• 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, 1 October 2012

Workshop for National Poetry Day

 I will be doing a workshop in Ballyhackamore Library, 6.45 to 8.00pm on Thursday 4th October as part of National Poetry Day. All welcome.

Catch Up

I haven't posted on here for quite a while, so thought I'd do a little catch up.

I took some time off work over the summer to give the writing a bit more space and managed to have quite a productive time. I spent a great week in Ty Newydd, the Welsh Writers' Centre in the company of a fantastic bunch of poets, including Carol Ann Duffy and Gillian Clarke. It got me really re-energised and thinking about poetry so I've been doing lots of reading and a bit of writing too. I came across a Canadian poet, M  Travis Lane, that I hadn't previously read and am really enjoying her work. I've also been revisiting Tess Gallagher through her book, 'Midnight Lantern' and I've been enjoying 'Furniture' by Lorraine Mariner from Picador Poetry.
On the writing side, I've just been trying to stick with it, defy that blank page and put some words down without worrying too much about what it 'is'.

A good resource, link here
have a look.

Of course the highlight of the year for me has been the publication of my Selected Poems from Liberties Press
Hopefully I will have news of a launch date soon.

I've been doing some workshops; some fantastic poems from the participants at the Day Hospice, and I'm looking forward to attending a symposium in Newcastle upon Tyne next week to hear about working as a writer with people with dementia. I've also been mentoring a couple of poets working towards a first publication.

It's great to have a bit of support and critical feedback on your work, at least I find it very helpful! I've had a lot of that this summer from various sources; thank you to those poet friends who give so generously.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Museum Reading

      Raising a Glass to Hewitt

An evening of poetry
on the 25th Anniversary of John Hewitt's death


Moyra Donaldson, Sinead Morrissey, Frank Ormsby, Damian Smyth and others

Wednesday 27th June 2012 (6pm)


The Ulster Museum

Admission: FREE

Organised by
The John Hewitt Society in association with NMNI


Thursday, 31 May 2012

Belfast Book Festival

Delighted to be reading with Bernie McGill at the Belfast Book Festival. Lots of other great stuff too.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Poetry, R&R and B&B

I spent Saturday evening at the fantastic Laurel Villa Townhouse in Magherafelt for a poetry reading from three poets, two from Australia and one from America. Jeffrey Thompson is from Maine and is currently spending some time in Belfast as a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in The Heaney Centre. Petra White and Paul Hetherington are Australian poets representing Australia on a tour of Ireland. There was a packed house for the reading and I really enjoyed hearing some new(to me) poets, all three with very different styles and subject matter; and all extremely talented.
Afterwards we had supper, including some luscious pavlova and several glasses of wine. I had a great time sitting out on the patio in the lovely warm evening, chatting and hearing about the Australian poetry scene from Paul who also tried to convince me me that really, red backed spiders were not a reason for me to stay away from Australia. I wasn't entirely convinced.
Sunday morning involved more food, all home made and delicious.
It's a wonderful place to stay, and Eugene and Gerardine are great hosts. To round off an excellent 24 hours, Eugene gave me a piece of bog oak to take home with me, thus fulfilling a long held wish of mine to possess a piece of this black wood.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Peace Camp, Love Poetry, Fiona Shaw and Mussenden Temple

As part of the London 2012 Festival, Director Deborah Warren was commissioned to create an installation to celebrate love poetry and landscape in collaboration with actor Fiona Shaw. Eight encampments will be set up in beautiful coastal settings and will be filled with lights, visual arts and a soundscape of love poetry. The camps are designed to be visited between dusk and dawn and there will be one set up at Mussenden Temple. I'm going to be working with two schools to enable the pupils to write and record their own love poetry to go into the tent. I think it's a wonderful and ambitious project and can't wait to see the finished installation.
I met Fiona Shaw at the Verbal Arts Centre last Monday and was privileged to read some work on stage with her. She was wonderfully inspirational and her performance of a range of poetry was amazing. I particularly enjoyed listening to her perform part of A Game of Chess, from The Wasteland - it was fantastic!

