August and September

6th August

Hugh O’Donnell

You can listen to Hugh’s reading here.

Hugh O’Donnell was born in Dublin in 1951. He has published three collections of poetry: Roman Pines at Berkeley (Salmon Publishing, 1990); Planting a Mouth (Doghouse, 2007); and No Place Like It (Doghouse, 2010). He was shortlisted for the Strokestown Poetry Prize in 2009. This year his revised work of creation spirituality, Eucharist and the Living Earth, was published by Columba Press. He is a regular contributor to A Living Word on RTE radio. A selection of his haiku appear in the recent Shamrock Haiku Journal (ed. Anthony Kudriavitsky).


13th August

Ó Bhéal in association with the Cork City Council presents
a Twin Cities Celebration with Coventry poets

Janet Smith and Jayne Stanton

You can listen to Janet’s reading here and to Jayne’s reading here.

Originally from Yorkshire Janet Smith is a scientist and poet living in Birmingham. Her poetry is found in the small press, the radio, a Warwickshire poetry trail and at readings across the Midlands. She has published poems in Abridged (0-23 – Desire and Dust) and Hearing voices. Seven poems are in press, two of which come out in Orbis in the spring. She is currently working on her first collection.

Jayne Stanton’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Staple, Hearing Voices, Under the Radar, The Journal, Poetry in the Waiting Room (for Derby hospitals) and others. She is an active member of her local writing community and a regular reader/performer at poetry/spoken word events in the Midlands.

She blogs at:


20th August

Eleanor Hooker

You can listen to Eleanor’s reading here.

Eleanor Hooker lives in North Tipperary. She has a BA (Hons. 1st) from the Open University, an MA (Hons.) in Cultural History from the University of Northumbria, and an MPhil in Creative Writing (Distinction) from Trinity College, Dublin. She was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series in 2011. Her poetry has been published in journals in Ireland and the UK. She is a founding member, Vice-Chairperson and PRO for the Dromineer Literary Festival. She is a helm and Press Officer for the Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat. She began her career as a nurse and midwife. Her debut collection The Shadow Owner’s Companion was published by Dedalus Press in February 2012.

Eleanor Hooker’s debut collection of poems is a rich and sometimes unsettling book, full of warm presences, but also open to an otherness, at best glimpsed or half-heard but nonetheless real. If childhood might be called a persistent whispering on the other side of the door, the poems in this collection attempt to hear that voice, mapping out the landscape between the interior childhood world of terror and wonder and the exterior adult world of surreal reflections. – Dedalus Press

Eleanor will also be holding a wordshop entitled Three Mismatched Shoes, from 7.00pm to 8.30pm at Ó Bhéal. For more details click here.


27th August

Marie Coveney and John Saunders

You can listen to Marie’s reading here.

Marie Coveney grew up in Co. Cork and studied at the Crawford College of Art. Her poem Our Time won the American-Ireland Fund Single Poem competition at the Listowel Literary Festival in 2008. Her work has been published in Poetry Ireland Review, THE SHOp, The Stony Thursday Book and Southword Online. She performed at the 2010 West Cork Literary Festival in the ‘Next Generation Poets’ reading and at The Kinsale Arts Week, 2011. She was awarded special merit in The Dromineer Literary Festival 2010 and shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Award (Collection) 2010. She was published in The Sunday Business Post, 7th March 2011, having been featured in BBC1 TV Spotlight programme. She has also been shortlisted for The Listowel Collection Competition 2011, and The Cork Literary Review Manuscript Competition 2011. Twenty-one of her poems were published in Measuring: Dedalus New Writers 1 (Dedalus Press, 2012).

You can listen to John’s reading here.

John Saunders‘ first collection After the Accident was published in 2010 by Lapwing Press, Belfast. His poems have appeared in Revival, The Moth Magazine, Crannog, Prairie Schooner Literary Journal (Nebraska), Sharp Review, The Stony Thursday Book, Boyne Berries, Riposte, and on line, The Smoking Poet, Minus Nine Squared, The First Cut, The Weary Blues, Burning Bush 2, Weekenders, Poetry Bus and poetry 24.

John is one of three featured poets in Measuring: Dedalus New Writers 1 published by Dedalus Press in May 2012. He is a member of the Hibernian Poetry Workshop.


3rd September

Kit Fryatt

You can listen to Kit’s reading here.

Kit Fryatt was born in 1978 in Tehran and has lived in Ireland since 1999. She managed the Wurm im Apfel series of readings and associated Wurm Press ( in Dublin and has been the MC of the Irish Writers’ Centre open mic, Spoke (third Friday of every month). She has published work in Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, The Shop, Shearsman magazine and many other magazines and journals in Britain, North America and Australia. She has performed at Electric Picnic, the Flat Lake Festival, Mamuska Dublin, Tongue Box, Nighthawks at the Cobalt and at other venues in the UK and France. She won the 2010 Singing Fly Prize for her poem Ghastlymake.

