April and May

7th April

Eugene O’Connell and Matthew Geden

You can hear part of the reading here.

Eugene O’Connell was born near the village of Kiskeam in North West Cork. A primary teacher and journalist with various newspapers and magazines, his interests would include local history and the arts in all their shape and forms, as well as anthropology.

Eugene has written poetry more or less continuously throughout his life, has been published in a chapbook Poems of Cork and has produced two collections Chapters of Little Times and One Clear Call. A new collection is ready for the publishers called Babuska. He published one book of translations, Flying Blind ( from the Latvian of Guntar Godins) for the Cork European City of Culture ’05, and collaborated (along with Pat Cotter, Greg O Donoghue and Liz O Donoghue) in The Belling ( from the Hungarian of Lazlo Lator) in the same translation series.

Matthew Geden was born in the English Midlands, moving to Kinsale, where he still lives, in 1990. He has had two chapbooks published by Lapwing; Kinsale Poems and Autumn: Twenty Poems by Guillaume Apollinaire. Poems have also been published in numerous magazines and journals as well as the anthologies Something Beginning With P, Poets for the Millenium and The Backyards of Heaven. He is a co-founder of SoundEye International Poetry Festival and currently runs Bandon Books.


14th April

Ó Bheal’s First Birthday Party

You can view the videos here.

Launch of Five Words Vol I

Five Words is a collection of poems selected from poetry challenges, held in the open-mic sessions at Ó Bhéal in Cork and Write and Recite in Dublin. Also known as The McNamara Slam, after Dublin MC Gerry McNamara, it has become an inseparable part of the Monday Ó Bhéal poetry gatherings. Typically, the audience throw out five words between them, and a fifteen minute break is given for all who are interested in taking part. The poems have to include all five words, and that’s the only rule … then the mic opens up and the fun begins.


21st April

Miceál Kearney

You can hear Miceál’s reading here

Miceál Kearney lives in Co. Galway, the eldest in a family of four. His poems have appeared in The Shop, Revival and Orbis. Winner of the Cuisle Slam (2006), Baffle Bard (2007) and the Cúirt Grand Slam (2007), he has read his work in Ireland, England, Slovenia and Chicago. Miceál was short-listed for the 2007 Cinnamon Press Poetry Award.


28th April

Ian Horn

You can hear Ian’s reading here

County Durham poet Ian Horn has performed in various venues throughout the U.K. and in Europe. He has performed at the Edinburgh Festival, The Glastonbury Music Festival (2004), Wychwood Festival, Hexham Book Festival, Tubingen Book Festival (Germany), Lake Orta Literature Festival in Italy Sept (2006) and at venues in France, Portugal, Holland, Ireland and Hungary. As part of Euro ’96 he was writer in residence at the Bluecoat Arts Centre in Liverpool and he worked for the British Council in Portugal during Euro 2004. He was commissioned by BBC Radio 5 to write a poem for ‘The Death of Football’ series and has also recorded a poem for Danish TV with the English Premiership and Denmark goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen.

As a genuine troubadour of ‘the beautiful game’ with a commitment to reaching a young audience, he has appeared in over 60 schools and colleges throughout Britain. In 2000 he was awarded a Northern Promise Award from the literary development agency New Writing North. He recently collaborated with Northern Sinfonia on a sound/text response to the music of Mozart. Recent commissions include working with the government agency ‘Culture North East’ to promote the region and the Biritish Council in Amsterdam in association with Philosophy Football ( Holland v England). He is an active committee member of Colpitts Poetry which has been promoting literature in Durham City since 1975.

His publications include ‘Verses United‘, an anthology of football poetry published by Durham Books to great acclaim in The Times Literary Supplement and a pamphlet, ‘Jazz from the Collieries‘. His most recent collection is ‘The Singing Ducks of Amiens‘ (Dec 2007) published by Mudfog.

“You were truely great and had the audience in your hand.” – Robert Lonsdale, The Write Room.

“Ian’s workshop was the best workshop we had done, simply because it was a much more active way of doing poetry. There was so much feeling generated.” – Mike Tracy, West Derby Comprehensive, Liverpool.


5th May

Fred Johnston

Fred’s reading can be heard here.

Fred Johnston was born in Belfast in 1951 and worked most of his professional life as a journalist; in the mid-seventies, with Neil Jordan and Peter Sheridan, he joint-founded the Irish Writers’ Co-operative. In 1986 he founded Galway’s annual Cuirt festival and later the Western Writers’ Centre. In 1972 he received a Hennessy Literary Award for prose. Nine collections of poetry, four novels and a collection of short stories have been published, including ‘Artalanta‘ (Collins Press), ‘Keeping The Night Watch‘ (Collins Press) and, more recently, ‘The Oracle Room‘ (Cinnamon Poetry UK) and ‘The Neon Rose,’ (bluechrome UK), a novel set in the Paris legal world. He is also involved in traditional music and has produced two solo albums and two others with the group, Parsons Hat.


12th May

Eileen Sheehan

Eileen’s reading can be heard here.

