Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Anam Cara Cascade, January/February 2009

Hello again and welcome to the latest issue The Anam Cara Cascade, the newsletter intended to keep you up-to-date with what’s going on here and with each other.

In order to keep up more continuously with your work, events, announcements, ideas, and suggestions, we have created the Anam Cara blog at http://anamcarawritersandartistsretreat.blogspot.com and invite you to follow it and contribute to it. If you would like something included in the bi-monthly Anam Cara Cascade, please let me know, via the new e-mail address anamcararetreat@gmail.com. If you have taken photos that you would like to have added to the web site’s Picture Gallery, please send those along to the new e-mail address as well, including a short description of the image.

I send my best wishes to you for continued success with your own creative work, Sue

Anam Cara Updates

Workshops Scheduled for 2009
For more information about any of these workshops, please contact Sue at anamcararetreat@gmail.com

The Poem and the Dream
Leaders: Paula Meehan, an award-winning Irish poet and playwright and a member of Aosdána (established to honour those artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland), and Juliet Clancy, a dreamworker whose mentor is internationally-known dreamworker Jeremy Taylor

One-week residential retreat from Saturday, 27 June through Friday, 3 July 2009

Following on from the success of this workshop at Anam Cara last summer, The Poem and the Dream is a midsummer poetry workshop using dreamwork as a tool for poets to make connections to their poetry and as a guide to reading and understanding the poems of self and others. The focus will be poetry, making it and making it better. This workshop is suitable for those starting out and those already writing poetry.

Writing from Within: Haiku and the Spiritual Dimension
Leaders: Maeve O'Sullivan, a leading Irish haiku poet, a founding member of Haiku Ireland, and an experienced haiku workshop leader, and Kim Richardson, a published haiku poet and experienced leader of meditation retreats

One-week residential retreat from Saturday, 18 July through Friday, 24 July 2009

Also following on from the success of their Writing from Within workshops held at Anam Cara in July 2007 and 2008, this workshop is again designed to help you develop paths to your inner inspiration -- the path within. Toward this goal, the group will work with the ancient medium of haiku poetry and its related forms, with their links to Zen and its emphasis on mindfulness. Combining the haiku work with meditation, breath and light practices, the outstanding natural beauty of the Béara Peninsula and the peace and quiet of Anam Cara, the aim is to heighten levels of awareness and to open creative channels.

Writing the Short Story
Leader: Leo Cullen, an Irish short story writer, novelist, and regular contributor to "Sunday Miscellany" (national radio programme)

Three-day residential or non-residential retreat from Wednesday, 29 July 2009 through Friday, 31 July 2009

Working through the senses, the workshop will explore the building blocks of the short story -- character development, location, and plot.

Writing in Ireland: A Workshop
Leaders: Karen Blomain, an American novelist, playwright, and poet, and Michael Downend, an American playwright and scriptwriting coach

One-week residential retreat from Saturday, 26 September through Friday, 2 October 2009

Returning to Anam Cara in 2009 after a great success in 2008, this relaxed-format workshop is designed for writers at all levels of accomplishment -- from the novice wishing to try her hand at writing, to the seasoned writer who needs a jump start for his muse for a new project, to those wishing to challenge themselves in a different art form. Appropriate for all genres. Non-writing spouses/partners welcome;
they'll find the peaceful, Irish vistas the perfect getaway and may even find themselves drawn into their own creative outlets.

Friday Nights in Eyeries at Anam Cara
People attending this year’s fundraising series of evenings have been incredibly generous. They have already contributed enough to fund the visits to Beara for four children through the Beara Chernobyl Children’s Project. The next event is scheduled for 27 February. We will have the Beara launches for the latest books by Beara poet Leanne O’Sullivan and Dublin poet Maurice |Harmon with readings by both poets.

A Gift That Keeps on Giving
If you’re looking for the perfect present for that creative someone in your life, how about a retreat at Anam Cara? Just let me know, and I’ll send along a gift card that you can present, leaving the booking arrangements to be made later.

