• Books:
  • Beneath The Ice,
  • Snakeskin Stilettos,
  • The Horse's Nest,
  • Miracle Fruit,
  • Selected Poems,
  • The Goose Tree

About Me

My photo
Poet, creative writing facilitator, editor. Experienced mentor for those working towards a first collection. My publishers are Lagan Press, Belfast and Liberties Press, Dublin who published my Selected Poems in 2012 and my new collection, The Goose Tree in June 2014

Monday, 21 November 2011

Acts of Resilience

Acts of Resilience: Stories that glow in the dark
For further information or to rsvp:
The ‘Acts of Resilience’ project took place in East and South Belfast during 2011. Through story-telling, poetry and creative writing, it explored the idea that people can survive and grow, in spite of hard times. What gives us strength to carry on? How do we encourage others that it is possible?
The project has resulted in a short DVD and specially commissioned poems by Moyra Donaldson and Damian Gorman and will be celebrated at a special reception in the Banqueting Hall, Belfast City Hall, on Monday December 5th at 5.30 p.m, hosted by Belfast Community Safety Partnership.
Please do join us for this event and bring a friend.
We very much hope that the DVD and poems will raise awareness of the importance of encouraging resilience. If you are aware of a teacher, youth leader, community or voluntary sector organisation who might like to use the DVD to encourage dialogue, please do forward the invitation to them.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Desire and Dust

I'm just home from the launch of Abridged 0-23:Desire and Dust. It's a classy publication, beautifully produced and I'm really pleased to have a poem included. The poem 'The Flayed Horse', is printed over an image by Ackroyd & Harvey, called 'Burning the Bone' from the making of 'Polar Diamond'
It's a fascinating project where the artists were given a polar bear bone by the Govenor of Svalbard in 2007 and they used technology to accelerate a process that usually takes millions of years - growing a diamond from graphite. They extracted the graphite from the cremated ash of the bone and grew the diamond with the support of the Royal Academy of Arts, London.
Look out for a copy of the magazine - there is lots of excellent stuff in it, images and words. A big congratulations to the editors Gregory McCartney and Maria Campbell.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Aspects Festival

So - Aspects Festival kicks off on the 21st September. I have my tickets booked for several events and I'm particularly looking forward to hearing Dan Cruickshank, an expert on one of my favourite times in history. Also keen to get to Leanne O'Sullivan's reading. I haven't heard her before. There are lots of good things on during the week, so you should have a look at the programme if you haven't already. All very welcome of course, to the Sunday night event with Kevin Barry and myself, hosted by Malachi O'Doherty. It's in the Vin Cafe - so you can have a nice glass of wine or two as well! Must be good...

Monday, 29 August 2011

The Return of the Literary Salon!

Workshop in Enniskillen

I'm heading down to Enniskillen on Saturday 3rd September to do a full day workshop with the local writers' group. The venue is the Westville Hotel. It is also open to non members, so if you would like to come along or know anyone in the area who might be interested, the contact for booking is Dianne Trimble

The workshop will have 3 sessions, one on short story writing, one on publishing and one concentrating on poetry.
All welcome!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Tiny poem

I've been trying to make the most of a few weeks off work to get some writing done. Managed to start a number of poems, most of them not finished yet - but I think this one is!

Little Daisies
Juice from daisy leaves and roots
given to little dogs in milk,
keepeth them from growing great.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Castlereagh Reading

A reading with a bit of a difference coming up on Monday 15th August in Castlereagh. Deirdre Cartmill, Maureen Boyle and myself are going to be reading some poems, but also talking about where they came from and the process of writing them. Getting some discussion going with the audience and answering their questions. Come along and join in.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Aspects Festival

Lunch time launch today for the 20th Aspects Festival, on board The Barge at Lanyon Quay  - and very pleasant it was too. The sun came out, Marie Louise Muir officially launched the programme, I read a couple of poems and then everyone enjoyed a buffet lunch including oysters and smoked salmon. What's more, the line up for the festival looks great.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Sadness and pride

On Friday 24th June I attended the closing party for the Community Arts Forum.  It was an evening of mixed emotions. Good to see old friends again and be reminded of projects and successes, but sad to witness the end of an organisation that did such important and innovative work. I am proud to have been involved.

This is the poem I was commissioned to write for CAF's tenth anniversary in May 2003. I think it still captures a little of what the organisation was about.

a celebration of CAF's first decade

By vision of heart and passion of mind
garnering new ground,
clearing a way
to common possession -
singing against the silence.