Eileen Sheehan was winner of the Brendan Kennelly Poetry Award in 2006. She is on the Poetry Ireland Writers In Schools Scheme and is currently employed by Co Kerry VEC, teaching Creative Writing. Her collection Song Of The Midnight Fox is from Doghouse Books with a second collection due for publication in 2008. In April she will read at The National American Conference For Irish Studies at St Ambrose University, Iowa, U.S.A.

Eileen has been published in magazines in Ireland and abroad including Poetry Ireland Review, The Shop, The Stinging Fly, Agenda, Equinox, Connections, The Rialto, Staple, Pelagos, Versal and l’Estracelle. Her work appears in, The Open Door Anthology of Poetry (ed Niall MacMonagle),Winter Blessings by Patricia Scanlan and Our Shared Japan (ed Irene De Angelis & Joseph Woods).

‘Eileen Sheehan’s poems are a record of quiet ferocity and love, worked through domestic scenes at once familiar and strange. She can turn a classic lyric like three little words or I Asked My Love, then offer probing, unsentimental poems about ‘Common duties, /things that mothers do/ Enough to heal a child.’ Song of the Midnight Fox is a book that opens to mysteries without surrendering to them. It is a strong and impressive debut.’ – Dr David Mason, Associate professor of English, Colorado University.


19th May

John W Sexton

John’s reading can be heard here.

John W. Sexton, Poet, short story writer, dramatist, children’s novelist, radio scriptwriter and broadcaster is the author of four collections of poetry: The Prince’s Brief Career, Foreword by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, (Cairn Mountain Press, 1995), Shadows Bloom / Scáthanna Faoi Bhláth, a book of haiku with translations into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock, Vortex (Doghouse, 2005) and most recently Petit Mal (Revival Press 2008). He also created and wrote The Ivory Tower for RTE radio, which ran to over one hundred half-hour episodes. His novels based on this series, The Johnny Coffin Diaries and Johnny Coffin School-Dazed are both published by The O’Brien Press, and have been translated into Italian and Serbian.

Under the ironic pseudonym of Sex W. Johnston he has recorded an album with legendary Stranglers frontman, Hugh Cornwell, entitled Sons Of Shiva, which has been released on Track Records. He has been nominated for The Hennessy Literary Award and is currently Fiction Editor for The Cork Literary Review. His poem The green owl won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007 for best single poem and he was recently awarded a Patrick And Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship In Poetry for 2007/2008.

Recent Reviews of Vortex:

‘There is a sense in which John W. Sexton’s impressive third collection is not so much about the ‘possibilities of place’ as displacement’. Sexton’s way of exploring the ‘space inside’ is what makes him different and unusual. It is what gives this collection depth, insight, honesty, and humour. He displays examples of fine poetic craft in his use of allegory, fantasy, mantra-like repetition, and in the sonnet and ballad forms. Amongst the most refreshing things about this collection is that Sexton emerges as his own man, clearly standing apart from trends towards obscurity and self-consciousness that fuel the work of his contemporaries. Vortex you will not forget.’ – John Doorty, The Stony Thursday Book

‘Approaching the fine edge of madness and an outstanding read.’ – Gary Blankenship, Loch Raven Review


26th May

Randall Maggs and Seán Callahan

Randall’s reading can be heard here.

Born in Vancouver, Randall Maggs grew up on the move in a military family, mainly on the west coast and the prairies as well as various places in Ontario, Montreal, Fredericton, and Halifax. After joining the armed forces himself in the late sixties, he left flying and the Air Force to travel through Europe and North Africa and returned later to university to do graduate work at Dalhousie and the University of New Brunswick. For the last thirty years, he has lived on the west coast of Newfoundland and has taught Canadian Literature and Creative Writing at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in Corner Brook.

As co-editor (with John Ennis and Stephanie McKenzie) of However Blow the Winds: An Anthology of Poetry and Song from Newfoundland & Labrador and Ireland and, more recently, The Echoing Years: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and Translation from Canada and Ireland, Maggs was recently awarded a prestigious Coracle Fellowship to expand his work on poetic connections between Newfoundland and Ireland. Following many years as a participant, since 2002 he has been artistic director of The March Hare, a wildly popular festival of writing and music, whose twentieth anniversary was celebrated in 2007 with a tour to Toronto and through Ireland before returning to its usual Newfoundland road show, from St. John’s to Gander to its home base in Corner Brook.

Randall Maggs is the author of the 1994 book poetry Timely Departures and a new 2008 collection Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems, which he will read from on the evening. His award-winning poetry has been published in many anthologies and the literary magazines The Antigonish Review, Arc, CV2, Dandelion, The Fiddlehead, Grain, The New Quarterly, Poetry Ireland Review, TickleAce, and The Wascana Review.

Seán’s reading can be heard here.

Seán Callahan was raised on a farm outside of Louisville, Kentucky. He attended the University of Kentucky where he studied Journalism, specialising in foreign correspondence. In 1999 he left Kentucky and moved to Cork, Ireland where he lived for 8 years. He currently resides in Tralee, Co. Kerry.

Seán’s poetry draws from his upbringing in rural Kentucky, his life in Ireland and is heavily influenced by the power of landscape and personal mythology. He has been published by the U.S. National Library of Poetry and is currently the featured poet in The Gallery of The Desert Moon Review website. He has recently published his first chapbook, Lore.