Honouring Eavan Boland – #lettersfromladyn

WP_20171122_005Thrilled to hear that Eavan Boland will receive a Bob Hughes Achievement Award at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards next week.

I first came across Eavan Boland in my twenties while working on a ‘feminist’ thesis (in the area of business) and as a hidden poet.

The outcome my  thesis supervisor –  who had asked me to pursue the ‘research question’ – clearly expected me to find was that while there were unmistakely statistically very few women in management roles in Irish industry at the time, this was due either to the normal course of events or if, in the offchance there was a problem, it was the fault of women. I know I don’t need to specify the gender of this, my ‘first’, supervisor. I found a rather more complex picture – and subsequently a new supervisor.

I found both Eavan Boland’s poems and her critique in the journal section of the Boole Library in UCC. It’s funny how a person could get diverted from ‘Strategic Managment Monthly’ and the HBR…

in any case, I had, and still have, massive admiration for her speaking truth to power about the unfairness inherent in the differential reception of men’s and women’s poetry, while at the same time having a buoyant practice and a lifetime commitment to creating poetry which has both something integrous to say to people’s lives and is rigourously composed to a fluid standard of the best of what poetry can be. Some of my favourite poems have been composed by her.

I was thrilled when she became guest editor of Poetry Ireland Review and have loved these editions. I was also delighted to find, which I didn’t know, that she had been involved in the development of Arlen Press which has recently returned and is beginning to have quite an impact on women’s poetry here in Northern Ireland very recently.

I worry a bit about lifetime awards and adulations as there is a sense that people are on the one hand being feted and on the other being put out to pasture. But in this case, I have no worry. This woman will keep her own counsel. May she flourish.

 

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My postcard story from @JanCarson7280 from #NewZealand has arrived.

“It wasn’t his bones or muscles refusing him so much as his interest in being anywhere but here, at the end of the pier, staring out to sea.” Jan Carson ‘Postcard Story from New Zealand’ 07.11.17

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This week has started very well indeed. Many thanks, Jan – love it!!!

Get the full story on Jan’s Blog – Jan Carson Writes

“Where my River Flows” – @lagannavigator deadline extended to 5 December

Ormeau Bridge in late 2001 was the first time I was aware of being in the presence of the Lagan River.

6tag_071117-135743This autumn, I’ve had the privilege of working with a range of groups exploring and writing about connections, memories, links to the Lagan River – or other rivers that people have connections with. I’ve learned there is much more to Lagan River than I had previously imagined.

I would like to say a huge word of thanks to all who worked with me and shared so creatively their insights, experiences, recollections and links to this mightly amenity that flows on regardless – and touches the lives of so many, connecting place to place, and also connecting generations and ways of life – disappearing and approaching.

E-book Submission Reminder and Extended Deadine Confirmation

These workshops are part of a call out from Lagan Navigation Trust as part of their first Storymaking Festival to everyone for submissions to an e-book which will showcase the river through the eyes of those who know it best and those who live in the communities close to it.

Some updates

  • Lagan Navigation Trust have let me know that while they have had a good response to their call, they have room for plenty more so they have extended the deadline until the 5 December.
  • They are also accepting pieces on the more general theme of ‘Where my River Flows’ (for those whom the Lagan is not their river).
  • They have let me know that they are allocating some prizes to be chosen from those who submit, as well as possibility of having you piece selected as part of a video (generously supported by the Community Arts Partnership) see next:
  • Linked to the video creation, if there are any budding filmakers, they also have a limited number of places available for workshops with an experienced cameraman and filmaker who will work with a small group to create a short film based on poems and stories about the Lagan. This would be happening between now and the middle of January and you will have the opportunity to storyboard the video, learn to use the equipment and go out and film with the guidance of the facilitator. The film would be aired at the storymaking event in February at the Lagan Valley Island Centre. To book a place contact maire@lagannavigationtrust.org

You will find all the details, guidelines and online submission on the Lagan Navigation Trust Website.

Lagan Navigation Trust Storymaking Festival

The Festival will close with a celebratory event, as part of National Storytelling Week, with awards being given for selected stories in each age category. The event will be held on Friday 2nd February 2018 at the Island Hall, Lagan Valley Civic Centre, Lisburn.

 

The @PoetryJukebox @BelfastFestival launch 12 Oct @CrescentArts

 

This innovative project from Belfast based poets Deirdre Cartmill and Maria McManus is part of the Qoutidian – Word on the Street project which seeks to put poetry into public space, to surprise and delight the unsuspecting. The Poetry Jukebox is brought to you in collaboration with Piana na ulici, Prague.

A special launch of the Poetry Jukebox on 12 October as part of Belfast International Arts Festival celebrates the arrival of this new, funky and permanent landmark to the island of Ireland for the first time. Come to Crescent Arts Centre and hear some of the first round of Poetry Jukebox poets read their works at 7pm. The event is free to attend. Just come along no need to book.

The Poetry Jukebox (now with its own twitter feed @PoetryJukebox ) first curation is a combination of open call and invited poets:

Joan Newmann
Michael Longley
Eavan Boland
Celia de Fréine
Stephen Sexton
Mark Granier
Paula Meehan
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
Katie Donovan
Padraic Fiacc
Mary Montague
Adam Trodd
Adrian Fox read by Matthew Rice
Nessa O’Mahony
David Braziel
Seanín Hughes
Olive Broderick
Eamon McGuinness
Afric McGlinchey

Find out more about the initiative in this Irish Times Article.

