawings of various animals, in much the same capacity as his role on The Den. His favourite animal is a hobbit.
Conroy studied life drawings and culture at the National College of Art and Design and then worked as designer and illustrator for advertising agencies as well as in the theatre. A keen naturalist, he is actively involved in conservation. Don played an important part in the highly successful project to reintroduce the Golden Eagle to Ireland, as well as establishing a sanctuary for whales and dolphins in Irish waters (the first of its kind in Europe). One of his favourite items to draw is the Barn Owl; it has inspired him to write a poem and draw many pictures over the years and it was the subject of his drawing at a Vicar Street reunion of The Den held by Today FM's The Ray D'Arcy Show on 14 November 2008. [2]
His greatest literary works include the Wings trilogy: On Silent Wings, Wild Wings and Sky Wings, as well as Vampire Journal, Vampire at St. Michan's and The Celestial Child. He has also written Cartoon Fun with Don Conroy and a follow-up, Wildlife Fun with Don Conroy; both are intended as drawing aids. These are available for purchase at"

He will be on the radio with me at 4pm (4pm in Casablanca) this Sunday evening, on Liffey Sound - 96.4 - listen live on the web link on the right there, or catch up on the archives later.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your dragon to the fish bait shop

Hope you all are keeping well on this first wednesday of the year. Now far be it from me to start putting limitations on you and telling you what you can and can't do in this year of possibility and promise. However there is just one small thing I'd like to make you aware of:
A Poem which attempts to dissuade you from bringing your dragon to the fish bait shop
Don't bring your dragon to the fish bait shop
I think you'd find it quite the flop
as outings go. He'd soon say "Stop,
remind me why we came here?"
Flying Lizards aren't impressed by vats of maggots
Doesn't matter how well you dress or flag it
Not even preceded with a good glass of bragget
Your dragon will not find good cheer
Yes he'd rather face a witches cackle
or take on a swarm of swooping grackle
anything but look at all that fishing tackle
he'd find the hooks terribly severe
He'd find the worms all squirmy and yuck
In the one place where his fire breathing would suck
cos of flammable flies, you'd feel like a schmuck
No fish bait shop for your dragon today

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 The Literary Highlights

Well - what did I get up to writing wise over the past year, anything worth reporting? here goes ...

1. Poem a day project - I got all the way to October with this before a certain poetic fatigue set in, knocking me well off the wagon - but not before I had over 400 bits of things and even some little gems written and a few sent and accepted for publication.

2. Poems Published - 3 in print, Yippee! on real paper! Yippee! A twig of a branch of a tree had to die for my poems! Yip.. - well you get the gist. Got a poem into Revival, the Moth and the Fantabulous Poetry Bus Magazine. Then got another 6 on the Raft poetry journal website in Americay, complete with sound files of me reading em out, and there were a couple of other acceptances that haven't quite reached actual publication actually yet, but actually might some day.

3. The Sunday Scrapbook - another 50 odd shows with 50 odd writers on the radio - (some odder than others) - each one teaching me something new and valuable. It's been a priviledge to meet and get to question all these talented folks.

4. IPYPIASM - International put your poem in a shop month - has this year been bigger and better than ever before - despite the adverse weather - we've had poems in America, Canada and France for the first time, and Scotland put in another very strong showing - with the Irish placements growing in number and impressiveness as well.

5. Readings - I've had the pleasure and the buzz of reading at lots of lovely places with lots of lovely people (including the glorious Poetry Divas!) over the year, even sometimes in front of people who were listening to what I was saying - kicking off at Nighthawks, I got to read also in the Irish Writers Centre, a couple of quantum sofas, the Brown Bread Mixtape, The Glór Sessions, Wexford's Cáca Milis Caberet, Dun Laoighaire tea rooms, The Winding Stair book shop, a little garage known as Seomra Spraoi, Electric Picnic, Uisneach Fire Festival, Red Rua Arts Centre, Sweny's Chemist, a bus in the middle of the night in County Clare, Dun Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures, Douglas Newman Good in Lucan village and Lucan Library to name but... them all.

6. Volunteering - my generous spiritedness got me going to lots of great events for free in the Dublin Writer's Festival and the Poetry Now Festival in Dun Laoghaire. The Gallery Press 40 year celebration in the Abbey was a great intro to Ireland's established poets, and Paul Muldoon's Poetry Now keynote address was a mind melting head wrecking tour of words that was a joy to be be at. So glad I could help out :-) and we got cool t-shirts.

7. Honey Fungus - the teen writers group in Lucan have been growing and going from strength to strength - Celebrating their third year going this Feb they are a great crew who often left me inspired and energised after facilitating them.

8. Poems to Dissuade - all thanks to someone who did in fact bring a horse to Tesco in Ballyfermot - and making that shop famous long before Mary Byrne came on the scene - this collection has been great fun to play with and will no doubt make my fortune and allow me to comfortably retire some time in the coming year.

9. Story in a book - thanks to the lovely Eileen Casey for concieving the idea of a book of new South Dublin Myths I have another book to add to the shelf this year - in "South of the County - New Myths and Tales" I reveal the true beginnings of golf, alongside alot of South Dublin's top talent exhibiting their great imaginations.

10. Story in a mag, not just any mag, a big shiny beautiful mag, bursting with beautiful things. I had a story in Winter's edition of "The Stinging Fly" - this is the equivalent of the best looking guy on the bus who you've had a crush on for years sitting down beside you all the way to town on your first day at college and offering to show you around. Pretty giddy inducing.

So it seems I was busy, but a lot of the busy-ness went into being out and about - reading aloud or talking to others about their work, rather than getting down to the work myself. Need to try and shift the balance back the other way this year, with more actual writing.... tune in here next year to see how that pans out.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Jeanne's poetry bus getting the new year off to a humanity consciousness raising good start

Advancing humanity to a higher level of consciousness - come up with your plan and post a poem - this is the quick job that Jeanne has given us as the price for a ticket on the bus this week - two other tickets were available - but this one appealed to me most. Check out all tickets and passengers here

However it's tricky. I spent a depressing few minutes the other night watching the very intelligent and funny Jimmy Carr doing a gig on a DVD - presumably the best gig he's done all year (in his own opinion?) where rape, domestic violence, racism, and general insults to everyone about everything made up the guts of the fodder. He's selling out stadiums (stadi-ii?) with this crap and people are paying to sit there and try to laugh at it. Uplifting? Enjoyable? Ehhh - No - more plain ugly.

So there Jimmy, I've said it. Ok different strokes for different folks, but when that is clearly what is working for him, and selling for him, it kind of makes me afraid for humanity, if that's what we enjoy.

How to advance us all to a higher level of consciousness then? Make everyone watch Anthony De Mello on youtube? Force everyone in the world to follow this blog? (I've a long way to go on that one). Get everyone one of those clichée a day calenders? Or make everyone sing The Duck Song once a week?


Well all of those are likely to prove impossible so instead I present to you here - the flimsiest of tickets, but sure I'll chance it. Happy new year to you all.



Advice for Humanity


Deep breaths and let

the thoughts dance light


Dissolve the web

and all that catches


Deserve each kiss

each touch entrusted


Delight in those

who sparkle true


Deny confusion

let doubts fade far


Drink deep the spin

of another new


and hope filled

trip around the star