Resident Updates

Tania Hershman (Jerusalem, Israel) has received this wonderful review of her book The White Road and Other Stories, which appeared in the New Scientist, a magazine that listed it as one of the Best Books of 2008:
“The title story in this book is everything fiction should be: inspiring, moving, comical, provocative and heartbreaking -- and all that in just seven and a half pages. The rest of the stories in this collection are similarly remarkable. Some are also remarkably short: “Go Away” is, essentially, a well-told joke (and laugh-out-loud funny). Hershman's economy with words cloaks her subtlety and power, though: a second reading uncovers hidden moments in each story. Inspired by scientific progress and science journalism, including articles in New Scientist, and driven by an author dripping with talent, this is as good as modern reading gets.”

Laura Cloud (Haslett, Michigan and Lebanon, Connecticut, USA) has collaborated with the poet, Peggy Shumaker on a piece called “Ephemera: A Conversation” as part of the Chicago Culture Center of the Collaborative Vision: The Poetic Dialogue Project. The exhibition runs through 5 April 2009, and there is a catalogue available at www.blurb.com.

Ann Leahy’s (Dublin, Ireland) poetry collection, The Woman Who Lived her Life Backwards, has just been published by Arlen House. Copies available from Books Upstairs in Dublin or by order from any good bookshop.

Jennifer Pepper (Cazenovia, New York, USA) will spend 2009 as artist-in-residence to: Dansk Kunstenerrad, Hirholmene, Denmark; Osage Arts Center, Belle, Missouri, USA; South Carolina State Park, South Carolina, USA; Nes Sigurðardóttir, Skagaströnd, Iceland; and The Weir Art Farm Center, Connecticut, USA.

Ann Tracy (Tucson, Arizona, USA) gave an artist’s talk at Eichler Gallery in Los Angeles in December. The exhibition can be found at http://www.crussellfinearts.com/page_cusp_01.html. Her work will also be exhibited from January 16th through February 22at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis Minnesota, USA as part of "MCAD Alumni and Friends Honor Kinji Akagawa," and August 1 through August 30 at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Ana, California, USA. For more of Ann’s work, see: http://www.anntracylopez.com.

Leanne O’Sullivan (Mallow, Co. Cork, Ireland) launches her second book of poetry at the Triskel Arts Centre in Cork City on 18 February 2009. Entitled Cailleach: The Hag of Beara, this book is being published, as was the first, by Bloodaxe Books.

Submissions and Competitions

For a forthcoming anthology, Sixteen Rivers Press is seeking poems of place set in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. "We interpret place broadly: it may be natural, cultural, or psychological space. And we interpret the region broadly as well, to include the cities, suburbs, towns, rural and wilderness areas that make up the entire Bay Area watershed."
Send up to three unpublished or published poems, plus an SASE, to Anthology, Sixteen Rivers Press, P.O. Box 640663, San Francisco, CA 94164. For published poems, please include the place and date of publication and the name of the copyright holder. Deadline: March 1, 2009.

The Fish One-Page Prize (Flash Fiction), with Arthur Mathews as judge, is now open for entries. The best ten stories will be published in the 2009 Fish Anthology in July. First prize is €1,000, with €50 each for the nine runners-up. Closing: 20 March 2009. Results will be announced 30 April 2009. There is a limit of 300 words. Winning stories must be available for the Anthology and, therefore, should not have been published previously. Entry fee €12 per story on-line. Critique of story (optional): €25. Postal entries cost €15 each, and €28 for a critique. Send to Fish Publishing, Durrus, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland. There is no entry form. Entry is taken as acceptance of the rules of the competition. For complete details and on-line entry www.fishpublishing.com or info@fishpublishing.com.

An open writing competition entitled, “The 3rd Annual Ted Walters International Short Story and Poetry Competition 2009,” has been launched, run by The University of Liverpool Creative Writing Society for Lifelong Learning. Every entry generates a £1 donation for the writing group's chosen charity, Macmillan Cancer Support. Send your address to Tommy McBride (thomas.mcbride2@sky.com), and he will send you some entry forms out by post. This competition was set up to remember one of the group’s members, Ted Walters, who was an excellent writer and a wonderful compassionate, caring, human being, who died of cancer on the 15th August 2006.

