Friday, September 20, 2013

Fish Short Story Prize Deadline Approaching!

Fish Short Story First Prize is €3,000, Second Prize is a Week's Residency at Anam Cara plus €300, and the Ten Best Stories are published in the annual anthology.

From Fish Publishing:

Claire Kilroy is the judge. We are honoured that she will select the best ten stories for publication in the 2014 Fish Anthology. She is the acclaimed author of 4 novels including All Summer, (recipient of the 2004 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and was short-listed for the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award), Tenderwire (shortlisted for the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel Award), All Names Have Been Changed and The Devil I Know.
In 2002 she received an Arts Council Literature Award.
Closing Date: 30 November 2013.

Word limit is 5,000. There is no restriction on theme or style, and the prize is open to writers from all countries who are writing in English.

First Prize: €3,000, of which €1,000 is for travel to the launch of the Fish Anthology in July 2014 at the West Cork Literary Festival.

Second Prize: a week at Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's Retreat in West Cork, plus €300.

Third prize: €300.

Entry fee: €20 (€10 subsequent entries). Online Entry. Once you register and enter online, you can login and check your entry(ies) at any time. Results will be announced on 17 March on the Fish website, and sent out in the newsletter.

Enter Online

Stories must not have been published previously and must be eligible for publication in the 2014 Fish Anthology.

Stories cannot be altered or changed after they have been entered. Judging at all stages is anonymous. Names or addresses must not appear on the stories, but on a separate sheet if entering by post, or in the appropriate place if entering online.
Postal entries: €22 (€12 subsequent entries)
Address: Fish Publishing, Durrus, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland.

Honorary patrons of the Fish Short Story Prize are Roddy Doyle, Dermot Healy and Colum McCann

Online Short Story Writing Course Announced

After the success of both the Online Flash Fiction and Memoir Writing Courses, Fish is proud to announce the launch of the Fish Short Story Writing Course. This tailored online program will not only develop your general writing skills but will explore in depth the potential of the short story genre.

The course offers both new and experienced writers an extensive range of creative ideas and activities to help develop their craft. Course tutor Mary-Jane Holmes will be on hand to offer advice on mastering technique and developing personal style. Each module concentrates on a key aspect of the form, such as shape and structure, narrative perspective and characterization and by the end of the program you will have completed a polished work of short fiction that will be submitted for the Fish Short Story Prize.
For further information please go to Short Story Writing Course
or email:

Student Testimonials from Fish Online Courses

Mary Jane’s astute commentaries, her helpful suggestions, her clear understanding of the technicalities of language and its use were placed in informal emails, which were friendly and supportive throughout. Avril Leigh

I enjoyed this course so much and I’m now in possession of a body of my own work complete with superb feedback on all aspects. If I hadn’t taken the course I probably wouldn’t have written much at all over this period. So... thanks! Lucho Payne

My good news is that the story Hummingbird, written as part of the Compression Module, has been shortlisted for NZs National Flash Fiction Day competition :)) pretty thrilling ... thank you so much for everything with this story ... and ALL the stories that have emerged during the past couple months. Leanne Radojkovich

Monday, September 9, 2013

Alumni Poet Susan Rich on New Anthology

From Susan Rich (Seattle, Washington, USA):

A while ago you asked me to send you more information about The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Crossing Borders published by the Poetry Foundation and McSweeny’s this past spring. Here is the book cover image and a recent review that was in the Chicago Tribune. The book seems to be selling well --- and there is also a free download at the Poetry Foundation if people want a pdf — here is the link

Also, my fourth book of poems Cloud Pharmacy comes out in early 2014 from White Pine Press. There are several poems about Ireland including “your” poem, “Faraway.” It’s dedicated to you and all the writers of Anam Cara.

Here is the review from the Chicago Tribune:

For the wanderlusty, it's difficult to believe that anyone would hesitate to pack her suitcase and zip off to, well, anywhere. But travel requires strategy and persistence. And for writers — or worse, for poets — international travel requires a relative fortune. Or good fortune.

In the spirit of easing dislocation, earlier this year, McSweeney's and the Poetry Foundation released "The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Writing Across Borders." Part travelogue, essay, verse, roundtable transcription and reference text, the volume is an introduction to the opportunities for international poetic work: fellowships, residencies, translations, festivals, English instruction jobs and volunteer postings.

The editors — Jared Hawkley, Susan Rich and Brian Turner — explained that the dearth of foreign literature being translated into English motivated them to create the book.
"We would like to jumpstart a discussion and encourage younger writers to find ways to go abroad and see the larger world and bring the news of that larger world back into the United States," said Ilya Kaminsky, series editor for the "Poets in the World" series, part of the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute, via email. "We give various (metaphysical and practical) perspectives on the situation of a writer living abroad (outside of their native language), and also provide very detail-oriented, step-by-step guides for young writers to achieve the goal of living abroad."
At its strongest, the work probes identity — what it means to be other, in flux, cross-pollinating. In her essay on translation, Jane Hirshfield examines the initial skepticism and later acceptance of intercultural appropriation, by which "certain exotic trees have come to be treasured in their new countries." Although "(m)istrust of translation is part of the immune reaction by which every community attempts to preserve its particular heritage and flavor," Hirshfield asks, "what English speaker today would call iambic pentameter an imported meter, or think of the sonnet as an Italian form?"

Carolyn Forché explains how she learned to manipulate her identity. She and her husband, a journalist, roamed South Africa in order to document apartheid. "Officially, my husband would work at the Time bureau, and I would accompany him as wife and expectant mother," she writes with the wry confidence of a woman underestimated. Eventually Forché learned that her pregnancy eased the couple's passage through the country's roadblocks: "(A)s my womb swelled, I also grew invisible, no longer attracting police who would not wish to involve themselves with so pregnant a white woman."

