Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolutions Schmesolutions

I didn't publish any goals for the coming year on this blog last year, but I do believe that things you write down are more likely to happen, so I am writing down my goals for the year. Still not sharing them here, but sharing the fact that they exist. There are four of them, and I will truthfully tell you at the end of "O"ten whether I've fulfilled them, and possibly what they were. If you want to give me some more, or share your own feel free, we'll see how I measure up.....

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An old poem

Here's a wee poem written a while back, thought it might be a nice one to end the year on... Not saying that I definitely won't get to post tomorrow, but with my hectic calender of social commitments (actually doing nothing at all for new years! Bwa hahaha), not to mention the 2009 "to do" list that ain't half finished...(Actually anything on that list, if it existed, that wasn't done - could stay undone, while I'm busy doing nothing! - Bwa hahah) I figure it might be just as well to offer ye a happy new year wish now...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hey Now

Only 2 days left of International put your poem in a shop month! Get your skates on (maybe literally in some cases), get the camera out, get me photos of poems in shops!! (I get demanding around the 29th Dec, see last year for more details, set up a shop in your house if needs be)
Another nice idea is from TFE's stable of brilliance, the festival of light - click here for more... I'll certainly be joining in, though I might not post the list publicly.
In other news, I'm a tad scared about this Sunday, when Oub will be playing Parky with me being my own guest on the radio, I'm quite terrified and intimidated by all the brilliant, eloquent guests I've already had on, that my own waffle will sound a bit... well... waffly by comparison, but sure I'll try, for the high amusement of all lucanlanders, before resuming normal service with some very exciting guests coming up in the new year.
And another thing - this new decade that's taking off in just a few days... what'll we call it? My answer - the tennies... cast your votes now.

Monday, December 28, 2009

GAA Dinner Dance - An Inside Report

Tulsk GAA club were celebrating historical wins at their Christmas Dinner Dance, the county cup of 25 and 50 years past. Mr VC's Dad being one of the primary movers and shakers of 59, the family were there in force, and it was a great night, and excuse to get to meet all the legends of the locality. For Mr VC it was like catching up on an old favourite soap, as the names were called, old tales told, and heros of his youth collected their medals. The wild man Doc - who could fit an entire team in his "crock" of a car, Mr E who could take you to a match on Sunday, and you'd be lucky to return by Wednesday, and best of all the man who broke his leg during a game but continued his staunch defence jumping high with the one remaining good leg, to safegaurd the net from any invasion - reminding me somewhat of this guy.
A lovely 3 course dinner, and great conversation (which I have been strictly warned is not blogging material, though it was extremely interesting I can assure you), followed by the slalom back over icy Rosland roads at 3am. It was hard to decide which was worse - the slushy ice roads - with definite tracks that you could stick to sliding on, while the base of the car was scrubbed by the median mountain of snow, or - the glassy ice roads - wider and smooth but perfectly shined, so that you got the feeling that the merest slip would launch you into the nearest icy turlough. It was beautiful though - the entire landscape shining in the moon's glow with blue lacy trees throughout.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hannah Bagnell on the Radio

Our Christmas Special Guest on the Sunday Scrapbook is Dublin born writer Hannah Bagnell. It's a family time of year, so I'm delighted to have my aunt and godmother joining me in studio. She was born and reared in dublin and has been writing since her childhood - her first big success being the winning of an RTE contest with her short story about an ostrich. She left her job in the food industry to move to Bath in 1990 to study English, and creative writing, she now works in student services in Bath Spa University and is part of an intimate writers group over there who meet regularly to discuss reading, writing, and life in general.
It was a visit to Hannah a couple of years back and discussing her membership of that group that kind of caused me to go looking for Lucan Writers Group, so I've alot to thank her for.
Hannah's theme is life, death and survival.
4pm on Sunday afternoon --- Liffey Sound - link on the right for live listening - or check the archives Toosday...

See Here - Titus with a new barrage of poems in shops

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Not in the drunk tank....

yet... but it is Christmas Eve babe. The first one since my first year in college to be spent at home, ie in the place where I live... It'll be strange, we'll have bad TV reception and only 3 TV channels, and the goldfish won't know what to do with themselves (we usually desert them for the day)
Parents are soon en route, and I'm sure we've forgotten to get something crucial, but that will only be apparent when it's missed... ah well.

Here's a little something to have a look at if you're sick of Only Fools and Horses reruns...

Hope ye all have a great one...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Miscellaneous, and more poems in shops...

First off I have to wish my friend Eve a happy day - so Happy Christmas Eve Eve Eve!
(I don't even have a friend called Eve, I have an ex colleague who I could most definitely see myself going for coffee with, but because of the above, she might be slightly reluctant to go for said coffee with me, understandably enough)

In other news - after a short delay - I've got Sarah & Ailín's show up on

On to more Poems in Shops.

First check out Argent's great poem in a shop, really a great poem, on that perennial Christmas crime - festive mugging - right next to the Economics books in Waterstones.

My latest effort was supposed to end up at a garage or petrol station, lost my nerve though, no garage big enough and free from cctv enough and guaranteed not to blow up enough when I'd click the camera - so instead I went for the fuel section in the local lidl, (which is right next to the till, thus explaining the poor focus in the hastily taken snaps) hope you like...