Ballyhoo Stories, a bi-annual magazine dedicated to publishing the best in fiction and creative nonfiction, is currently accepting submissions for the print and online editions (http://www.ballyhoostories.com). Complete guidelines can be found online.

Mslexia is “a magazine for women writers. It tells you all you need to know about exploring your creativity and getting into print. No other magazine provides Mslexia's unique mix of advice and inspiration, news, reviews, interviews, competitions, events, and grants. All served up with a challenging selection of new poetry and prose.” For submission guidelines, see www.mslexia.co.uk.

From a Writer-in-Residence: Chris Ransick (Denver, Colorado, USA) is Denver’s Poet Laureate and the author of Lost Songs & Last Chances (www.chrisransick.com). He wrote this poem after taking a walk near Anam Cara.

Dream at Ballycrovane

A border collie greets you at the gate, trailing
garlands of kingcup and bogbean,
and won’t let you pass until you pray.
You murmur fragments of incantations
salvaged from a darkened pew in the
church of your childhood but a voice
behind the shimmering gorse says
just this once be genuine, so you kneel
among the harebells, slow your breath
to silence as wind tickles the clappers of
down-turned blooms. Willywagtails
twitter and a rook crows from an outcrop,
signaling the rusted iron latch to release
and the gate swings open. The dog
herds you up the hill to where the
towering plinth faces high Mishkish
across Coulagh Bay, a row of distant peaks
diminishing in mist. Your fingers fit
the ogham script, millennia rushing past.
Everything synthetic vanishes—your pack,
your pants, your persona—leaving you
naked and finally in possession of
the only thing you ever had, a smooth body,
best engine ever, the big eye of your
mammalian brain open for the first time.
You can read the writing now. Maqi,
son of Diech, descendent of Torainn,
marks this westernmost place. At your
invocation, he rattles his bones beneath
the moss-painted soles of your feet.
Birdsong turns to chants, the holly hedge
to a procession of ancients. You make way,
and one touches your cheek, leaves a mark.

From an Artist-in-Residence: Lyndia Radice’s (Albuqueque, New Mexico, USA) painting shows the influences of both the southwest of the United States and the southwest of Ireland.

From an Artist-in-Residence: Christine Lafuente (Brooklyn, New York, USA) found a great deal of inspiration in the Beara landscape.


Meals prepared at Anam Cara can often be put into the category “Comfort Food" and are prepared using local produce and products. Most of the dishes I learned to make from my mother as she cooked to keep my poet father going and writing. A number of residents have asked me to put together an Anam Cara cookbook. Until that can be done, these two recipes come from my “comfort food” memories.

Bran Muffins

2 C raisins
1 C boiling water
1 C cooking oil
4 eggs
1 t. salt
2 C sugar
5 C flour
5 t baking soda
1 qt. buttermilk
4 C bran cereal
2 C bran flakes

Pour 1 C boiling water over raisins and let stand. Mix all dry ingredients with moist ones and add raisins and water, then bran. Will keep in refrigerator for a week or so and you can bake as needed. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. Makes about 3 dozen.

From New England Country Cookbook


Anam Cara’s new e-mail address is anamcararetreat@gmail.com, the new blog address is http://anamcarawritersandartistsretreat.blogspot.com, and the web site is www.anamcararetreat.com


  1. Sue, thanks for the lovely mention on your beautiful new blog, welcome to blogland! Can I be an alumni blogger too?

  2. I wish I could attend these workshops they look great!

    all my best,

    The With Words Competition 2009


  3. Hi Sue, I hope all is well with you, Jack and the ducks (and hens too, of course). Sounds like an exciting and full year ahead for Anam Cara. I love the paintings you have posted, very inspiring to look at them.

    Just got word my flash fiction will appear in the June/July edition of Alienskin Magazine. yay!