Another writer struggles with the patronship that power earned her abroad. On her Fulbright year in South Africa, Susan Rich "carried with [her] a basket of ever-shifting questions." In her discussion of whether to hire servants, Rich wonders: "Was it better to hire someone to scrub my two rooms and help alleviate the high unemployment rate, or was it best not to participate in a corrupt vestige from the past regime?"

At its weakest, "The Strangest of Theatres" approaches the details of international living so broadly, readers may chuckle at the sweep: "Be aware that culture shock, exploring a new place, and being away from friends and family can make it more difficult to accomplish work at the pace you are used to" and "that volunteer work in developing countries can be psychologically and emotionally challenging."

Friday, August 30, 2013

Seamus Heaney Left Us Today....

and Ireland is in deep mourning for the poet and the man that somehow reached each of us in a way that we understood. His writing borders on the immortal; Ireland is grieving that he wasn't....

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Call for Submissions,,,

Scallta Media are now inviting submissions for inclusion in the next Scaldy Detail anthology

The Scaldy Detail 2013 will be the fourth in a series of books that have continued to delight readers and reviewers alike.

Said Colm Tóibín at the launch of the last edition, "There are moments when you’re reading this of absolute pure recognition, where you can enter someone else’s spirit and be with them on that journey. In reading this anthology, you get that sense of things being named for the first time, being placed in a context for the first time, of being offered to the outside world. It was an absolute delight to read this."

The guest editor of the 2013 edition will be Maggie Breen (an Anam Cara writer-in-residence], whose debut collection of poetry Other Things I Didn’t Tell was published by Scallta Media.

Said Paula Meehan of Maggie's work, “Maggie Breen digs deep into personal memory to unearth a vivid picture of a rural childhood, to reclaim that childhood in language, and to reinhabit with power and grace the landscape of those early years. She gives us poems rich in promise: even as she unpacks the complex baggage of a young Irishwoman determined to take the world on her own terms, she succeeds in celebrating the very blessings of that difficult path. These poems bring to mind Kavanagh’s beautiful phrase – To look on is enough / In the business of love.”

Guidelines for submissions are:
* submissions by email only please to
* the subject field of the email should read 'The Scaldy Detail 2013'
submissions accepted until midnight October 4th, 2013
* there is no submission fee
* either the work submitted or the author should have a Wexford connection
* only one fiction/memoir piece OR a maximum of 4 poems per author will be accepted
fiction/memoir pieces limited to 2000 words
* each poem limited to 40 lines and should be submitted in its own document as an attachment
* document types accepted are Word, PDF and of course plain text file
* only one email per author will be accepted and all works submitted should be attached to that email
* author name, email address and the name and genre of each piece submitted must in the body of the email
* we regret we are not in a position to offer selected writers a financial reward, but each selected author will receive one complimentary copy of the anthology
* copyright remains with the authors
* simultaneous submissions to other publications are welcome but if work is selected for publication elsewhere please notify Scallta Media by email immediately
* selected authors only will be notified by December 1st and the anthology will be launched in January, 2014 in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Ireland
* we will only acknowledge submissions by email request

And finally, a note from our guest editor on what she is looking for, “As a reader I tend to be drawn to a wide variety of styles and themes, so anything goes in that respect. Overall what gets my attention are pieces which tell a story, show me something, give me a window into a bigger story or world, with considered, clear, sharp language. I want to be able to relate to the characters, to understand what the voice in a piece is saying, and to have a feel for their motivations and emotions.”

Best of luck, and we're looking forward once again to reading your work, Paul O'Reilly

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Congratulations Jhumpa and Donal!!!

Jhumpa Lahiri and Donal Ryan, both of whom have given readings of their work here at Anam Cara, have been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, which is a tremendous honour!

"The prize, which celebrates its 44th anniversary this year after launching in 1969, aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.To maintain the consistent excellence of the Man Booker Prize, judges are chosen from a wide range of disciplines, including critics, writers and academics, but also poets, politicians and actors, all with a passion for quality fiction."

Jhumpa's longlisted book is The Lowland, and Donal's is The Spinning Heart.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Call for Entries for the 1st Liverpool International Poetry, Prose, and Playwriting Competition 2013

The University of Liverpool
Creative Writing Society for Lifelong Learning
Associated Group Members Of
The National Association of Writers’ Groups

Is to Commemorate

‘The 1st Liverpool International, Open Short Story,
Poetry and Playwriting Competition 2013’

Winners to be decided by our International Competition Judge: Linda Walters

During 2013: the City of Liverpool’s ‘Year of Dementia’

We will donate £1 from each and every short story, poem and play entered into these 3 x competitions to the Alzheimer’s Society: our chosen charity for 2013

Competition: Rules of Entry
(The Competition’s Ten Commandments are as follows)

I. Entries must arrive on or before 31 July 2013. Preferably before. (Deadline)

II. Results of all of the three winners, the three runner-ups and the third placed will be available after the 1st October 2013. The three winners, runner-ups and the three third placed will all be notified by our Competition Judge: Linda Walters by phone post or email shortly after.

III. Identifying names (only) must not appear on any of the entries of the Short Story, Poetry or Playwriting categories, but please ensure that your name and the titles of your work are either on your ‘Entry form’ or on a short ‘Covering letter’. Please take the time to write your details down clearly on your entry form or covering letter, it makes my job a lot easier.

IV. Poems may be on any subject or theme, in any style or form. All poems must be type written and must not exceed 40 lines. (Maximum)

V. Short Stories may be on any subject or theme and must be type written, double spaced and no more than 2000 words. (Maximum)

VI. One Act Plays may be on any subject or theme and type written, double spaced and on one side of the page only, including a cast of no more than four characters. Good presentation and a list of characters and any other relevant information must be included. 20 Minutes (Maximum)

VII. Important! Two copies of each and every short story, poem and play must be submitted with your Entry Form or Covering Letter please.