A liquified teeming of processed life forms
Long compressed, in seams depressed, now sold
by some shrewd shark that owns the land, the urn
where prehistoric life spews forth for us to burn

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The book List

Check out the latest POEM IN A SHOP as part of international put your poem in a shop month - by Argent... - a real beaut

I have a little red diary where I note all my reads, mostly so I can check whether I've read something before, such is my razor sharp memory that I sometimes would only realise this a few pages in, which isn't much good for making progress through the slag heap that is my pile of books yet to be read...
Anyway - this year has been markedly less readerly than the previous - less books in cars (in fact eh none) because of less time in the car, and less books in general because of a higher amount of being out and about and generally messing.. this means the list is shorter, but I can give you a bit more on them, since they are fewer in number - ie i'll try and think of a couple of relevant thoughts on each - instead of just the marks out of 10 given last year, hope you enjoy reading about my reading while you should be reading and i should be reading something better for our heads....
I will help those of you with time constraints by putting in bold the ones you absolutely have to read, and maybe more importantly - in italics - the ones to avoid at all costs

Music For Torching - AM Homes - funny, fast, off the wall, worth a read.

So Long, See you tomorrow - William Maxwell - alright, a bit subtle for a christmas read, but only cost me 1p, so can't complain.

The End of Alice - AM Homes - physically sickening, v visceral, horrific and amazing writing - only read if your head can take it.

Eats Shoots & Leaves - Lynne Truss - surprisingly entertaining & educational

The Plague - Camus - all about the atmosphere, slow claustrophic read

The Bone People - Keri Hulme - innovative and great empathy - trails off a bit

These are our Lives - Stinging Fly Anthology - great collection - some brilliant stories - esp liked the heart swop one

Comfort of Strangers - Ian McEwan - A brilliant short book, amazing capturing of relationships, but dissappointed by the ending

The Secret River - Kate Grenville - gripping at the start, fades quite a bit

Disgrace - JM Coetzee - pretty undeniably a genius book, every page glows

Walk the Blue Fields - Claire Keegan - loved these stories - annoyingly brilliant

All Summer - Claire Kilroy - another brilliantly written book, with a lovely flow to the plot - a little self conscious in places

Let's be alone together - Another Stinging Fly collection - mostly stories of oddballs & lunatics -alot of good reads

Diary of a Manhatten Call Girl - Tracey Quan - a guilty pleasure, kind of dross unfortunately

The day of the locust, diary of Balso Snell - Nathaniel West - Amazing pair of books, really enjoyed them

Lessons in Heartbreak - Cathy Kelly - a loan from someone whose feelings I didn't want to hurt, so I read it. Heartbreakingly repetitive, and uninspiring overall

Amber Spyglass - Philip Pullman - really great imagination, a beautiful book

Affinity - Sarah Waters - spooky read, a very talented crafter of novels

Proust was a neuroscientist - Jonah Lehrer - really really brilliant book - best non fiction by a mile (actually might be the only non fiction, but still the best) loved it

Twilight - Stephanie Meyer - bit of a page turner alright, enjoyable read, kinda repetetive in parts

Bad Blood - Lorna Sage - middling kind of memoir - had great expectations of it and was a bit dissappointed

Angels & Demons - Dan Brown - compulsive read, ridiculous plot, gruesome in parts but enjoyable

Everyman - Philip Roth - a brilliant little book, sad reflection on life

Post Office - Charles Bukowski - a rollocking read, fun, energetic, leaping happily through the detritus of a tragic life

The Secret Scripture - Sebastian Barry - a moving book, accomplished and thought provoking

Hard Boiled Hard Luck - Banana Yoshimoto - slightly disjointed, but interesting enough - engaging atmosphere

Host - Stephanie Meyer - more easy reading, imaginative

How many miles to Babylon - Jennifer Johnson - a very perfect short book on friendship, war and life, reading it was like curling up in a duvet, so comforting and true

I'm almost finished reading a few others - but I'll keep them towards next years total!!!

Happy Reading y'all

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Poem - TFE takes over my life once again...

TFE's poetry bus is back for one week only... catch it while it's hot.

Here's a poem based on my harrowing real life experience as a Santa's little helper, which explains the chill in my bones today, and the fact that I couldn't blog last night... (ok I was out watching Avatar, but look I managed to stay un-brain-dead enough after that harrowing experience to get back to ye with not one but two ginormously high quality blog posts today)

On the Green

Bitter cold brittle hours
cocoa rumours abound.
Qualified by my red coat
I am a shivering elf -

Seventy seven selection boxes
earned with songs, hugs, poems,
the young surround - asleep, incredulous, terror struck,
they mingle, dance in transient twinkle-tent

Man with cushion-stuffed red felt pants
and laughter in his tired voice,
escapes with seventy seven promises of rudolf carrots
and one red crayon flower

The Shortest Day of the year...

...deserves the shortest post.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sarah O'Reilly AND Ailín O'Dea on the Radio

This week the theme we are taking is "Women Writers." My guest is not one, but two women, one a writer, and one a keen reader, Ailín O'Dea and Sarah O'Reilly.
Ailín is originally from Limerick, but has been a native inner city Dub for the past 5 years, she writes mostly poetry, and achieved a special mention this year in the prestigious Dromineer festival competition with her poem "Between Jobs".
Sarah is a scientist originally from Co Clare, she is a relatively recent arrival to Dublin having spent the best part of her 20s in Cork City, and escapes the scientific life with regular ravenous reading - she delights in fiction of all kinds, and loves to talk about books.

