December 2007 and January 2008

3rd December

Helen Kavanagh-Ronan (UK/IRL)

Helen’s performance from the evening can be heard here.

Writing from an early age, Helen Kavanagh-Ronan was born in London and educated mainly in Ireland. She considers herself to be a poetic writer as opposed to a poet. Her work is considered to be a dichotomic, sometimes dark, look at life: Helen’s work tends to be very philosophical, yet down to earth.

After teaching music for many years Helen returned to education. Achieving an NCVA cert in Performance arts from Scoil Stiofain Naofa Cork, a BA in English and Philosophy from UCC and a MA in Writing and Performance for Theatre and Film, University York in the UK.

In 1997 Helen set up her own company: Classik Attak Theatre Co. Since then she has worked as a writer and director for stage. Directing a number of Samuel Beckett works and adapting a lesser known Oscar Wilde play. Her first success was an adaptation of Brendan Kennelly’s play based in the 6th century BC, Medea. Helen’s version won a number of 1st prizes at the all Ireland festival circuit. Kennelly attended the Dublin production, and suggested she tackle The Trojan Women, however, it was Kennelly’s epic poem The Book of Judas which had captured Helen’s imagination. This she used as inspiration for her own play JUDAS which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2002 achieving an excellent review from the Scotsman and the Edinburgh Guide.

Kennelly himself, said of Helen’s work: “With a combination of power, darkness and tenderness, this Judas has a gripping character and makes for really good theatre”. Notably all Helen’s plays so far have been written in verse: Her latest, entitled Hoodwinked, a sardonic look at Irish life today, is due to premiere in The Firkin Crane in February 2008.


10th December

Barbara Smith (UK/IRL)

Some of Barbara’s reading can be heard here.

Barbara Smith, (b. 1967) a native of Armagh, lives in Dundalk, Co. Louth, with her husband and six children. Her poetry and criticism has been published widely, both in Ireland, the UK, Canada, the US and beyond. She is completing a BA Hons. in Literature and will be taking a place on an MA Creative Writing programme with Queen’s University, Belfast. Previous publications include chapbooks; Poetic Stage, 1998 and Gnosis, 1996. Kairos is her debut collection from Doghouse Books. Barbara blogs at and can be found on MySpace and Facebook.


17th December

The Ó Bhéal end of year Christmas Poetry Party presents

Buddy Wakefield, Andrea Gibson and Katie Wirsing (USA)

In their I AM A LAGAN Tour

The mp3 of the I Am a Lagan performance is here.

The two-time world individual slam champion, Buddy Wakefield and two other world slam and individual slam finalists, Katie Wirsing and Andrea Gibson will be in Ireland and Northern Ireland from Thursday 13th of December to Thursday 20th of December – they leave on the 20th to go to Frankfurt. They are performing as a group called I am a Lagan and will be doing a special show in 6 major centres across the Island.

The show will be preceded by a 90-minute workshop from 6pm at the Ó Bhéal venue. Buddy, Andrea and Katie will focus on Writing for Performance and How to perform Spoken Word, including writing exercises and then work in performance with either the pieces people have just written, or with work they bring with them, or both. The cost is 10 Euro, and you can book your place by emailing me here. Places are limited to 20.

I AM A LAGAN is the rocking verb slinging bull riding hit you hard on you soft spot spoken word trio of US based Spoken Word Artists Buddy Wakefield, Katie Wirsing, and Andrea Gibson. Together they will hold your big moon heart to the crazy sun and light you gorgeous, tender, and inspired as a bee frenzy on honey day! Between them they have been featured on BBC, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and independent radio stations worldwide. They have competed and won on both US and World Poetry Slamfinals stages more times than Rocky can bench press a Russian treestump! Yes, It’s True. Hear them and you will consider living for a living as they deconstruct everything from Bush’s patriarchal capitalist full-of-crap culture to their own wet-winged little hearts.


7th January

Teri Murray (UK/IRL)

Teri’s performance can be heard here.

Teri Murray was born in Lewisham, Kent and grew up in Dublin. She was involved with Clothesline Community Press in Tallagh and moved to Limerick in 1993. She edited Scratches (1994), and has written a play A Time Under Heaven, performed at the Belltable Arts Centre in 1996. She has three collections of poetry, Coddle and Tripe (1998), Poems From The Exclusion Zone (2001) and The Authority Of Winter (2007) all from Stonebridge. She is currently guest editor of Revival.


14th January

Jessica Peart

Here is Jessica reading Indian Elephant

Jessica Peart‘s poetry is influenced by Northern Irish poets who take a sing-song and conversational line, such as Louis MacNeice and Derek Mahon. She has performed for over two years at the Westmoreland Bar in Dublin, and has read at events such as The Patrick Kavanagh Celebration, the Spirit of Tara concert, Derry City library and various slam competitions. While Jessica’s style has been mainly lyric she has recently been exploring rap.


21st January

Cliff Wedgbury

Cliff’s reading is here.

Cliff Wegebury is a Cork based poet, playwright, performing artist and broadcaster, born in London in 1946. His formative years were spent in the folk clubs, jazz clubs and second hand bookshops of the Charing Cross Road area in London. He began writing and performing during these years and a selection of his work appeared at this time in an Anthology published by the Greenwich Poetry Society. He is now living in Cork and is a leading player in the richly creative community based in that famous Irish City.

He has released three CD’s of his own compositions, the last being Antarctic Ballads, in 2006, featuring the widely broadcast, Ballad of Tom Crean. A Lingering Adolescence, is his fifth collection of poetry, published in 2007 by Belfast Lapwing.


28th January

Neil McCarthy

You can listen to Neil’s reading here.

Neil McCarthy is originally from West Cork but is now based in Galway. He has spent time writing in Australia, South America, Asia and Scandinavia where he has also been a guest reader at many literary events. He has also read at The Whitehouse in 2005 and the Cuisle Festival in the same year. He has published two chapbooks of poetry ( Voicing the Bell, Naked in Vienna) and has performed as part of The Voice & The Verse in the Prague Fringe Festival.