VIII. All entries to be typewritten on plain white A4 paper in a standard black typeface on one side of the page only, and first or second class postal entries only please.

IX. If the rules do not say that you can – then you can’t; and all copyright shall remain with the original Authors. Please do not send me the only copy of your work because it will not be returned.

X. Please do not send entries by Recorded or Special Delivery. Please make sure the correct postage is paid. Entries with insufficient postage will not be accepted from Royal Mail. Please do not use sticky tape to make an impregnable package.

Please send all correspondence to:

Mr Tommy McBride
Group Secretary and Founder Member,
The University of Liverpool Creative Writing Society for Lifelong Learning
50 Onslow Road,
Elm Park,
L6 3BB
United Kingdom
For more information and entry forms, see the website:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

It's Bloomsday in Ireland, and Anam Cara Is Announcing the Winner of the Anam Cara/ Poetry Competition

The winner is Caroline Bracken (Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland) for her poem "The Gypsy Girl." Caroline has won a place in Leanne O'Sullivan's "Lining Our Thoughts: A Poetry Workshop " to be held from 20-26 July 2013 at Anam Cara.

From Leanne:

"I admire the magical simplicity in 'The Gypsy Girl'. I am reminded of a phrase from Anne Stevenson's poem 'Making Poetry' where the poet encourages us to inhabit poetry in order to make it - to take voyages over voices, weathers, different skins and times. When I read 'The Gypsy Girl' I felt as though I had traveled and in a wonderful way was left wanting to read more."

The Winning Poem:

The Gypsy Girl

She took a wrong turn some time back,
Way back.
Way before Giza,
Where she tried out a sarcophagus
For size.
The pharaohs were compact creatures
It seems,
Like herself.
Way before Cape Agulhas,
Where the ships graveyard
Drew her.
Like the lighthouse,
Red and white.
Way before Lake Erie,
And that house on stilts,
Not natural
For a girl raised in a house
On wheels.
Way before Rethymnon,
Waving at a drowning man
On Triopetra beach.
Way before Beirut's extreme heat,
Which suited her sallow skin.
She couldn't be sure,
Where she went wrong,
But it was somewhere
Way back, on the road
Between the River Suir in Clonmel,
And Dublin.

Congratulations, Caroline!

More about the workshop:

Lining Our Thoughts: A Poetry Writing Workshop
A Week-long Residential Workshop Retreat
Arrival: Saturday, 20 July 2013
Departure: Saturday, 27 July 2013

"Coming from the Beara peninsula myself, I am delighted to be leading this poetry workshop, my first one in Anam Cara. I spend much of my time in Beara and do all of my creative writing here. The poet Michael Longley said that if he knew where poems come from he'd go there. I often think that many of my poems come from the Beara ground itself, whether I am writing about the place or some other hidden fire inside me. Walking the roads and fields always clears my mind and allows the poems to show themselves more freely than anywhere else. My previous collections take their titles and themes from places on the peninsula, such as the ancient Cailleach Bhéarra and the more modern ruins of the old Allihies Copper Mines. During this workshop, we'll be taking advantage of this rugged and inspiring landscape to begin to write and also to help move our poems and ideas along. Whatever your subject matter, creative focus, or sense of home, this elemental peninsula is sure to work its 'rough magic' on you.

"Each morning workshop session will be a mix of discussion and writing exercises exploring various craft topics, sharing work and giving feedback. I also encourage you to bring work you may have started at home to work on during the week. Each afternoon, you can work on your own, have a one-to-one session with me, enjoy the peace and creative stillness here at Anam Cara or we will plan an outing together - it might be a walk or a visit to one of the extraordinary sites in Beara -- with a notebook of course!

"What follows is a broad outline, and covers some topics that we will be working on together. I have also suggested a timetable for the week, including workshop hours, individual writing time, and one-to-ones with me. The exact sequence may change depending on the needs of the participants."

Workshop topics:

What makes a poem work? Everyone is encouraged to bring a poem or two that they admire to the first session for group-discussion.
Imagery: Imagery is a reader's foothold into the world of the poem. We will look at how imagery works to build the foundations for an expressive piece of writing.
Perspective and Tone: We will look at how poets use subtlety, nuance and persona to allow readers interpretation within the poem.
Metaphor and Simile: We will explore how to use metaphors to enliven and make the language of our poems more unusual.
Ekphrasis: From the Greek ek (out) and phrasis (speak), this form of poetry uses art, furniture, or any inanimate object as inspiration.
Storytelling: The Irish poetic tradition is rich in narrative and we will explore how stories work within the context of the poem.
Rhythm and Form: We will look at not just the ways we use rhythm and form in poetry, but also how we can lend our ear to the music within free verse, becoming more sensitive to the words we choose.
Revision and Editing: When are poems finished? How do you know when to let go? We will also be discussing competitions, publishing and how best to show your work to the wider world.

Leanne's Bio:

Leanne O'Sullivan comes from the Beara Peninsula in West Cork and is the author of three poetry collections, published by Bloodaxe Books -- Waiting for My Clothes (2004), Cailleach: The Hag of Beara (2009) and The Mining Road (2013). She has been the recipient of several awards, most recently the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary Award (2009, nominated by Michael Longley), The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature (2010), The Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry (2011), and the UCC Alumni Achievement Award (2012).

Lining Our Thoughts: A Poetry Workshop retreat is limited to a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 12 participants on a first-deposit-in basis. For more information and/or bookings, please contact Sue at

If you would like more information on retreating to Anam Cara to work on your own project at a time during the year that would fit your schedule, again contact Sue at

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Anam Cara and Poetry Competition Short List

We are proud and honoured to join in supporting poets at home and abroad. This year’s competition introduced us to new poets who all met a high standard. Out of those, the following poems have been shortlisted for the top prize of a place in Leanne O’Sullivan’s “Lining Our Thoughts: A Poetry Workshop” . Leanne recently launched her third book of poetry The Mining Road (Bloodaxe, 2013).