Kit’s chapbook Rain Down Can has just been published by Shearsman Books.


10th September

Ó Bhéal in association with Foras na Gaeilge presents

Mícheál Ó hAodha

You can listen to Mícheál’s reading here.

Mícheál Ó hAodha works at the University of Limerick where he is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of History. He has taught across the curriculum of English and Irish studies in the School of Languages, Literature, Culture and Communication, including in the Department of Irish (Aonad na Gaeilge) and the Department of History. He has also lectured on the Irish Life and Literature Summer School (UL) for the past five years.

He has published books on various aspects of Irish migration and on the history of the Irish diaspora including The Turn of the Hand: A Memoir from the Irish Margins (with Mary Ward) (2010) and Insubordinate Irish: Travellers in the Text (2011). He has also written fiction and poetry in both Irish and English. He was recently shortlisted for the Foras na Gaeilge literary prize at Listowel Writer’s Week in Ireland. Slán le hÉirinn (Coiscéim, 2012) is his second book of poems.

Is Gaillimheach é Mícheál Ó hAodha. Tá sé ag obair in Ollscoil Luimnigh. Cuireann sé ailt ar fáil go rialta san Irish Times. Mórán leabhar staire foilsithe aige as Gaeilge agus as Béarla, mórán eile aistrithe aige, ina measc Lacertidae (2012) nó curtha in eagar aige, Trodairí na Treas Briogáide (2012).

For more about Mícheál see


17th September

Supported by the Australian Embassy Ireland
Alex Skovron, Alison Wong
and Andy Kissane

You can listen to Alex’s reading here.

Alex Skovron was born in Poland, lived briefly in Israel, and emigrated to Australia in 1958, aged nearly ten. His family settled in Sydney, where he grew up and completed his studies. Since the early 1970s he has worked as a book editor for various publishers in Sydney and Melbourne, and was general editor of The Concise Encyclopaedia of Australia (1977–79); since 1980 he has lived in Melbourne, and now works as a freelance editor. He is married with two grown-up children.

Skovron’s poetry has been published widely and five collections have appeared to date: The Rearrangement (1988), which won the Anne Elder and Mary Gilmore awards for a first book of poems, and was shortlisted in the NSW Premier’s Awards; Sleeve Notes (1992), shortlisted for the FAW Barbara Ramsden Award; Infinite City (1999), shortlisted in the Age Book of the Year and the Victorian Premier’s Awards; The Man and the Map (2003); and, most recently, Autographs (2008), a volume of prose-poems. He has twice been a recipient of an Australia Council writer’s grant (1994 and 2004), and other awards have included the Wesley Michel Wright Prize for Poetry (1983 and 2005; the latter for the unpublished manuscript of Autographs), the John Shaw Neilson Poetry Award (1995 and 2001), the Manuel Gelman Memorial Prize for Literature (1997), the Kyneton Literature Festival Poetry Prize (2002), and the Australian Book Review Poetry Prize (2007). He has also published a prose novella, The Poet (2005), which was joint winner (with Kate Grenville) of the FAW Christina Stead Award for a work of fiction. A number of his short stories have appeared in print, and a book-length collection is in preparation. Also projected is a New and Selected Poems.

You can listen to Alison’s reading here.

Alison Wong is a third-generation Chinese New Zealand novelist and poet, now living in Geelong. Her first novel, As the Earth Turns Silver, was shortlisted for the 2010 Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. It was longlisted for the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Award. It won the 2009 Janet Frame Award for Fiction, the 2010 New Zealand Post Book Award for Fiction and the 2010 Nielsen Bookdata New Zealand Booksellers Choice Award. It was selected by both the NZ Listener and the Sunday Star-Times as one of the best books of 2009. It is a NZ bestseller and was recently voted by New Zealand readers as one of their all-time Whitcoulls Top 100 Books.

Alison’s poetry collection Cup was shortlisted for the Jessie Mackay Best First Book for Poetry at the 2007 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. Her poetry was selected for Best New Zealand Poems 2006 and 2007. Alison has received numerous awards and grants, including a Reader’s Digest NZSA-Stout Research Centre Fellowship, a NZ Founders Research Award and a grant from Creative NZ. In 2002 she was the Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago and in 2010 she was an Arts finalist for the Wellingtonian of the Year Awards.

Cup is described by Megan Fleming in The Lumiere Reader, as being concerned with ‘details of domestic moments, the wonder of a new child, the falling out of love – but she lends these subjects a humble and attentive form, drawing the reader in, to rest in the space between‘.

You can listen to Andy’s reading here.

Andy Kissane lives in New South Wales and writes poetry and fiction. He has published three books of poetry, Facing the Moon (Five Islands Press, 1993), Every Night They Dance (Five Islands Press, 2000) and Out to Lunch (Puncher & Wattmann, 2009) which was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. His first novel Under the Same Sun (Sceptre, 2000) was shortlisted for the Vision Australia Audio Book of the Year.