These girls are not only eloquent and entertaining but I am lucky to count them among my dearest (up to 20p an hour) friends, I love them both to bits, and I think you will too....

4pm - this Sunday - Liffey Sound - link on the right - there's no excuse to miss it

By the way - this
International Put your Poem in a Shop Month
thing is getting MEGA famous - click here to see it mentioned on Poetry Friday... Get in now! While you still can, you can say you were at the cutting edge before it got popular! (and don't forget to tell us about it)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

About the House

A Mini Tour of some little things around the house currently that I like
1. Tiny Glittery Santa. Older than me, perhaps responsible for my life long love of glitter, this is my favourite decoration ever, he's been chewed by me and the dog I once loved and lost, as well as often ousting the baby from the crib we had when I was young. Shown here next to a normal sized Santa for perspective.
2. Upside down heart framed Wedding Picture. This is a frame that we got as a present from our lovely neices and nephew the day before our wedding. We never put our own picture in it, preferring instead the people we don't know who are far better looking, and are pretending to be getting married. The important bit is the two leaves from the hedge in our front garden in the frame which have, written on them, personal messages written from the gift givers. A gorgeous thing. I spend hours looking at it thinking - one day I'll make it so the hearts are the right way up...
3. Stairs Art. We have yellow painted wooden stairs. On their own they'd be boring and ugly. With a gift of an art calender the Christmas we moved in, we transformed them week by week, into a mini gallery that we can admire on our way up and down.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Return of Weekly Wednesday

We haven't had it for over a month, but now it's back, weekly Wednesday. Here for today, and most of tomorrow, meteorologists reckon it will be here till at least 5pm.

(Anyone who says I've run out of ideas for blogposts, or haven't managed to get out and plant another poem in a shop might be right and they might be right... the christmas cards/ presents are beginning to get on top of me, but I can report that the tree is now properly dressed, though I'm starting to maybe see why my parents turfed it out 12 years ago... all the mismatched bits of it that seemed charming and quaint when i first dragged it to my digs in cork, now just seem kind of mismatched)

See Emerging Writer's blog for the latest poem in a shop shenanigans!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Highlights & Lowlights on monday nights...

These guys (I never found out who they were, but anyone who mixes James Bond and Mozart can't be all bad) were one of the big highlights of last night's launch of "Kay's Book" - an anthology of 8 new short stories in memory of Kay McDonnell, organised and published as the culmination of a short story competition by South Dublin County Council, with a very warm speech about the lady in question.
Other highlights included the warm mince pies, warmer mulled wine, two copies hot off the press of said book with one of my earlier short stories "The Quest" printed proudly therein (it's so lovely to find a home for a story, and this is my first proper short to find a home... a happy moment), nice chat with an inspiring Catalan Poet, and catchin up with a diva.
Lowlights included my genius story not winning first place, it also not winning second place, finally going on to spectacularly fail to win third place, and the lowest light of all perhaps being me telling inspiring Catalan poet that I thought I remembered meeting her last year at Patrick Kavanagh's reading in the Irish Writer's Centre. (It was Pat McCabe I was thinking of... I'm bad with names) (really seriously bad)...
Congrats to the winners, who were - Anne Hennessy in first, followed by Kevin Shannon, and finally Brendan O'Leary, and I am looking forward very much to enjoying their work on a sofa near me soon...

Monday, December 14, 2009

International Put Your Poem in a shop month - Interim Report

First a little interview with the founder of IPYPIASM - or "me" as I am otherwise known

Where did you get the idea for this annual event?
Inspiration first came from a discussion with Emerging Writer, who told me during late November last year that she had got a poem in shop - meaning the magazine, but I had misunderstood - and thought she had a poem in a shop, and thought it was a great idea.
Why do you want to have poems in every shop in the world during the month of December?

I think December is possibly the most hassly month of the year in terms of time spent in shops, queuing in said shops, and the amount of money handed over in said shops, making it overall a kind of stressful experience, thought it would be nice to have a little pressie for shop goers, and reason to make your own visit to the shop more artistically satisfying not to mention more exciting.
Any differences in your approach this year?
YES - I'm so glad you asked that... (stop talking to yourself Niamh, people will think you're weird)... anyway last years poems in shops approach was to put the poem disguised as a note, on a noticeboard, this year the poem goes anywhere in a shop - in with the merchandise - which in some ways was harder than last year, but opened up more possibilities for tying in with the product you were targetting with the poem.
And what has the month achieved so far?

This year we have had up to a 1000% (exact figures are difficult to calculate because for practical reasons I cannot check every single shop in the whole world) increase in poems being placed in shops, and a 2 million percent uplift in international participation with Scotland far in the lead with 5 poems so far...

On with the report - poems placed so far:
I led the way with a poor enough poem about milk, left in a poor shop with some milk, where I bought a bottle of pop that I would never have otherwise bought...Oubliette was next to charge, cheering us no end, with an impulse spur of the moment poem, from the inside of a certain boutiquey garden shoppish place where the recession hadn't made it past the metal detectors.
Then Titus took us international with her 2 poems in a tiny colourful shop somewhere in a scottish village... left up only momentarily, not to scandalise the locals... more from Titus later

Next up TFE got a brave little poem almost wheeled into store by a brave little mouse, who couldn't quite make it, but the poem was still there the next day... no actual evidence of the poem being actually in the shop... ie a photograph, but there is no doubt in my mind that the deed was done, he has promised to complete another mission - this time perhaps with a photo in situ...I followed up with a double bombing of a beauty conscious gift shopper targetted superstore poem, nervewrackingly placed between the boxsets.Hot on the heels of that came Rachel Fox of More about the song - with her beautiful tree poem on a postcard, a gift for anyone that found it among the crackers or the wrapping paper...Titus was back in action very soon after that with one absolutely scandalous and one other brilliant poem, both with spot on product placement, belly laughing stuff.For a little bit of an old classic touch - I presented last years poem among the cabbages on a quick shopping trip.
TFE wrote a fantastic award winning poem about sunglasses which... eh may or may not have some day made it into a sunglasses shop, if there was a sunglasses shop in this country...