“Cyclops” – Victoria Kennefick, Tralee, Co. Kerry, Ireland

“From A to B” – Grania Mackay, Bunclody, Co. Wexford, Ireland

“The Gypsy Girl” – Caroline Bracken, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

“Late Night in a Cabin on the Head” – Erin Fornoff, Dublin, Ireland

“My Daddy Didn’t Hold Me Down” – Caroline Coyle, Athlone, Co. Wicklow, Ireland

“on arriving” – Sally Rauch, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

“Prospector” – Jose A. Alcantara, Carbondale, Colorado, USA

“Visiting the Dead in Paris” – Amber Decker, Hedgesville, West Virginia, USA

Congratulations to all the poets on the list!

To find out who the winner is and to read the winning poem, check out the Anam Cara web site ( or on Bloomsday, 16th June!

Poetry and Fiction Competitions Announced

I just received information about these two competitions offering £10,000 in for first prize in both fiction and poetry. You can enter by post or online; detailed information is at If you decide to go for one of them, I wish you much good luck!!!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Call for Submissions

thesnailmagazine is now ready to accept submissions from writers.
We are looking longish pieces (3,000 - 7,500 words) that are sharp, incisive, illuminating, and grip the readers attention.

What we would like to see:
Investigative Journalism
Literary Journalism
True Life Stories
Immersion Reportage

What we would not be interested in:
Personal Essays

For those of you who write short fiction and poetry, by sheer happenstance there is a literary magazine called The Snail Mail Review at which would be happy to receive submissions. thesnailmagazine is only interested in nonfiction.

All submission should be sent to either as an attachment or in the body of the email. A response will be swift and a rejection should not be taken to be a comment on the quality of your work but only that it does not meet our present needs.

It is hoped to issue thesnailmagazine No 1 in September and then at three monthly intervals, with a view to becoming bi-monthly as quickly as possible.

When the magazine is ready for the press a campaign will be started on to collect subscriptions. An announcement will be made nearer the time.

Posts on creative nonfiction and the progress of the magazine will be posted below. Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

Thank you
Ron Francis

Saturday, May 25, 2013

From a UK Anam Cara Alum to UK Writers and Artists...

I wanted to tell you as friends, writers and all-round nice folk about a project I'm doing on London gardens
over the next two weeks as part of the Chelsea Fringe.

Each day from today until 9th June, I'll be posting up photographs and stories about a different London garden I've chosen on my website - It's all about reading and writing in the garden, so there will be a poem I've selected for its relevance or connection and also a writing exercise designed for that particular spot. It's all part of a plan to encourage more people to read and write alongside me, so I'll be going along to as many gardens as I can and if you fancy it, and are near enough, come and write with me. We will laugh in the face of rain and dripping notebooks. If you bring cake, we will eat it... If you bring wine ...

The details are here ..., and today's poem is Charles Causley's The Green Man.

But really this email is to ask you for absolutely nothing, I just wanted to let you know what I was doing, and I hope it appeals to some of you. There's a little widget on the right hand side if you wanted to sign up to receive these postings in your inbox, and also if you wanted to send me a photograph of you writing in your garden and what you've written (particularly if it's as a result of one of the exercises) I'd be a bit excited. Please feel free to share this email and the website to whom you want.

Sarah Salway

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mslexia Magazine Writing Competitions

From Mslexia:

We have a whole host of submission opportunities for writers. I hope you have received some information through the post, but if not, would you be able to help us spread the word to your students via email?

Firstly, our tenth annual Women’s Poetry Competition is now open for entries. For poems of any length and on any subject, the first prize is £2,000 and it will be judged by the Costa award-winning poet Kathleen Jamie. Click here for more information.

Secondly, there’s our second annual Poetry Pamphlet Competition, for short collections of 18-20 pages of 20-24 poems by women poets who have not previously published a full-length collection. The first prize is publication by Seren Books, plus £250. The brilliant winner of our 2012 competition, Shadow Dispatches by Polly Atkin, is available to buy now. The closing date for both competitions is 17 June 2013. Click here.

For writers of other genres, all our other regular slots are also open for submission. For scriptwriters, there’s our Monologue feature (in the voice of a ‘shoplifter’ for issue 59) and we’re challenging poets to send us their take on Four Lines that Rhyme. Fans of new media are invited to submit A Week of Tweets about their writing and/or life – or to apply for a three-month ‘residency’ on the Mslexia Blog. And as a special challenge to writers of description and character, our regular Pen Portrait feature will focus on a ‘nun’ in issue 59. The deadline for issue 59 is 15 July 2013. Click here for all the information needed to submit.

There are six additional open submission slots in the magazine – making 13 slots in total – because one of our main aims is to inspire women to write, to edit their work, and to submit it for publication. We see Mslexia as both a jumping-off point for new authors and a showcase for some of the best new poetry and short prose by women writers at every stage in their careers. For full submission guidelines and regular updates, visit For regular writing workshops, including those specially-commissioned for our upcoming competitions, visit

Keep an eye out for our Novel Competition, too. Open to unpublished women novelists only, first prize is £5,000 and the deadline is 23 September 2013. Visit for more information and full guidelines.

Weekend Haiku/Mindfulness Workshop in Dublin

Anam Cara alums, Maeve O'Sullivan and Kim Richardson, are bringing their individual and team expertise to Dublin in July. They have conducted three such (week-long) workshops here at Anam Cara. See below for details.

Writing From Within
Sat 6th and Sun 7th July 2013

Venue: Carousel Creates Dublin Writers' Centre, Rathfarnam, Co. Dublin, Ireland

Combining haiku poetry with mindfulness practices and the natural beauty of the nearby forests and mountains, our goal is to increase our powers of observation and description. Tuition in haiku and related forms, plus breathing, light and related exercises. We will also get outside for at least one ginko, a composition stroll, taking inspiration from the local views, flora and wildlife.

