February and March

4th February

Mark Whelan

You can listen to Mark’s reading here.

Mark Whelan is a Limerick born poet. His works have been published in journals both at home and abroad, some of which have been translated into French, Spanish and Farsi. He has read at the Murcia International Poetry Festival and in 2005 was invited along with poets Ciaran O Driscoll and Robin Parmer to read at The South Poetry Festival Brighton. His first book of poems, Scarecrow Diptych, is illustrated by artist John Shinnors with an introduction by Jo Slade. (Anam Press 2003). He is a committee member of Cuisle Limerick City International Poetry Festival. Mark will be reading from his latest collection, Always Pushing the Pull Door.


11th February

Ó Bhéal in association with Poetry Ireland presents

Gearóid Mac Lochlainn

You can hear Gearoid’s performance here.

Gearóid Mac Lochlainn is an award winning Belfast poet / musician who performs in Irish and English. Gearóid mixes both languages and various musical traditions in his performances and his work is a hybrid blend of musical and literary influences from Gaelic Sean-nós to blues. Gearóid has been writer in residence at Queens university and The University of Ulster. He was a fellow at the University of Massachusetts in 2007.


18th February

Raven (USA)

You can hear Raven’s performance here.

Originally from San Francisco, now residing in Dublin, Raven is one of Ireland’s most prolific, enthralling and exciting live poets with a rare gift of passion, power and sincerity in both his words and delivery. Runner-up at the Inaugural Electric Picnic Poetry SLAM 2007, he performs at many poetry events and Open Mics in and around Dublin. He is also a regular visitor to the North-West.

“A San Francisco native son. Cut my social and poetic eye teeth on the Beats (can’t avoid them in the home town), free verse, comic books, jazz, hip hop, punk, politics, street theatre, and the wilds of California. Relocated to this hemisphere to get a truer perspective on the other one, (and for love — another story, another time). Father, son, brother, husband, comrade, black, African American, colored, film maker, photographer, visual artist, teacher, activist, liar, thief, addict, geek, hippie, punk, rapper, poet. List of labels. 42 years… still… just Raven…”

“… I found my orphaned voice one day, living in the ruins of a house collapsed years ago beneath the weight of what was unspoken. I sculpted diction like pulp fiction and gifted it the colloquial violence of a gun. I lifted glib scriptures from a street preacher’s passions to fashion misspelled gospels from its own fears, while the illegible heart left the tracts of its tears untranslated – but the word got out.”


25th February

Gary King

You can listen to Gary’s reading here.

Gary King was the runner-up in the 2007 Cuirt Festival Poetry Grand Slam. He has read his poems at the popular White House reading series in Limerick, and been a featured reader at the Over The Edge series in Galway. He was also short-listed for the 2006 Cuirt Festival/Over The Edge showcase reading. Gary’s poems have been published widely in magazines such as Poetry Nottingham, Criterion, West 47 & The Burning Bush. A chapbook of his poems, Ambiguous Lights, was published by Over The Edge in 2004.


3rd March

Trish Casey

Trish Casey, from Cobh in Co. Cork, is a graduate of the Gaiety School of Acting. She won the performance prize in the RTE Rattlebag Slam at the Dublin Writers’ Festival in 2003 and the Cúirt Grand Slam in 2004. As well as writing and performing, Trish works as a voice/performance coach, and has coached the last three winners of the Cúirt Grand Slam. Trish has performed her work across Ireland, as well as in England, Wales and the United States. Her poetry has been anthologised on two occasions, and amongst other publications her work has appeared in the Irish Times and a recent Leaving Certificate Geography textbook. She is currently working on her first full collection. Trish lives in Co. Galway.

-‘a wonderful poet’. Annie Proulx, Pulitzer Prize Winner.

-‘blow to the solar plexus.’ The Irish Times, 2003.

-‘the perfect poet for our dark era – funny, aggressive, tender, insightful, confrontational – If Lenny Bruce were reincarnated as a feisty Irish woman, he’d strut the stage as Trish Casey.’ Ken Bruen, Crime Novelist.