An amazingly talented young girl, who just happens to also be my genius neice then completed a dastardly mission to the most beautiful fish shop in Galway with the most fabulously decorated poem about fish that I have ever seen. You'll find more detail on that at her secretary's blog - Man About Forty.So over to you blogworld - half the month is over, but half is still to go - 14 shopping days till the end of December - get out there and put your poem in a shop... and don't forget to let us know about it!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tree Poem

POEMS IN SHOPS HITS GALWAY !!!! - Check Man About Forty's blog for more details... One of the most dastardly adventures in the odyssey yet....

Thanks to Swiss for the ingenius tree exercise, which resulted in the following Tree Poem:

Imposter Garden Tree - removing this for the time being - leave me a comment if you want to see it again


Friday, December 11, 2009

Fintan O Higgins on the radio

This week's guest will be remembered by regular readers as the beyoncé propositioning poet (watch the vid here) who also once wrote for that show of all shows, "Fair City" (It is strongly rumoured that he was responsible for the unforgettably touching scene where Harry and Delores are putting baby Jessica's clothes away after her death, handled with beautiful sensitivity). He has also written for Emmerdale, has an impressive cv of scriptwriting work done both in theatre and television, and has published several of his award winning poems. He has taken the interesting theme of "The context of Poetry" and works as a freelance dramaturge.
He is bringing a first to the show in that we are going to read a piece from one of his scripts, as in - act it, as in - bring it to life, as in - give ye all a great laugh of a Sunday listening to my pathetic attempt at acting. He'll also be reading some of his great poems and giving us some interesting insights into the world of scriptwriting as well as his views on the context of poetry. Don't forget it's now going to be on at the new, more humane, bat time of 4pm... link on the right to Liffey Sound, and as I said before, for you unco-ordinated bloggers, there'll always still be the aul recording... which you can pick up anytime, until then - take it easy...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

If you go down to the shops today

be sure to check under the cabbages for more geurilla poems: this time a classic one of "International put your poem in a shop month 2008" fame

Girl caught beside cabbages, brows sopping
Man beside cereals, thinking of toast
No one here because they always thought shopping
Was the one thing in life they loved doing most

Anyway - some shops don't need our geurilla poems, found a gem on a notice there yesterday in a shop that said "Customers, please use gloves and thongs provided", which had us at home wondering what kind of merchandise would require the use of gloves and thongs only, any theories would be most welcome...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's all the rage in Scotland

Poems in shops are spreading like wildfire - check out Titus, and More about the Song - links on the left, to see the latest genius poems in shops with actual pictorial proof!! I'll be doing a full midway report on the progress of
International Put your Poem in a shop month"
on the 15th of December, where I'll be showing year on year how the month is going - so do let me know if you see any poems in shops that I might not be aware of. It's very exciting tho, and I'd say this year is easily going to kick the ass of last year, since it has actually been international this year...

In other news - thanks to Emerging Writer's blog post about Googling and google alerts, and I had this sudden urge to google myself (ok it's not the very very first time I've ever done it), and found a most exciting result (for me) that being the fact that I am mentioned on this month's Hotpress in reference to my upcoming appearance at the Nighthawks! See the linky dink here.

Not only that but I am in the running for a competition that is being awarded next Monday night in Tallaght Library, (ooh the shakes). I have some very tough competition, with a fantastic story by Oubliette not least among my worries (I've had the joy of reading it, and it's darn good, so will probably beat me, feck it). So I'm just very grateful that I'll have had something published this year.

All of which goes a long way towards making up for the crushing blow that was my PFO from a certain competition which I had sillily worked myself up for...
(One of my writing friends being so successful that he didn't even know what a PFO was kinda cheered me too) (a PFO is a Please Feck Off for those of you who don't know)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Bat Time, Same Bat Channel - an announcement

In order to ensure that you lazy bloggers out there have time to get yourselves up, fed, quieted and attentivated in time for the radio show, the time is changing - from this Sunday I will be broadcasting at the brand new time, but same bat channel for another season of Dreams, Scenes and Themes - which of course is the secret name for the show that's publicly known as the Sunday Scrapbook. The brand new time is 4pm, still of a Sunday, the same bat channel is liffey sound, link on the right there...
I've lots more lovely people lined up to come into the studio, open up their brain and unpack all their valuable insights into writing and life in general for your benefit, and as usual will put up the recordings after the event on
Hope you'll continue to listen...

CLICK HERE for the latest "International put your poem in a shop month" exploits by the brilliant Rachel Fox - this one looks very professional indeed...

