Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

Blogging Listowel's Literary Scene

Posting is difficult at the moment

June 26, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: blogs

As I’m under fierce work pressure at the moment, I really don’t have any time to devote to blogging. And Paul O’Mahony is on holidays at the moment, which means that unless some of our readers would like to post, there won’t be much content going up for the next 10 days or so. Or perhaps Jeremy Gould will post something.
We will however get back to our normal output in the near future.

Going to recover after thrill of writing for you

June 13, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: Imagining, painters & paintings, Reflections

I’m going to take a complete break.

Going into a different zone in south west France for 3 weeks.

Complete abstinance from any form of blogging, internetting, texting, twittering, facebooking, mobilephoning

and, hardest of all

no writing… not even a poem.

Not since I learned to write in St Philamena’s school in Limerick, not since I first practised the art of loading ink from inkwell onto a nib, not since I was in short trousers…

have I abstained from writing for 3 weeks.

Why give all that up?

I got a phone call from a wonderful person whom I met at Listowel Writers’ Week. She said:

“You need to paint. Take paint, brushes & paper with you. It’ll take you out of yourself…”

I hardly know this person. I’ve never painted more than blank walls. But, who am I to turn the messenger away?

I leave you in the hands of Patrick Stack & Jeremy Gould, to whom I leave a few draft posts for possible posting.

You, readers, can run this blog without me. You can send loads of comments in, together with photographs & pieces of your writing.

Hopefully, I’ll return a regenerated man. It’ll be really hard not to log on.

Kerry Cancer Support Group were there

June 11, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: connections

We bloggers wanted to pick up, and publicise, what went on around the programme during Listowel Writers’ Week.

Jeremy Gould was particularly keen on this. His enthusiasm rubbed off on me.

It was an accident that caused me to meet people fundraising for Kerry Cancer Support Group. I got a slow puncture, and had to inflate a tyre.

dsc03325I couldn’t help noticing a big coach. Beautifully clean with a small group gathered in front of it.

They welcomed me over. Spared no effort to tell me about the work they do:

They collect people from Kerry who need to go to Cork for cancer treatment. The bus is specially kitted out so that it’s comfortable. Has toilet & fridge on board.


But they’re not funded by the HSE, the health service.

They have to raise the money themselves. HSE centralise cancer services in Cork. Who pays for transporting people over there for treatment?

I thought that sort of stuff was paid by the taxpayer, via HSE. I was shocked.

I promised to publicise this. Perhaps this blog can do some little good.

Twitter on Listowel Writers’ Week

June 07, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, connections

Or should it be Listowel Writers’ Week on Twitter?

Jeremy Gould set this up…

There are many applications around Twitter that would blow your mind…

There is more to Twitter than the fast circulation of questions coming up on Leaving Cert English exam questions.

Lynn Roberts won the poetry collection prize @ Listowel Writers’ Week

June 04, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: competition, creative writing, participants, poem, poet, poetry

Lynn Roberts with Dillon Boyer

Lynn Roberts with Dillon Boyer

At the “Meet the Bloggers” event in Lynch’s Bakery & Cafe,
Lynn Roberts gave us this poem from her winning collection of 12 poems …

Isn’t it a beauty?

Let us consider the translator:

amphibian; moving between elements,
breathing water, breathing air; ingesting
complex planktons under the shark’s
political eye; excreting guano
to fertilize mutual incomprehension;

immigrant loomsman, weaving
from diplomacy’s exquisite fine wool
interlaced carpets of Isphahan or
coarse drugget; making peace or trade;

oenologist, brain yeasty
with spores; fermenting words, converting must
to Chateauneuf du Pape, and standing wine
to vinegar; Homer to Pope, or
poetry to motion;

interpreting the shuttered circles of
a zoo-bound bear into the ordinary round,
or moonlit howl into doleur de vivre;

intermediate woman,
sieving the Sanskrit grunts and verbal
hieroglyphs of teenage speech
through mesh of instinct, winnowing out
the little knotted, folded seeds and grains,
searching for meaning in the alien corn.

Let us consider the translator,
through whom words pass, like water, like wine.

Lynn Roberts.

first published in the book of Writers’ Week Competition Winners.

122 recorded pieces from Listowel Writers’ Week

June 02, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: audio podcast, participants, photographs, Song

I’ve come away with about 122 digitally recorded pieces. Patrick Stack also has recordings.

Songs, interviews, personal reflections and reports, extracts from readings…

An archive eh…

History, to quote Billy Keane, who told me he thought what we were doing by blogging was recording history …

["Pub Theatre entertainment can be found in some of Listowel’s finest hostelries during July & August. Tuesday & Thursday nights the place to be is John B. Keane’s Bar featuring the inimitable Billy Keane presenting is distinctive one-man comedy show & Lartigue Theatre Company presenting the works of the great playwright including the famous “Letters” series – Letters of a Matchmaker, Letters of a Successful T.D."]