We have uncaged the wren,
thrown wide the doors of our hearts
and un-prismed the colours of hope
to dance undaunted: we have tasted
the boundlessness of our imagination

and when I grow tired, you'll lend
me strength, and when you doubt
I will believe: line and curve
our architecture, we'll risk together
the flaw that lets the light come in.

Art for art's sake, art for life's sake,
art for the people's sake -
you and me
for pleasure and truth
and beauty and madness and sanity.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A new poem

Well - I haven't written anything in ages, only little bits and pieces that have gone nowhere. It has happened to me each time a new book comes out - I become incapable of saying anything and think I'm never going to be able to write a poem again! So delighted to get this new one down on paper. It has been floating around in my head for a while. First draft - any comments welcome


A cockerel’s comb
winter berries
oriental poppies
the robin’s breast.
The first speck of life
in the yellow yolk.

Little live blood rubies
for crimson,
their death in it;
mordant alum to fix.

Vermillion from the mingled
blood of dragon and elephant:
sulphur and mercury.

Red Alligator, Grand
National winner, ‘68.
Red rosettes.
Copper Khan.

Years of sky warnings
and delights,
Turner’s fading sun rises
and sun sets.

The hand of Ulster,
the hand of history.
Red rag to a bull.
Caught red handed.
Marked, wrong.
A stop sign.

The letting of blood,
blood pressure

it’s thicker than water
but not thick enough
to carry the weight of us.
Blood soaked. Flowing.

Lips stained with wine,
the memory of rhythms,
the first rivulet
running down a pale leg
the stains that life makes.

Blood thickens, slows,
dries up. Rust. Clot.

I’m bringing little touches
of red into the house,
in compensation, a vase,
a cushion or two, red frames
for black dancing herons
and a black horse.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

John Hewitt Spring School

I'm looking forward to reading here and to hearing the other contributors. A nice weekend in Carnlough.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Poetry Festival, Sheffield

Just back from Sheffield Poetry Festival - excellent weekend of poetry. Highlights for me were Geoff Hattersley and Rob Hindle.
Geoff read for forty five minutes, old and new work and it wasn't half long enough. Great stuff.
Really enjoyed Rob's work - and his book, Neurosurgery in Iraq, is beautifully produced as well as being full of good poetry.
Of course I also got a first sight of Martin Mooney's new book from Lagan, also beautifully produced! And great poetry too.
Hearing good poetry always leaves me feeling inspired and I've actually started a little poem since I got home - might beat the block yet...

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Reading this weekend in Sheffield      
I'm really looking forward to reading at the first ever Sheffield Poetry Festival along with Martin Mooney and his new book at a Lagan Showcase event.
Lots of other good stuff on too 

Sunday, 20 March 2011

New North Belfast Launch, Thursday 24th March

Reading a couple of poems in No Alibis, along with some of the other poets who are featured in NEW NORTH - Contemporary Poetry from Northern Ireland. Edited by Chris Agee and published by Salt Publishing

Monday, 7 March 2011

PublishingNI Readings

·        PublishingNI is launching its inaugural regional tour featuring a selection of Northern Irish writers.
Featured writers include fiction and memoir writers Terri Hooley, Carlo G├ębler, Sean Mackel and Ivan McKeown, poet Moyra Donaldson and non-fiction writer Des O’Reilly.
            Thurday 10th March at 7pm Denvir’s Hotel, Downpatrick in association with the Down  Arts Centre   (4461 0747). Friday 11th March 7pm at Verbal Arts Centre, Derry/Londonderry   (7126 6946). Sunday 13th March 8pm at Crescent Arts Centre (9024 2338)
                Spaces are very limited so to guarantee your place contact the venues above to book

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Seamus Heaney Centre Reading

This Friday at 1.00 pm in the Heaney Centre. If you are free come along and hear me read some of the poems from my new book, Miracle Fruit, alongside Sonia Abercrombie who will be performing some of the character poems from that book. It's a bit different.
Bernie McGill will also be reading from her wonderful novel, The Butterfly Cabinet.

Hogarth - Self Portrait With Pug Dublin 2007

I went to Dublin to see a Lucien Freud exhibition and there happened to be a Hogarth exibition at the same time. This poem came about as a result.

My Turn To Be The Horse

This is a little poem that sprang from a childhood memory of many hours spent in the school playground, break and lunchtimes, playing this game.

Thursday, 24 February 2011


This will be the hosting website for my poetry. It will include recordings and readings, new poems and details of readings and events in which I'm involved. My publisher is Lagan Press, Belfast
Please feel free to visit any time and to leave a comment on the work you find here.