AND HERE for the very latest "International put your poem in a shop month" brave poetry in shops by the great Titus!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Poems in Shops hits the big time

This evening
International put your poem in a shop month"
made it to the biggest shop on the planet (or at least the biggest one near to me) and you know what? this stuff is not for the faint hearted... I thought, go for a big browser friendly shop, sure there'll be no bother getting the poems up there, I told myself, (for I had in my pockets 2 copies of my latest poem, since I was covering such a huge footfall), with the crowds there'll be ample cover, I told myself. Not so, my friends, more people equals more people ready to look at you as if you're a big weird poem placing weirdo, plus the millions of staff they have, on the look out for suspicious looking persons such as yourself. I did know this one would be my biggest challenge yet, so I spent some time in the shadows of the car park, saying a fond farewell to the handwritten scraps - one a piece of paper, one cardboard.
Then into the store. Got the cardboard poem stowed first, in behind a box-set - my best hope of it lasting a bit longer with all the eagle eyed staff everywhere (them and their free health care and spectacles and vitamins no doubt because of where they happen to work).Then the paper one, uncrinkled from my pocket, standing loud and proud in front of something that cost 20 euros, maybe someone will think the poem costs 20 euros, (oh if only people were willing to pay 20 euros for a poem!!)
A good day's work - two more poems out there in the wilderness.... Rrrraarrrr!!

If you're frustrated because you can't see the poems properly - send me 20 euros and I'll write them out again for you, alternatively - I did type it out there on a blog post about 3 days back...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lost Camera - but poems in shops will continue...

The second poem for shops is in testing phase at the moment. This time I'm taking a more natural approach, with a hand written version. I have set up a mini-hyper-market gift shop in the kitchen and am in the midst of practising my placement skills, walking by and dropping a slip of paper in the upright position, without looking in the least bit suspicious. HOWEVER I am not practising taking pictures of it, (some would say this is the most important part of the whole exercise, and some would say that some have little to be talking about), because the camera is missing;
This is also why I can't show you the stunning pictures taken on a lovely walk around Bray Head yesterday, including some lovely natural lichen art, and a picture of a fantastic hovering bird, that was so stationary in the sky he looked like an ink blot on a cloud, until we got closer and could see it really was a bird - surfing and playing in the wind currents somehow pausing about 6 feet above a perfectly good perch (ie an electric cable - maybe he was making some kind of environmental point, now that I think of it)... anyway - nor can I show you the fantastic christmas decorations in my house - which I couldn't have shown anyway, because they DON'T GO UP until the 12th of the month, and this year that is going to be a struggle, since I will be out the previous night somewhere around Dubland, busy all day the next day, and out the next night somewhere in Corkland, but I'll manage somehow...
Priority no. 1 right now is the camera, got to find the camera for more poetry in shops antics - TFE is going to put his fabulous award winning sunglasses poem up in a shop near you soon, if he can find a shop selling sunglasses, and there are tons of other lovely poets thinking of doing likewise - Hurrah!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Louise Phillips on the Radio

Joining me on the Sunday Scrapbook tomorrow is the very talented Louise Phillips, her theme is the rather expansive and ever interesting one of "Relationships" and she joins me with one particularly dark story, and some delicious short pieces as well. Usual bat time - 11 am on Liffey Sound - link on the right. Here's her bio:

Louise Phillips having raised her family started back writing a number of years ago and was chosen as part of a small group of emerging new talent for workshops given by Dermot Bolger, then writer in Residence for South County Dublin.

A number of her short stories and poems have since been published. Two of her short stories are contained in anthologies, ‘A Place in Time’ which formed part of ‘Caught in Amber’ an anthology edited by Eileen Casey and Another Road’ part of the County Lines’ anthology published by New Island.

Last year her short, short story ‘The Beads’ was published as one of the winning entries in the National Group Writers Award 2008 (Petals on a Bough) and her short story ‘A Part of Me’ was shortlisted for the Molly Keane Memorial Award.

This year she was the winner of the ‘The Jonathon Swift Award 2009’ for her short story ‘Last Kiss’. Louise has been an active member of Lucan Writers Group for the last three years and is currently working on her second novel.

UPDATE: Check out total feckin eejit's blog for the latest poem in a shop escapade,

Thursday, December 3, 2009

News at the Slippy Pole & The next poem for shops

Amidst all the excitement of "International put your poem in a shop month" you'd be forgiven for thinking I'd be forgiven for forgetting about the most forgotten pole in Ireland, but no - the very latest from the slippy pole, last seen on this blog here and before that here, here, here,
and first spotted here...
Well here it is today - the slippery warning sign is still clinging on for dear life - at this rate it should still be there when the road is actually slippery again and needs a new sign to go up, but instead of spending the country's hard earned money on a new sign the clever council people will point to their great conservational genius and hoist the old sign proudly on the pole. I will, of course, let you know if there are any further developments.

In other news, so invigorated by the immense success of my first poem placement in a shop I have already written the next one. This time to go into a make up counter or gifty chemist type environment. Here it is


Frenzied gift hunt, seek bright shiny crap
Dazed mirror eye contact, you shed glitter like snow
No box-set, cream/ face paint, unguent or slap
Makes you younger or sexier or fitter than now

Poem testing will commence over the weekend...

This just in - new poems spotted in colourful looking shops in titus land - click here for more.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

International Put your Poem in a Shop Month - Launch

Last night was the official launch party for

"International put your Poem in a Shop Month"

with the official first placement of a poem in a shop. Predictably, I hung around the shadows a bit first - not the band - feeling guilty and as if I was about to litter, although really I was just about to give a gift to society, the gift of a poem.