What am I (what are we) to do with them?

I’m no podcaster but I suspect I shall be before I’ve finished with all these recordings. I have no intention of wasting a drop.

Meet the bloggers at Lynch’s Bakery and Cafe

May 30, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: events, journalism, participants, poems, poetry, poets

We’re in Lynch’s Bakery and Cafe. Lynn Roberts, winner of this year’s Poetry Collection competition has just come in and sat down at Paul O’Mahony‘s invitation. Jeremy Gould is seated to my left with Phillip Byrne (a concrete poet). The room is reasonably full.
Earlier, Cathy Desmond, a music teacher based in Ennis, wandered in, having just arrived for the weekend. She had a choice of going to see “6 yachts tied up on pier” (her words) in Galway no doubt ogled over by thousands of land-lubbers (my words), the Iniscealtra festival in Mountshannon, Clare, or Writers’ Week. She opted for Writers’ week. She rushes off after a few minutes to catch as much culture as possible in the limited time left.
Mary Lavery Carrig comes in. The funeral of a local Sister passes – she was a great age, Sister Anne was, Mary tells us.
Ronan Tynan has just arrived and sits down. Paul stops recording to give his full attention to the growing assembly of poets – a couple of more and the current stanza of poets will have become a canto of poets.

Kay Donnelly, another writer, arrives – and sits. I met Kay yesterday – she’s based in Waterford.I catch the end of a story Paul is recounting that involves de Valera, poets and Poland. It’s taken from a play he (Paul) is writing in his head.
The discussion swings around to how good the story Gabriel Byrne told at the opening on Wednesday {LINK to POST}. I remark that his piece for Sunday Miscellany (to be broadcast tomorrow morning at 9.10am on RTE Radio 1) was brilliantly written.
The head Librarian from Mayo, whose first name is Austen (or is that Austin?), makes his appearance. I miss the critical bits of the conversation that ensues due to Jeremy and Kay mentioning the 6 degrees of separation theory. Headage payments comes up when Pat McCannon (from Meath) wanders in and gives Paul a copy of a story he wrote for the Special Olympics about his son Niall 12 years ago. Niall played on the basketball team for Ireland at the Special Olympics. The piece was published because of that he tells us. Pat’s grandfather wrote the song “The turf man from Ardee” – Kay knows it.

It’s the 100th anniversary of Brian MacMahon‘s birth, somebody comments and wonders why there isn’t a special event to commemorate it.

One of the multiple interweaving mini-conversations involves spelling. There is too much emphasis on spelling Kay says. Spelling wasn’t standardized until the 1700s (?) I remark.
Mary’s second boy is 13 today – he’s playing football right now.
I learn that Mary Lavery Carrig is a descendent of Sir John Lavery whose painting of Lady Lavery was on one of the old Irish currency notes.
Pauline Frayne and Teri Murray arrive in and sit at the next table.
I spy a gorgeous painting on Jeremy’s laptop and enquire about it. Jeremy tells me he took it at the exhibition in the Lartigue – he bemoans the fact that there was nobody there, as it’s a beautiful space.
Mary reads the first poem from her new collection which she wrote for her son, into Paul’s mobile, for subsequent upload.
Mary tells me that John Sheehan wrote the piece her sons played at the launch of her book yesterday – it’s called “The Marino Waltz” – and was used in the Peat Briquette (of Bord na Mona – not Boomtown Rats – fame) advert on TV.
More than an hour has passed already and it’s time to separate. Teri Murray is kind enough to read one of her poems into my mobile phone for posting on the blog. I’ll be posting it here as soon as I can get an amr to wav or mp3 converter.

In anticipation of Rebecca Miller

May 30, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: events

I’m seated in the reception area of the Listowel Arms Hotel blogging. With 20 minutes to go people are beginning to go in to the large conference room where Rebecca Miller will be doing her thing. Jeremy Gould has just arrived and is frantically trying to locate Paul O’Mahony who has his recharger which he ungently needs. Jeremy rushes off again.

Jung Chang checks in

May 28, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: novels

I’m seated on the sofa just beside the lifts in the reception area of the Listowel Arms Hotel because it is comfortable, there is good wireless reception and a wall socket to recharge the PowerBookG4 as I blog. I look up from what I’m typing and spot Jung Chang walk past into the lift – she is wearing a smart chocolate brown coat and has a small suitcase with her. She has just checked in.

She is giving a reading this evening at 7.00 in the hotel – that’s just under 4 hours away. Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend as I am heading out to Duagh for some dinner and a change of clothes in time for tonight’s Open Mic Poetry session MCed by George Rowley at the Kingdom Bar on Church St.

I’m hoping one of my fellow-bloggers – Paul O’Mahony or Jeremy Gould – can catch her reading.

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