Here’s a sneak peek of me, courtesy of the Belfast Telegraph, reading ‘Friar’s Bush Cememtery’ (Night Divers 2017) – HERE

Find the sneak peek preview of those recorded in Belfast during the week HERE.

The Poetry Jukebox is a gorgeous new fixture. Contents will change every few months. If you are passing the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast, you won’t miss. Do have a listen.

 

Where my River Flows – @LaganNavigator Storymaking Festival Call for #Lagan stories.

Do you have a story, memory or link with the River Lagan or the Lagan Navigation?

The Lagan Navigation Trust (LNT) is inviting people and community groups who are interested in the rich heritage of river, canal, land and water, to get involved in it’s first Storymaking Festival.

The project “Where My River Flows” brings the past, present and future of this national treasure to life through the sharing of stories of those connected to it. Tapestry and creative writing workshops are two ways to get involved in this project which takes the Navigation, and all that it touches, as its inspiration.

The Festival started in September 2017, with facilitated workshops available until the end of October. Each workshop will provide the group with the skills necessary to produce a tapestry panel or create individual or collective stories/poems. Submissions will go forward for shortlisting to be included in the Festival, the Festival eBook and the Festival Video.

Submit your written pieces:

  • Submit a story (500 words max) or poem (30 lines max) in the relevant age category (under 11 years old, Under 16 years old and 17 +) via the online form (see also t&cs) on LNT’s website HERE 
  • Attend an open workshop at Navigation House on Saturday 30th September or 29th October (Spaces are limited, so early booking is essential)
  • Picking up a ”Where My River Flows” postcard from; Lisburn Visitor Information Centre, Ormeau Library or Lurgan Library, affix a stamp and post your story or poem back to The Lagan Navigation Trust, Navigation House, 148 Hillsborough Rd, Lisburn, BT27 5QY. Or simply fill in your contact details along with your story or poem and return to the Storytelling Festival post box provided at each of these three venues.

Storytelling Event

The Festival will close with a celebratory event, as part of National Storytelling Week, with awards being given for selected stories in each age category. The event will be held on Friday 2nd February 2018 at the Island Hall, Lagan Valley Civic Centre, Lisburn.

Some Inspiration

(1) Jo Bell, former Canal Laureate, reads her poem ‘Lighter’ created for the Lagan Navigation’s Anniversary (2013)

 

Leaflet

 

Save the Date: #KnowingtheDance Premiere at @Down_arts Centre (9 Sept)

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Knowing the Dance‘ Premiere

Inspired by WB Yeats’ famous question ‘How can we know the dancer from the dance?’, this performance of a thought-provoking sequence of dance~poems is created and performed by poet Olive Broderick and dancer Paula Guzzanti, joined by musician Martin Devek. The performance is a showcase of how dance and poetry can inhabit a shared creative space while honouring the individual practices of poet and choreographer. Introduced by Damian Smyth (Head of Literature & Drama at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland), the performance will be followed by a Q&A session.

‘Knowing the Dance’ is supported by the Arts Council NI through the ACES Scheme, and Down Arts Centre.

Date: Saturday, 9 September

Venue: Down Arts Centre, 2-6 Irish Street, Downpatrick, BT30 6BP

Time: 7-8.30pm

Price: £5 (ticket booking available from August on 028 4461 0747)

Please note that the performance will be preceded by a workshop 2 hour (3.15-6.15m) ‘Knowing the Dance’ masterclass. More information to follow.

Artists’ websites

www.PaulaGuzzanti.com

www.MartinDevek.com

www.lettersfromladyn.wordpress.com

http://sarahwarsop.com/

Landing Places @CrescentArts (29 July, 8pm) – #saveheaneycountry #A6winwinsolution

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Come join #SaveHeaneyCountry for a beautiful Heaney-themed evening celebrating our natural & cultural heritage

Poet, playwright and photographer Maria McManus is spearheading the gathering of poets, spoken word artists and musicians for this fundraiser at the Crescent Arts Centre. (BOOK HERE).

Lough Beg

The strand at Lough Beg, one of the most epic, serene landscapes in Ireland, and practically hidden from view, is one of the last great undisturbed wetlands in Ireland. Alive with some of the rarest species of plants and birds in Europe, archaeologists tell us that the now endangered whooper swan has come to Lough Beg from Iceland for 80,000 years…to overwinter and to breed.

This is the landscape that nourished, obsessed and inspired perhaps the greatest literary figure of the twentieth century, Seamus Heaney.  However, landscape in which the thematic triumphs of Nobel Prize winning literature are located: Mossbawn, Anahorish, Lagan’s Road, The Broagh, Creagh, places immortalized by Heaney, now face the prospect of 22,000 vehicles per day, motorway bridges & further development.

Now more than ever we need to protect our last few wild places and our cultural heritage.

The protection of Lough Beg & a creative solution to the rerouting of the A6

Judges will make a final decision on the fate of Lough Beg on 11th August 2017.  One couple have fought this in a David & Goliath battle and they need your financial and moral support. This is your chance to help them save Lough Beg and protect it for future generations. #SaveHeaneyCountry are fully in support of better road infrastructure for ‘west of the Bann’ but feel that with thought and creativity a win-win solution can be found to reroute this small 4mile section away from this precious habitat and with the recently built Homeplace Centre the value of this special landscape can truly be realised.

We hope you can make it on the night but, if not, do consider donating to the campaign clicking here.