A few glasses of wine and an inspiring play by Abbey Callen called Strandline later, I was ready to do whatever it took for my art and boldly strode into a shop (that I never ever go to), under cover of three fellow writers, made straight for the milk area and placed my poem, got a picture of it quick before anyone could stop me. There were too big security people on the door, and since no one else wanted to buy anything I ended up buying a bottle of a cherry flavoured drink, just in case the burly security men stopped us on the way out and went "Hey you! Did you just leave a poem in the shop?" So, all suspicions dispersed we all merrily went on our way. I just think that maybe next time I'll write a poem about some kind of shop where browsing is ok without buying. After all this is supposed to be some kind of non commercially artistic endeavour and if I just keep buying things every time I put a poem in a shop, that'll just be good for shops.... Ah the problems of a struggling gorilla artist.

LOOKIE HERE For the first poem in a shop outside of this blog!! Well done Oubliette!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Too Many DJs

Not content with bursting onto the blogworld, Mr VC hosted his first radio show yesterday evening on Radió na Life.

You can catch it here.

We are the new posh and becks, or bert and ernie, or bonnie and clyde, or salt and pepper, or sonny and cher, or something

Thanks too for the overwhelming response to the "International put your poem in a shop" campaign, kicking off in a shop near you soon. I have a quiet kind of feeling, I don't want to say it, but it seems like it's going to be even more of a (miserable failure) roaring success than last year - more of last years escapades can be seen here.
The in-home poem test on this week's poem has gone very well and we are ready for full upscaling to launch.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Poems in Shops - an example

So to kick off

"International put your poem in a shop month"

here follows an example of the type of thing we might be looking for:

Foil tops crow pecked in history
Remember friendly face who delivered
Now milk agrows in cartons, plastic shapes,
Fresh dairy cows watch and shiver

And that one would go.... yes you've guessed it (my clever blogeens)... next to the milk etcetera etcetera.

The beauty of placing a poem in a shop in this way is of course that you get to put it where you want, when you want, and with no pesky editors deciding it's not good enough (those astute poetry judges among you will have noticed that the standard in the above is certainly far from prohibitively high) - the biggest difficulty I suppose is going to be the placing and the proof.
Picking up things off shelves in shops is easy, we do it all the time, but putting something there, and taking a photo of it? That could be a bit more difficult. If you want - you could follow last years template of putting up a sign in the ads section of your store, example to be seen here.
Good luck poetry gorillas, I'll be putting my first shop poem up somewhere sometime soon, so keep an eye out next time you pop out for milk, and do let me know how you get on yourself, any tips for how to secretly place a poem would be welcome.

Here's the above poem undergoing rigorous poem testing on my domestic test kitchen replica of a real litre of milk.

(By the way - do have a look at Honey Fungus' chicken poems over on their blog...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another Monday Poem in preparation for International put your poem in a shop month

Yes it's that time of year again - the three weeks or so that I loosely call a month, and urge all great poetry writers out there to get their poems into shops, for


replacing capitalism and consumerism with art. It's inspired by the ShoP magazine, but involves you physically going out there and placing a short poem in a shop and taking a picture of it there. The noticeboard was the target of choice last year, but this year I think we should open it up and put the poem anywhere in the shop - afterall people don't just stare at notice boards...

Write a short poem - no more than 4 lines - decide if it goes with the fruit, the frozen food, the cleaning products, or maybe you're in a different kind of shop altogether. Place the poem, and get a pic, let me know about it and we'll do a grand list of all the links at the end of the "month". Poetry to the people!!

Have fun. Here's how last year's poems in shops month was kicked off.

Back to Words

Do words slow down the mind? Thinking Shhhhhh shhhhhhhhhhhhhh shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh & keeping words out of your head might seem like a pointless exercise, but it is interesting to see how hard it is. Please try this - look at the following gap for a minimum of one minute and see if you can stop any words from passing through your head while you do it.

go on do it - set the alarm now and do it - don't just scroll down to the next bit

For you impatient ones - your loss, shame on you, you're as bad as thierry, but it's only yourself you're cheating, for those who tried it, how did ye get on? Dorothea Brande believed being able to empty your head of words like that is the key to allowing your subconscious break through with more creative and clever ideas than your conscious mind would ever be capable of. This was her big secret of success for writers in her excellent book, Becoming a Writer, and it explains the phenomenon of how some of the best thinking is done without words, how an idea for a brilliant story surfaces after a night's sleep or a long period of non-thinking - ie some writer's swear by scrubbing floors, or organising files, some kind of thoughtless exercise which puts them into a trance-like state - this can then lead to better thinking at a deeper level. And where are we without this? We can't physically go one whole 24 hours without sleep (and thus allowing the subconscious a decent gap in our chattery wordy thoughts to do it's work) without noticing a huge impact on our own well being. (Longer periods of sleeplessness can even lead to psychosis, in one extreme example New York radio DJ Peter Tripp went 201 hours without sleep and suffered serious delusions and eventually a total personality change as a consequence. - but the function of sleep is perhaps a subject for another time)
So maybe let your subconscious do its job from time to time, get your mind away from the world of words, see what difference it makes to the way you think, feel or write...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blathnaid Nolan on the Radio

My guest on the radio this week is the talented Blathnaid Nolan, a recent addition to Lucan Writer's group. Blathnaid grew up in South Dublin where she currently lives with her husband and two children. While always scribbling throughout her adult life – diary entries, letters, bad poetry, it was eight years ago that she decided to take it more seriously and started writing short stories. She is currently attempting a novel set in the 1950’s. Her main interests are character, emotions and the everyday dramas that we all experience. Last year she was published in Dermot Bolger’s critically acclaimed anthology “Night and Day”.