Poetry prizes include the Red Earth Poetry Award, the Sydney Writers’ Festival Poetry Olympics, the John Shaw Neilson Award, the inaugural Publisher’s Cup Cricket Poetry Award and the BTG-Blue Dog Poetry Reviewing prize. He has also been placed for many other prizes, such as the Gwen Harwood Poetry Prize, and the Tom Collins Poetry Prize. He has taught Creative Writing at UTS, Macquarie University, University of Western Sydney and recently at UNSW. He is the grateful recipient of a New Work grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council and is currently working on a fourth collection of poetry and the first draft of a novel.

The poems are mostly conversational with no extreme compression of language or dense metaphor. They are lucid and open. His poetry is full of beautiful, softly wrought narratives that move the mind from one experience to the next carefully, almost logically. There is a home-ness quality, a comfort in the poems. And the humour is open and clear. – Robyn Rowland, Poetry & Conversation introduction, Geelong 2011.


21st September

Ó Bhéal in association with Cork City Council presents a special Friday edition of Ó Bhéal for

Cork Culture Night 2012

Séamus Fox

You can listen to Séamus’ reading here.

Having been taken by Hip Hop from the age of 11, Séamus Fox began writing his own raps by the time he was in his late teens and then in his early twenties having discovered Plath, Bukowski, Sexton and Carver to name but a few, he began writing poetry. Around 2006 he began to take his work more seriously and at the beginning of 2007 he was performing regularly at nights around Belfast.

His spoken word phase began in 2008 and in 2009 he won the All Ireland Poetry Slam title, held at North Beach Nights in Galway. His work is a constant flit between Rap and Poetry. In 2010 he published his first book As Seen Through Staggered Eyes (Wild Wind Books, 2010). He has been involved in countless endeavours of all kinds including poetry, comedy and music both as a performer, occasional organiser and host and he has also conducted workshops.

His second book City, a series of poems with one word titles about Belfast, is all but finished and will be going away to publishers when he finds the gears. He does community work in Belfast with DePaul, the SOS Bus and Save The Children and in the past he has worked with the Youth Justice Agency.

For more about Séamus see

As per last year, the evening will follow the usual format with the open-mic being dedicated to:

Cork-based Poems, or poems by Cork Poets, Past and Present


24th September

Ilya Kaminski

You can listen to Ilya’s reading here.

or watch video footage from the evening here.

Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union in 1977, and arrived to the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government.

Ilya is the author of Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press, 2004) which won the Whiting Writer’s Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Metcalf Award, the Dorset Prize, the Ruth Lilly Fellowship given annually by Poetry magazine. Dancing In Odessa was also named Best Poetry Book of the Year 2004 by ForeWord Magazine. In 2008, Kaminsky was awarded Lannan Foundation’s Literary Fellowship. In 2009, poems from his new manuscript Deaf Republic were awarded Poetry magazine’s Levinson Prize. His anthology of 20th century poetry in translation Ecco Anthology of International Poetry was published by Harper Collins in March, 2010. For more on Ilya’s publications visit

In addition, Ilya writes poetry in Russian. His work in that language was chosen for Bunker Poetico at Venice Bienial Festival in Italy. In late 1990s, he co-founded Poets For Peace, an organization which sponsors poetry readings in the United States and abroad with a goal of supporting such relief organizations as Doctors Without Borders and Survivors International. Ilya has read from his work and served as a Writer In Residence at numerous literary centers, colleges and universities, from Harvard to Naropa. He has also worked as a Law Clerk at the National Immigration Law Center, and more recently at Bay Area Legal Aid, helping impovershed and homeless in solving their legal difficulties.

Currently, he teaches Contemporary World Poetry, Creative Writing, and Literary Translation in the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at San Diego State University. He lives in San Diego, Califonia with his beautiful wife, Katie Farris.

Like Joseph Brodsky before him, Kaminsky is a terrifyingly good poet, another poet from the former U.S.S.R. who, having adopted English, has come to put us native speakers to shame… It seemed to take about five minutes to read this book, and when I began again, I reached the end before I was ready. That’s how compulsive, how propulsive it is to read. It wraps you in a world created by a new and wonderful poet. – The Philadelphia Inquirer

This is an intricate, muscular, startlingly powerful collection, one that amazes by image and statement, by its shaped whole, and by the sheer scope of its poetic observation. Kaminsky is truly a descendant of Odysseus, after whom his birth city was named, and his poems reflect both Odyssean wanderings and the liberation of mind that opens the way to craft. Inventiveness of language, the investigative passion, praises, lamentation, and a proper sense of the ridiculous are omnipresent. Kaminsky poems are wholly local yet unprovincial, intimate yet free of ego. This book is a breathtaking debut. – Jane Hirshfield, Ploughshares

Biography compiled from

Ilya will also be reading with Kate Bernheimer at the Cork International Short Story Festival on Saturday the 22nd of September.