If you want to learn more about the whole Peace Camp project and how you can contribute on-line, go to

Friday, 20 April 2012

Love Poems Wanted

I'm going to be sharing a stage with Fiona Shaw at the Verbal Arts Centre on Monday 23rd April at 7.30 to talk about love poetry. Marie-Louise Muir will be interviewing Fiona and it promises to be a great evening. Here is a link to the event  !/events/296949313719278/

I'd really appreciate it if you would let me know which is your favourite love poem. I have a few in mind but would really like some more ideas!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Cincinnati Review

I'm really pleased to have a couple of poems included in the next edition of the Cincinnati Review (9.1).
They have asked for an 'author commentary' - a brief comment on the inspiration behind the poems. Never been asked for this before! Here's my attempt at it ...

A few years ago, a friend gave me a beautiful Thai stone Buddha for my birthday. Straight backed and elegant, he sits on a railing outside my kitchen window where I can see him every time I glance outside. The Buddha wears all weathers with equal equanimity, a cape and cap of snow in the winter; unblinking in the summer sun. Crows regularly perch on his head. I came to think of him as ‘the patience of stone’, and around that phrase, my poem Rock gathered and grew.

New poems from Rob Hindle

I’m really pleased to be able to share a couple of poems by Sheffield poet, Rob Hindle. These two poems are from Yoke and Arrows, a poem sequence about the killing of Lorca in the early weeks of the Spanish Civil War, to be published by Smokestack Books in 2014. Luis Rosales was Lorca’s friend in whose house he hid until his arrest.

Rob’s other books include
Some Histories of the Sheffield Flood 1864 (Templar, 2006) - pamphlet
Neurosurgery in Iraq (Templar, 2008) - collection
The Purging of Spence Broughton, a Highwayman (Longbarrow, 2009) – pamphlet

And you can read more about his work and ideas on his excellent blog,

Song for Luis Rosales

When we are the old dead

we will sit in a boat on the river

at midnight, singing.

We will make a candle

with the yellow moon,

a heart with a guitar

and we will sing up a wind

to make the olives’ silver leaves

crackle and the orange flowers

fall like snow in the squares.

We will sail to the sea,

all the towns like bonfires

and in your eyes the night

of AndalucĂ­a with all its stars.

From a Window in Calle Angulo

He came out and the street was full of cops,

the black cars in Plaza de la Trinidad

with their engines running

like he was an ambassador or a king.

Everyone remembers the shirt he wore –

white, symbolic. Certainly, with his tie loose,

his jacket hanging lifeless on his arm,

there was something cinematic in his going.

But after he had gone, the cars’ noise

lost among the din of the city, I stood

in the window looking at the still street;

nothing I could tell was different.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Poet Rob Hindle's blog

Sheffield poet Rob Hindle has a blog well worth checking out. Interesting posts and most recent guest poet on there is Martin Mooney  - and to come, poems from Damian Smyth and myself.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Springtime in Paris

I'm so looking forward to reading in Paris next week with Deirdre Cartmill and Maureen Boyle at the Irish Cultural Centre.
Hopefully there will be time for a little sightseeing and as I've never been in Paris before I want to fit in as much as possible. Thinking Montmartre and maybe a boat trip on the Seine. One of the best tips I've had so far, from a friend who lives in France, is before I say anything else say, Je suis desole. Je ne parle pas bien Francais. Detalils of the event below - and any other tips welcome.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

New CavanKerry Book

I am really delighted to have a poem included in the second volume of the Waiting Room Reader, published by the excellent CavanKerry Press, New York.
The Waiting Room Reader: Stories to Keep you Company, will be placed in many waiting rooms in hospitals in the tri-state area. Over 10,000 free copies of the first volume of the Reader were placed in over 300 waiting rooms in more than 63 hospitals in the tri-state area.

Have a look at what CavanKerry do at the link below

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Poetry, stories and a bit of drama in Ballycastle

Short notice I know, but I'm reading tomorrow night with a great bunch of other writers. The venue is Thyme cafe in Ballycastle and we will start around 7.30. Tea and coffee available, or if you prefer something a little stronger you can bring your own bottle. It will be a nice relaxed evening, so if you are in the area why not come along and listen to a mixture of drama, short stories and poems from Jo Egan, Anne Harris, Myra Vennard, Pamela Greene and myself.