• The workshop is appropriate for anyone working in all writing forms.
• No previous experience of haiku or of meditative practices is necessary.
• The workshop is limited to a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 15 participants.

Dates: Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th July, 9am-5pm

Cost: €250 residential (all meals incl. dinner on Saturday), €200 non-residential (incl. all other meals)

Info+bookings: Carolann Copland at or on +353 (0) 86 1923613 •

Twitter: @writefromwithin

Monday, May 6, 2013

Launching Leanne O'Sullivan's Latest Book of Poetry

On 23 April in the Cork City Libaray, Paula Meehan, one of Ireland's best and best-loved poets, launched Leanne O'Sullivan's latest book of poetry, The Mining Road. [Leanne will be conducting a poetry workshop at Anam Cara from 20-27 July (see for details).] The following is the text of Paula's speech to the large and enthusiastic crowd who attended the launch:

The most remarkable thing about this most remarkable book is the way it is rooted in a precise and specific territory: the tip of the Beara Peninsula. This is the heartland of the universe for Leanne O’Sullivan, the ground where she stands to channel the power of poetry and place, to fuse these energies into precise and beautifully crafted lyric poems.

Leanne draws on a tradition of relationship with the land that reaches right back to the bronze age and the earliest copper mining. She tunnels, in a sense, back through the layers of history and folklore that accrete about a landscape — an outer journey mirrored by that inner journey which is the mining into the deepest reach of selfhood.

I am reminded of the ancient triple goddess Brigde, or as she is known in her Christian guise, Brigid. Brigid was the guardian protector of eloquence and poetry, wells and healing, and mining and smithcraft. When I read in this book I hear anvil music, I stand by the fertile crucible of making, I taste pure water from the well of healing. This is the tradition Leanne has inherited, and we are blessed, if we choose, in the comfort and relief these poems have to offer us.

Michael Hartnett talks of the central wound in the Irish psyche as the memory of a mother rape we can not face in our boardrooms of mock oak. Hartnett had the Irish language in mind, but he might equally have been speaking of the land of Ireland itself. There is, right through the poetic tradition, a strand of thought  that says the land has somehow failed us, failed to nourish us. It may well be that subconsciously or otherwise, millions who have emigrated have this in their minds, the wound of having been failed. There is another way to think of this: perhaps after all we should consider not only those who have been failed but those millions, generation after generation, who have been nourished and borne up by the land. Perhaps it is time to heal the great wound, the wound in the imagination — then we might begin to nurture the land, to care for our own place, to give back in gratitude what is due, to be at home in the world.

I think Leanne’s poetry has a part to play in that restoration. A part to play in a change of mind and heart. A new kind of Dinndseanchas, a story that seeks to sing back to us the song of the place, the place where the heart can have ease and the mind wholeness.

Leanne O’Sullivan is a carrier of story. I believe the story chooses its teller. Some stories remain untold for generations waiting for the right soul to carry them out into the light. ‘Safe House’ is one such story. To hear that story we need to trust the teller as well as the tale.

From the very moment I first heard Leanne O’Sullivan’s voice, at an event many years ago in Schull not long after her first book was published, I trusted her completely. There is a quality to the voice – something that can’t be faked. In a word, integrity. And that is why I trust what she tells me of the world I live in.

If the heartland is in West Cork the hinterland is nothing less than this world we share. These poems manage to belong, with great immediacy and great lyric power, to both the local moment, its landscape and its community, and to the global moment, to the eternal verities, the universality of woundedness, of loss, of enduring love.

Wherever we are on the face of the earth we are bound in common humanity. And this is the book’s adventure: the universal quest to be at home in our skin, to find kin and kinship in a given place, and to experience the solace and healing that the very land herself can offer us.

Please join me in welcoming this new and wonderful book into the world.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

From The New York Times.....

April 26, 2013

Nice Poem; I’ll Take It

If you read British newspapers, you might have heard of Christian Ward. In 2011, Ward won the Exmoor Society’s Hope Bourne prize for his poem “The Deer at Exmoor,” only to have his work revealed as a copy of “The Deer,” by Helen Mort, which won the Café Writers Open Poetry Competition in England in 2009. Ward defended himself by saying, “I had no intention of deliberately plagiarizing,” and suggested he had used Mort’s work as a model and had submitted a premature draft.

Looking through Ward’s publications over the last few years, I recognize the hopscotch. We both have been published in journals small and big, online and in print. We are both in our early 30s. He has an M.A. in creative writing from Royal Holloway, University of London. I have an M.F.A. in creative writing from American University. We list some of the same inspirations — Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop. He published in the literary journal Diagram the year after I did. One bio note proclaims: “He hates sport, things which are trendy and people who refuse to be themselves.”

How I wish he’d stuck to being himself. Instead, he chose to be me. In 2011, he entered the text of my poem “August” as his own in a contest. I was skeptical when I received the tip from a friend of a friend on Facebook. Then I saw the Web site for the University of Derby’s Buxton Poetry Competition. In the portfolio of winners, I found “July,” by Christian Ward, which received a citation in the “open category”:

Sooner or later, whatever you cherish most will beg
to be burned.
Trust me, the phoenix says, I’m immortal. Watch
your childhood
home — how the wires fray, how the floorboards
splinter to tinder.

The poems are identical in line and stanza, except for a few strategic word changes. The title rotates by one summer calendar month. “The man you love” becomes “the woman you love;” my “baseboards” become “floorboards.” Instead of a sister who thickens “gasoline with jelly, collects canisters” with the intent of making Molotov cocktails, Ward creates a brother, a milder criminal who “shoplifts canisters of petrol from the BP service station.”