-‘rip-roaring performance with aggressive satire, comic intensity’ The Irish Times, 2004.

-‘and a caustic eye for the fashionable contemporary in poems that are one minute laugh-out-loud, the next minute troubling and thought provoking.’ Pat Boran, Poet and Programme Director of Dublin Writers’ Festival.

-‘her ventriloquial skill soars above the work of her fellow-poets.’ Metre, Autumn 2004.


10th March

Desmond Swords (UK)

You can hear Desmond’s performance here.

Desmond Swords is a poet from Ormskirk in Lancashire, of a West Mayo and Mayo-West Cork mother and father. Poetry Director of the Monster Truck Art Gallery, Desmond’s research area is the four cycles of Irish myth. He is a Cuírt Poetry SLAM finalist and instigater of the Inaugural All Ireland SLAM Poetry Championship in 2007.

His work has appeared in numerous mainstream and avant-garde print and internet publications throughout Europe and America, including Blazevox, Aesthetica, Neon Highway, X Magazine and West 47. A regular at the lectern and Open Mics of Dublin, he straddles both the wine and cheese and demotic mob, a must see live skill honed over many moons of blather and craic, his work appears all over the internet in poetry and prose.

His practice is at the cutting edge of internet technology and is showcased in the Ó Bhéal ‘youtube’ video collection here


17th March

James Kelly

You can hear James’ performance here.

Hailed as the last of the modern wandering bards, James Kelly has published several collections and hundreds of pamphlets of his poetry over the past 20 years.

Homeland and other Poems, is James’ latest collection. These are new poems, notably Ballybunnion, about the author’s home town. The collection includes many poems with North Kerry in mind, where Kelly attempted to grow up. The River is a long poem written in historical Lismore, Co.Galway.

This is a varied collection which will be of interest to those who have read or heard his work On the Road at Fleadh Cheoils such as Willie Clancy week, arts festivals and on the streets of Dublin and throughout Ireland.


24th March

Kevin Higgins

You can hear Kevin’s reading from Time Gentlemen, Please here.

Kevin Higgins lives in Galway, Ireland, where with his wife Susan Millar DuMars he co-organises the Over The Edge literary events in Galway. His first collection of poems The Boy With No Face was published by Salmon in February 2005. The Boy With No Face was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award. It has recently gone to its second printing. A second collection, Time Gentlemen, Please, will be published very soon by Salmon. Kevin has read his work at most of the major literary festivals in Ireland and at a wide variety of venues and festivals in Britain, France and the United States. He won the 2003 Cuirt Festival Poetry Grand Slam; and was awarded a literary bursary by the Arts Council in 2005.

‘What makes Higgins’ work so fresh is that the objects of his wrath are both contemporary and powerful. He does not kick people when they are down, like the fake satirist, or flog dead horses for a comfortable audience. His targets are doing damage now and he’s out to get them.’ Books Ireland


31st March

Ó Bhéal in association with Poetry Ireland presents

Derek Mahon

You can hear Derek’s reading from the evening here.

Derek Mahon was born in Belfast and now lives in Kinsale, Co. Cork. He has published several collections of poetry, the most recent being Somewhere the Wave (Gallery Press 2007). Derek was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Trinity College and at the Sorbonne. He was a teacher before taking on a career in journalism and writing, and was greatly influenced by Louis MacNeice and W H Auden. According to the critic Hugh Haughton his early poems were highly fluent and extraordinary for a person so young.

Derek has also translated a large number of plays and poems and is the most recent recipient of the David Cohen Prize in 2007, for recognition of a lifetime’s achievement in literature. Other awards include the Irish Academy of Letters Award, the Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize, and Lannan and Guggenheim Fellowships.

He has also explored the genre of ekphrasis: the poetic reinterpretation of visual art, and in that respect he has been interested in 17th century Dutch and Flemish art. Derek Mahon has been cited as a major influence by a number of Irish poets, including Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, and Eamon Grennan.