She has chosen the ever interesting theme of

Unrequited Love,

and will be sharing two of her brilliant short stories with us. Do tune in - 11 am Sunday morning... Liffey Sound - link over on the right there somewhere...

That's uploaded now onto the radio blog - link on the right as well... hope you enjoy. Another link worth looking at is Honey Fungus' latest entry - the teen writing group have posted up 2 of their brilliant poems on the ever intrigueing poetic theme of chickens.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Laughs and Shivers and 7 Towers

Poetry is definitely getting more popular and trendy, as comedy was in the 90's, poetry open mics seem to be opening every other day - am thinking of starting one myself, maybe in my house, Niamh's Salon de Póit's, or some such, but that's a story for another time.

On Wednesday night however I ventured into town alone to visit, for the first time, one of the older, more established nights in the city, that being the 7 Towers last Wednesday series, I'd been trying to check it out for ages, and just hadn't made it until now. Like the Glór sessions it's another downstairs kind of place, you feel hidden away in the depths of the pub, with fanciful gossamer drapings behind the stage and red glass chandeliers.
It starts early, 7.30, which is nice, because it then finishes early 10.45, great for those of us who are unable for the late late nights, (except on fridays when the late late makes it acceptable). As I say it's a well established night, run by the folks at 7 towers publications since long before it was cool. There is a great mix at it of young and old, so it feels like a more multigenerational thing than anything I've been at before, and there was a really impressive range of talent on display, about 12 readers, at about 7 minutes each.

The highlights? Steven Conway had a lovely story called Shrodinger's bus, there was a poem about an earthworm surfacing on the M50, Anamaria Crowe Serrano gave us some breath taking poems, literally - catch your breath kinda stuff, there was Andrej - a regular from the Glór nights who blew the crowd away with a cover of a great poem about Tommy Cooper's death, and his own poem was pretty amazing too. Ross Hattaway, Oran Ryan, and Eamon Linskey too made for really very enjoyable and thought provoking listening. A few other really striking readers whose names I didn't catch also gave us a few good laughs and shivers.
I liked the feeling of experimentation there as well, one lady read a poem she had written that very day, it felt very fresh from that point of view, felt like the work was all new to that environment, no reading the same old same old... a challenging thing but also very exciting.
All this, and a good sized crowd at it on a night when we were spoiled for choice with another new open mic The Brown Bread Mix Tape happening at the Stag's head (which I'm reliably informed was also brilliant and which I'll have to try and get to next), and lots of other literary happenings/ launches etc in the city. SPOILED we are.

(Speaking of spoiling if you've read this far I might as well tell you it's Mr VC's Birthday today, he started a blog yesterday - An Flíp - feel free to go over and wish him a happy day, but you don't have to)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Odd one out results - Elementary my dear Watson -

As TFE brilliantly deduced - (see my comments page frm 2 days back) - no 4 was the fib. Indeed I didn't dream of creepy parrots as a child, sure parrots are lovely things, and anyway - you don't dream in colour.

1. I recieved a letter from George Bush Snr - It was a response to my request for an interview for my newspaper, which I ran weekly or whenever I felt like it at the time, 20p per copy for an A4 page back and front. He declined my request - obviously knew of my brilliant and probing interview skills even then.

2. I was a backing dancer in a Bollywood film
- very far back, very very far back, a short film, filmed in dubland earlier this year.

4. I was offered a job on the Statue of Liberty and declined.
This was for the J1, a job in the gift shop, minimum wage, in a city where rent would've been astronomical, you basically would have had to be able to pay for the priviledge - and I wasn't.

5. I had a job breeding fruit flies - this was in a lab in Germany, as part of my college course, I had to feed them. I was useless at getting them to stay where they should stay though, so we used to have little clouds of them around the place.

6. I had a job making cardboard boxes - summer and weekend job during college, one of those things where you never wondered how they were produced until you end up working at the factory where they're made, like the magic door in Bosco.

7. I was nicknamed Sid Vicious as a child. This followed several wrestling matches with my brother and Dad - probably when I was about 5 or 6, both of whom emerged from the fight defeated, with tiny but deep bite marks.

8. I attended the Eurovision song contest - girly holiday with my mam the year Lordi triumphed in Athens. I'd heartily recommend it as a holiday choice. Fantastic hype, great caberet tack and brilliance. And you'll be a mini celebrity for a while afterwards.

9. I was a member of the "Caring and Sharing Association" in my teens, a great fun organisation to be part of, organising social events for people with disabilities - despite the corny name it was one of the best things I ever did.

10. I had a note for a fictional verruca for several years worth of PE
- this is true, my mother collaborated and rewrote it for me whenever it got old looking. At the end of one of the terms the PE teacher wrote "Hope the verruca clears up for next year" on my report card.