When your work is posted and reposted online, and when publishing is as much an act of community-­building as a means of income, you develop a flexible definition of intellectual property. I have enthusiastically blurbed poets who used my work for structural inspiration. I have walked into a high school classroom to discover that a teacher has assigned his students to “write into” my poem, inserting their nouns into my free-verse form. I have volleyed e-mails with translators, accepting the control lost when your metaphors enter a language you do not speak. I can admire conceptual poets like Kenneth Goldsmith, whose pieces are often a transparent pastiche of borrowed texts. This is none of that.

“I have begun to examine my published poems to make sure there are no similar mistakes,” Ward said in a formal statement to The Western Morning News of Cornwall after his use of Helen Mort’s work came to light. “I want to be as honest as I can with the poetry community, and I know it will take some time to regain their trust.”

“Published,” it seems to me, suggests Ward is far less concerned about the core transgression than he is about the consequences of being caught. “Mistakes” suggests he still thinks of this as some errant drafting exercise, as if our poems are Mad Libs waiting for completion at his hand. And being truly “honest” dictates reaching out not only to the poets involved in your publicized thefts but to the rest of us whom you know to be waiting in the wings.

I am not the only American victim of Ward’s plagiarism, instances of which have steadily continued to emerge since the Mort revelation. He recycled Paisley Rekdal’s “Bats” in Anon Magazine, whose editors later caught the violation and contacted Rekdal. She posted a fiery letter to Ward on her blog, describing feeling “a heady mix of anger, resentment, amusement and bewilderment, even a touch of embarrassment.”

At least Rekdal and I can speak for ourselves. In 2006, Sarah Hannah’s poem “At Last, Fire Seen as a Psychotic Break” appeared online. It was later collected in “Inflorescence,” her intensely personal second book, which wrestles with the death of Hannah’s mother, an artist who struggled with mental illness. The collection was published posthumously. Hannah took her own life in 2007 at the age of 40.

Fast-forward to 2009, when the Poetry Salzburg review in Austria published “Fire as a Metaphor for Psychosis,” attributed to Christian Ward. Line after line is copied from Hannah’s poem, including the closing stanza lifted whole with only the loss of a single line break. Her poem reads: “What if you’d stood nightly by the wall, / Felt around for the heat, / Drawn a cold, wet cloth across the surface, / And, speaking soft words, / Held it?”

Ward adds the epigraph “After SH.” He lists this credit in his bio note for Diagram, which includes the coyly reflexive observation that Ward “recently crossed the Mojave and can now understand the definition of hell. Thought he saw Dante asking for a lift somewhere along the route.”

Where would Dante send a plagiarist? The Eighth Circle of Hell is reserved for the fraudulent and requires a descent down a cliff on the back of Geryon, within waving distance of Mordred and Count Ugolino in their pit of treachery. That seems a tad excessive. I want to step back, to take pity on Ward. But I also want to be clear: these appropriations matter. If the poets don’t assert the value of their words, who will?

The editors who inadvertently abetted Ward’s thefts have responded in a variety of ways. The Buxton Poetry Competition organizers took “July” down and reformatted their PDF of the winning submissions as if the poem had never existed. The Web site of The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine now reads, “The poems previously published on this page were submitted by and attributed to Christian Ward, but were actually the work of award-winning poet and novelist Owen Sheers.”

Valley Press is supposed to publish Ward’s first collection, “The Moth House,” later this year. Is “July” in the table of contents? Is “Fire as a Metaphor for Psychosis”? I assume plagiarized work would be culled, but it’s more likely that it was never in there to begin with, that our poems were useful only as steppingstones.

“August” holds a special place in my own career; it closes my collection “Theories of Falling,” which won the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize. It was a hard poem, the kind that rips you wide. I wrote it in August of 2006 and push-pinned it to the wall with the rest of what I did not yet know would be my big break. I’d open the door to my studio each day, and the breeze would riffle the pages.

“The only thing I can say,” my mother told me, “is he truly loved your work — and that’s where the sadness is.” I want to believe that. With every draft I read aloud, I tasted the words in my mouth. Salty, sweet, fatty, lean, velvet, metallic, mean. Mine. What does it feel like, tasting words you’ve stolen? Like sand, I suspect. Sand that a man dying of dehydration drinks in the desert, never slaking his thirst.

Sandra Beasley is the author of the poetry collections “I Was the Jukebox” and “Theories of Falling,” and the memoir “Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales From an ­Allergic Life.”

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Book of the Year Award Winner at Anam Cara

We are proud to present: A reading by award-winning author, Donal Ryan. His book, The Spinning Heart, was named Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards in 2012.

Praise for The Spinning Heart:

"There will be many novels which explore the effect of the crash on the people of Ireland but I can't imagine a more original, more perceptive or more passionate work than this. Outstanding." John Boyne

"The Spinning Heart uncovers a fragmented, troubled society struggling under the weight of betrayal and regret. Sorcha Hamilton (The Irish Times)

Donal Ryan has an imaginative insight into his characters that's all his own and a furious energy to his prose that gives arrestingly vivid life to these blighted souls. … a darkly persuasive debut. John Boland (Irish

Most beautifully written and plotted. What a writer! It is amazing to read about such grief and pain and yet end up elevated by the quality of the writing. A wonderful book. Jennifer Johnston

Saturday, April 6th, 8 pm
Donations in aid of Pieta House Cork are welcome.
To guarantee a seat, please call Anam Cara on 027 74441.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Colouring Easter Eggs at Scoil Chaitigheirn

Every year, Anam Cara sponsors a morning of colouring Easter eggs at the two national schools, in Eyeries and Urhan. This photo is of the 3rd and 4th class students at the Eyeries National School, Scoil Chaitigheirn, each with two of the four eggs that they decorated this year. We use duck eggs because they are white or light blue and will take the Easter egg dye. Most hen eggs in this part of Ireland are brown so don't work very well. I usually begin collecting the eggs from the nine Anam Cara ducks at the beginning of Lent and have plenty of time to collect enough eggs. It was cold enough, and Lent began while it was still cold, that the ducks didn't really get into the spirit of things soon enough; so, Jackie and Jerry Murphy, who have a flock of ducks, had to come to the rescue of our Easter project for which we are all grateful! Not only did the Eyeries kids produce incredibly creative and beautiful eggs, but they also came away with the annual tie-dyed fingers that let everyone they meet know, in case they've forgotten, that we're getting close to Easter.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

In Honour of the Day and Beara....

St. Patrick’s Day

Ireland has rubbed off on me..
my shoes are stained with it,
my feet calloused by it,
my body peninsula-shaped,
my voice roughened by the auld songs
my hips creaking in waltz time

These flat feet of mine find
the road to Eyeries in the rain,
and they cling to the boreen
as it winds to the strand where
heart-shaped shells and pebbles,
spiral marked, glisten in the sun.

Then I climb to Gort’n Boulliga,
the graveyard on the hill where I
wipe my feet on the mat during the
Mad Cow scare and pay tribute
to Michael’s parents with
a daffodil on their grave.

(“Why did you do that? Michael asked.
“Somebody has to,” I answered.
“Visiting makes me too lonely,” he said.)
Now it makes me lonely to visit his grave
just two rows down where I leave hydrangeas.

My eyes are Irish now.
shedding tears of grief and wonder.
My arms are Irish arms.
Clasping the arms and shoulders,
of companions who help
me across ravines through
storms, like Battie, the mason, and his wife
Rosarie who can do anything.

“Rosie the Mill” watches from her house
at the crossroads-- Rosie who can instantly
marshal tractors to scare off marauders,
and can dance the night away.

I welcome Denis “Batt” who raised skyscrapers
in New York and returned to build a house
near his mother for his wife Mary.
I have seen the poet, Leanne, change from child
to Fairy Queen whose metaphors
conquered the castle, and I have joked
with Father Sean, singer of vintage songs
and Maggie whose healing hands rubbed
old hurts away.

My appetite changes to an Irish hunger
for potatoes, cabbage, oatmeal.
Rosarie’s sponge cake,
Mary’s apple tart,
mussels and scallops,
goose egg merengue,
Sue’s omelets.

My Irish legs are strengthened by slogging
through the mud, over the stile at the Ardgroom
stone circle where my daughter and I
prayed for our hearts' desires and left
cockle shells as offerings

I linger at Sue’s Retreat, a haven nourishing
the creative process wherever it may be lurking.
My spiritual yearning opens me to words
flowing freely in Yeatsian harmony.
halfway between heaven and earth,
with moonrise in the morning and sunrise at night.
My Irish knees bend at the golden church
under stained glass windows and glorious
stations announced by Father Brick
whose ecumenical voice
welcomed Mormon me as one of the “good
Christian woman on the road to Urhan,”
my face an Irish face
branded with ashes from Fr Brick's hand
on Wednesday after which he
came down on my Irish head
with a blessing. “May you have the
spirit of Christ forever with you.

Now I have an Irish breast, too old
to suckle, but beating with a heart
as strong as any in the village,
beating with dancers
like Denis and Deccie,
patiently teaching me to follow
the Irish way to friendship, loyalty and love.

Mary Lythgoe Bradford
Leesburg, Virginia, USA

Monday, March 4, 2013

Gerry Galvin Has Left Us...

Gerry is shown here (on the left) with Irish President Michael D. Higgins, who launched Gerry's first poetry collection in 2010.

Gerry Galvin, an extraordinary chef, gifted writer, and a much-loved and much-missed friend, passed away on Friday, 1 March. When he first came to Anam Cara as a writer-in-residence in 2002, he had recently retired from his long career as a restauranteur, first in Kinsale, where he was instrumental in turning that town into a destination for food lovers, and then at his and his wife Marie's Drimcong House restaurant in Moycullen, Co. Galway.

But I didn't know any of his history at the time. He arrived on a Sunday, and beginning on Monday, we all gathered after breakfast to listen to a pre-recorded Gerry on the radio reading one of his essays a day for the week, essays written based on some of his own poetry. On Tuesday morning (after I had served him four meals), we heard the announcer say, "The name Gerry Galvin is probably very familiar to you, but not yet as a writer. He is known as the first gourmet chef of Ireland!" I was gobsmacked (and appalled)! But Gerry in his consummate generosity assured me that all was well. His sweet acceptance of my offerings cemented our friendship, and he honoured us by preparing something wonderful for us each time he was in residence. One of my fondest memories is cooking with Gerry as we got ready for my stations mass for the Eyeries parishioners of Inches townland.

Our last visit was in Galway in April. Phyl McCarthy and I went to the Festival to hear Gerry read from his latest novel and to spend time with the poet Billy Collins and his fiance Suzannah, both of whom thoroughly enjoyed Gerry's reading. Phyl and I then spent a beautiful, sunny afternoon with Marie and Gerry in their lovely home in afternoon that included lunch!!! The company and the meal were fabulous -- A treat I will remember forever.

Rest in Peace, dear, dear Gerry.

(His obituary can be found at:

Saturday, February 16, 2013

2013, The Year of "The Gathering"

2013 is going to be an amazing time to be in Ireland -- to connect or reconnect with your Irish roots and to take part in "The Gathering." If you don't have roots of your own, it's a great time to create some. (To learn more about the special offerings throughout the country, go to

And while you are in Ireland, why not plan to spend some of that time reconnecting with yourself and your creative side by retreating to Anam Cara on the Beara Peninsula, "the place that God created for himself, and at the last minute gave to us."*

(*a Dublin taxi driver)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

St. Mary's College Students Visit Anam Cara

Rosemary Graham, a writer-in-residence at Anam Cara and a member of the creative writing faculty at Saint Mary's College of California, recently brought 20 students to spend a day at Anam Cara near the end of their intensive, one-month tour of Ireland. She and Fr. McElligott, also a member of St. Mary's faculty and who has conducted these tours for the past nine years, provided an incredible experience for their students as they covered the length and breadth of the country, challenging them to rethink any pre-conceived notions they may have had about Ireland -- its people, its history and politics, its place in history, its literature, its music, its culture.