The Wind and the Willies

You hardly ever see a leaf actually being plucked from the branch by the wind, like the way you hardly ever see a bird die but you know it must happen, (unless they're all immortal apart from the ones that end up squoooshed on the road) today the air is alive with the leaves, watch almost any tree for a few seconds and you'll see it reluctantly parting with one more of it's food providers in this wilderness that became suburbia (a fact that no one has yet told to the wind). There is a child's buggy stuck up a tree on the balgaddy road too, unless it grew there, like the one that's growing just on the green off the coldcut road. This morning it was shaking threateningly in the wind, and made me worry a little more than normal about what will happen when the bough breaks, it might happen harmlessly at night, because the worst weather always happens at night, when darkness gives permission to the elements to do what they like, unwatched by anyone. I still felt a stirring of something communityish, unselfish, to do something to prevent someone (who happened not to be looking up as they walked along, day or night) from getting squooshed. So I rang the gardaí, but think maybe you should too, because much as the man at the other end of the line sounded like he was taking it seriously and assured me they would look into it in a few minutes time, I think I'd have hung up and laughed a bit, and maybe muttered something about catching real criminals.
In other news - the new version of Word is giving me the Willies - everytime I try to type the word wellies - it mischieveously changes it to willies, automatically, creepy eh (In ireland some of us say something gives us the willies when we find it a bit scary - for my millions of international readers)
On the odd one out quiz of yesterday, no one has yet guessed correctly, so keep those guesses coming, and I thought ye knew me!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The odd one out quiz

Hopping on the bandwagon alongside Rachel Fox, and Titus the dog, here's my list of ten random facts about me, one of which is a lie. Over to you to sort fact from fiction.

1. I once recieved a letter from George Bush Senior.

2. I was backing dancer for a scene in a Bollywood film.

3. I had a recurring dream about scary parrots as a child.

4. I was offered a job on the statue of liberty, but didn't take it.

5. I once had a job breeding fruit flies.

6. I once had a job making cardboard boxes.

7. My nickname as a child was Sid Vicious.

8. I once attended the Eurovision song contest.

9. I was a member of the "Caring and Sharing Association" in my teens.

10. I had a PE note for several years running which excused me from PE because of a fictional

Monday, November 23, 2009

If you're doing nothing else tonight

You should have a listen to RTE 1 at 7pm, there will be a live broadcast from the infamous Glór sessions from the international bar. It should be pretty cool... it usually is - whether or not the world is watching - more details of performers etc over on Uiscebot's blog.

If you are doing something else, let me know what it is.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Language as a window

The "go héasca" thing got me thinking, the confusion - and a word that seems to mean fast and slow at the same time, isn't all that surprising after all. Go héasca can mean easy and slow, but when you think about it, the easy way to do something can also be the short way and therefore the faster way.
Language and words are used and taken for granted as representing the real world, but they are not actually the real world themselves. They are just symbols invented, refined, over the years, tools of description. But it does make me wonder how much we take them for granted, and allow them to shape the way we think. Lately I have occasionally found myself "thinking in Irish" - which suggests that language does have a huge role in our thinking. The way we phrase things, seems to come naturally, but it's handed down and evolves from generation to generation, like a cultural DNA.
In his latest book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell relates how a Korean airline switched to training its staff in English, which it found had the effect of making staff more assertive, and more likely to persist when warning their bosses of safety issues; ie in Korean they might have said
"Boss, I think we're nearly out of fuel, we should land somewhere soon" and the boss would say
"No we'll be grand" and they'd say
"Ok then" - because of the huge respect for seniors inherent in the language they didn't challenge decisions, and lots of people died. Whereas in English they were more likely to say
"Eh, no I really think we need to land, have a look at the fuel tank dial there."
I suppose the point is that we need to be aware of the effect of our language on us, the restraints and freedoms of what it allows us to express, the things it allows us to see, and the things it might be hiding from us - things we mightn't be able to put into words but things we should still know.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Joan Power on the Radio

Joining me this week on the radio is the lovely Joan Power with a show on the theme of "Tales of Loss and Lunacy"
A member of St Muirin's writing group in Tallaght, Joan is a very entertaining writer, and will be reading some of her very funny stories for us. The usual time, 11 am on Sunday - link to Liffey sound on the right.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Various Things - some about words

The Irish word Póit is pronounced a little bit like poet - and means excessive drinking or hangover.
"go héasca" means fast to the Aran Islanders, and means easy and slow to the Connemara fishermen, so that when they go fishing together and one crew is shouting the instruction to let the nets out "go héasca go héasca", frantically urging them on, the other side is wondering how they could possibly go any slower.
German homeless people and sex workers get up early in the morning, and at least one walks around with her finger stuck in a book to keep her place in it.
No one in any American company is given any job below the level of Vice President, and most are CEOs.
The word yes is contained in the word eyes, the word no in the word nose.
In other news - here's an interesting article on how some great novels were written.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Drama Queen

Remembering Joan,

The most encouraging, generous, funny and brilliant friend anyone could ever hope for. It was a huge privilege to know her and she will be most sadly missed.

here's one of her favourite songs.

Monday Poem

Who says it has to be a Monday to put up a Monday poem? This week, the week the world will remember for the day the earth stood still, I am bringing Monday forward 4 days, who needs squelchy Friday with all the casual clothes and feel good "What ya doin for the weekend?" vibe - let's go for it - straight back into the working week - Today is Monday. So here is the Monday poem. For the Monday poetry bus, that is no longer running.
I don't know if I like it (the poem I mean) - it came from a challenge that Matt Bolton set me - to make a poem out of a story. In other news, I'm rather tired of having blogposts with days of the week in the title, which is why I'm trying to work them all out of my system this week, so that I can go back to the unroutine business of putting up whatever I darn well feel like putting up, no matter what the day. Anyway...