During their day here, Paddy O'Conor, a Beara poet and retired English teacher and counselor, led a discussion on Beara and Cork poets and the roles that writing and creativity play in Ireland. The group got stuck in immediately to Paddy's poetry writing prompts as they explored their own reactions to what they had seen and heard in the last month, and from the few students that there was time to hear from, they produced some outstanding work.

Representatives of the group have written a daily blog detailing their journey; the following is their entry after their day with Paddy at Anam Cara:

Rosemary organized another Anam Cara connection for the group. In their final night in Dublin, they were joined by Fiona O'Rourke, who was thrilled that the students read her story, "Wrong Whiskey," which won third prize in the 2012 Fish Publishing Short Story competition and was written for the most part at Anam Cara when Fiona and Rosemary were both writers-in-residence.


Happy St. Brigid's Day (1 February) -- the first day of Celtic Spring! As St. Brigid is the patron of poetry, among many other creative activities, today would be a good day to begin to consider taking time to enhance your own creative gifts at Anam Cara. You could either retreat on your own anytime during the year or take part in one of the following workshop retreats now scheduled for 2013. For more information about an individual retreat. go to or to learn more about the group retreats, go to


Plein Air Watercolour Workshop Retreat
Led by: Evelyn Dunply (
One-week residential workshop retreat
Arrival: 25 May 2013
Departure: 1 June 2013
"Plein Air View of Beara" by Evelyn Dunphy


The Legends of the Hag of Beara: A Guide to Our Challenging Times
Led by: JoAnn Hughes (
A Week-long Residential Workshop Retreat
Arrival: Saturday, 15 June 2013
Departure: Saturday, 22 June 2013


Lining Our Thoughts: A Poetry Writing Workshop
Led by: Leanne O'Sullivan
A Week-long Residential Workshop Retreat
Arrival: Saturday, 20 July 2013
Departure: Saturday, 27 July 2013

Writing with Fire: Creating Works That Rivet Your Readers
Led by David Hazard (
A Week-long Residential Workshop Retreat
Arrival: Saturday, 10 August 2013
Departure: Saturday, 17 August 2013

Loosening the Bonds - A Silent, Guided, Elements Retreat
Retreat Leader: Kim Richardson
A Week-long Residential Retreat
Arrival: Saturday, 17 August 2013
Departure: Saturday 24 August 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Writing with Fire: Creating Works That Rivet Your Readers
A Week-long Residential Workshop Retreat
Led by David Hazard (
Arrival: Saturday, 10 August 2013
Departure: Saturday, 17 August 2013

"Publishers and readers find a powerful voice irresistible. For 34 years, David Hazard has coached writers, teaching them how to direct the latent powers of their whole being into their writing.

"Great writers... successful writers... learn how to speak with what I call, 'The voice of the soul, and the voice of the body.' Power is released into your writing when you open these energies.

"Whether creating a novel, a memoir, or essays, fresh, riveting voice is essential. In the many years I have taken to form this workshop retreat, I have seen countless writers experience the fresh energies of mind, body, and soul after this encounter -- which is really an encounter with your personal energies."

More about David:

David Hazard has worked as an author, publishing consultant, and writing and creativity coach since 1979, developing bestselling titles and lines of books for numerous publishers. He has authored more than 30 books of his own, including several award-winning and internationally bestselling titles. His 1984 book, Blood Brothers, led to three Nobel Peace Prize nominations for its subject, Dr. Elias Chacour, and is now published in 25 languages.

Other bestsellers and award-winning books include: A Place Behind the World (1st Place, Fiction, ECPA); No Compromise: The Keith Green Story (over 1.5 million sold); Rekindling the Inner Fire, an 11-volume series (over 350,000 sold). David has consulted with publishers such as Doubleday, HarperCollins, Random House, Thomas Nelson and others.

In his wide-ranging career as a writing coach, David has coached government officials, actors and celebrities, novelists, financial and economic experts, children's authors, international diplomats, news correspondents, psychologists and counselors, pop music stars, motivational speakers, sports figures, spiritual teachers and theologians... and everyday men and women with novels and poignant memoirs to publish.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


"Loosening the Bonds" – A Silent, Guided, Elements Retreat
A Week-long Residential Retreat
Retreat Leader: Kim Richardson
Arrival: Saturday, 17 August 2013
Departure: Saturday 24 August 2013

Join us for a week of companionable silence and guided meditations and practices drawn from the world’s great spiritual traditions, including the ancient Celtic tradition, in the great natural beauty of the Beara Peninsula. The landscape of the Southwest of Ireland is a living exemplar of the ancient Elements—Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. In this Elements Retreat, we will seek to use the alchemy of the four physical elements, along with guided and silent meditations, walking, music, breath and mantra practices, to go beyond them. In this way, we seek to free ourselves for a while from the bonds of attachment to the “false self,2 and the illusion that is this apparent world, going beyond and inward to awaken to the freedom and beauty of our real Self, and the wellspring of our creativity.

About Kim:
Kim Richardson is an experienced retreat guide and workshop leader, who regularly leads retreats in the UK and in the Sinai desert in Egypt. [Kim teaches and guides students and leads retreats in both the Sufi and Reiki spiritual traditions and is also a member of a Shingon Buddhist sangha.] He has also led haiku and meditation workshops at Anam Cara with Maeve O’Sullivan.