Fermanagh Writers have produced a booklet of tributes in poetry and prose in honour of the late poet. John D. Kelly – one of the group’s prize winning poets and a contributor – will present it to the family to mark the first anniversary on 30th August of the poet’s passing. John’s co-contributors are Dermot Maguire, Teresa Kane, John Llewellyn James, Angela McCabe, Rosemary Bland, Antoinette Rock, Catherine Vallely, Ken Ramsey, Tony Brady, Anthony Viney, Dianne Ascroft, Peter Byrne and Katharine May.
In the closing words of the Introduction to the book Fermanagh Writers say: “They wish to offer a tribute to Mr Heaney by presenting his family with this modest collection of poetry and prose in memory of his life and work. It is presented with our condolences, admiration, respect and affection.”
Congratulations to John D. Kelly who won first prize in the Poets Meet Painters contest run by Hungry Hill Writing. The contest was adjudicated by Cherry Smyth. His poem, Brush With A Past, is included in the Poets Meet Painters anthology.
For more information about the contest and the anthology visit Hungry Hill Writers website.
Our Chair, Tony Brady offers his thoughts on the poem:
Celebrating a Fermanagh Writer’s poetry success.
There are many examples of poets looking at and being inspired by a painting and composing a complimentary and revelatory poem: W.H Auden for example. His poem – Musée des Beaux Arts – begins: “About suffering they were never wrong the old masters….” and conveys the indifference of the various watching characters in a Pieter Breugel painting. A masterpiece: it depicts the Fall of Icarus in fateful plunge to earth when his man-made waxen wings melt as he soars towards the sun.
John D. Kelly’s winning poem – Brush With A Past – which appears in Poets Meet Painters – a recent Anthology published by Hungry Hill Writing, is inspired by perceptions of looking at a tondo* – one in a series by Etain Hickey. Copies of the Anthology are obtainable at 4 euro each including postage from www.hungryhillwriting.com.
Reactions such as: “I see my pointed reflection….” and “…a loss that happened in the warp of the timeline between the past and present of your face.” – are contained in his poem – free form verses in five four line stanzas..
He conveys sensations: “….. tasting of linseed; being tongued; your eyes – stare” and the completing line “..the water welling in the corner of your innocent eye.” The engagement between the painter, her medium and the observing poet, all visualised in a circular close up
appreciation of a woman’s face. There is not a trace of indifference rather an intensity of compelling communication.
From the Anthology we also learn that Etain Hickey specializes in highly decorated and lustred ceramics and has exhibited both nationally and internationally, with recent exhibitions in London and Brussels. Her work is included in private and public collections including the Crafts Council of Ireland, The Ulster Museum and Fujita Museum Japan. She lives, works and has her gallery in Clonakilty, West Cork. Etain explores her love of colour and pattern in her ceramic wall dishes using rich glazes and lavish decoration techniques incorporating gold.For this exhibition she will be making a new collection of both her abstract wall dishes
and Tondos’ portraying women with decorative hair styles or head dresses which are often symbols of prestige and status in both modern and ancient times.
Her work can be seen at:
Etain Hickey Collections
40 Ashe Street,
* A tondo is a Renaissance term for a circular work of art, either a painting or a sculpture. The word derives from the Italian rotondo – “round.”
November has been a busy month for prizes and awards for Fermanagh Writers members. As well as Seamus Carolan’s induction into the Bard of Armagh Hall of Fame (see previous blog post), Mary McElroy and Angela McCabe have also been in the winner’s circle.
Mary McElroy’s moving poem, Blue, dedicated to her son, David, won the Fermanagh section of Funeral Service NI’s Poetry Contest 2013. She received her award at a ceremony at Stormont on Wednesday, 21st November.
Angela McCabe won 1st prize for Literature – Poetry in the Leitrim Guardian’s contest. The launch and celebratory night was in Standing Stone Hotel Ballinamore on Friday, 22nd November.
Congratulations to our member, Seamus Carolan, winner of the Bard of Armagh contest 2000 for his recitation The Pope Returns to Ireland Incognito. This year he has been awarded the Gerry Watters Bard of Armagh Hall of Fame Award and he will be presented with his award at the Bard of Armagh contest in Armagh on 22nd November.
On 19th October Fermanagh Writers hosted a poetry workshop led by Galway poet and tutor, Colette Nic Aodha. Our members as well as several other Enniskillen poets participated and thoroughly enjoyed the event. Our Chair, Tony Brady, tells us a bit about the afternoon:
I introduced Colette to an attendance of 17 at Fermanagh House, as an accomplished poet, Irish speaker/scholar and facilitator hailing from Shrule, Co. Mayo. Colette got under way with a personal reading of a poem by Seamus Heaney – Things I Like.
She proceeded to run a challenging participatory session. Everyone was asked to write an Haiku: they obliged and shared them with the group. Then she set the class a Tenka: they obliged again and read them out to the class. After that we were set to write a two stanza poem of 5 lines in which the words: LAKE – LIGHT – PATH – ISLAND – GLASS must be used. These were then read back – some really creative results were apparent in all efforts.
Next, the class wrote down 8 nouns and 8 active sense verbs. Then we aligned them at random. The point was to see the effect of stream of consciousness as opposed to automatic linking of words which can lead to cliché. Following that we all had to write – within two minutes – a list beginning with the words: “I wish….” and read them to the group. There was lots of humour and creative interplay.
I was only able to stay till 3.00pm. I left with a sense that something of a masterclass was proceeding. After refreshments, Colette planned to discuss the poems that had been submitted by participants prior to the workshop.
John James takes over the account from here:
After the break, Colette invited us to contribute our work and read for the group and then she would make helpful comments. John Kelly punctuated proceedings with his signature piece – ‘Bracket Man’. John, not a man content to fit into any bracket, asked Colette what was the right punctuation in poetry, she replied that full punctuation or none, it was all valid in modern free verse, whatever you as the writer feel comfortable with – she did admit to a personal dislike of the hyphen. We will leave no full-stop unturned in our quest to find out whether to punctuate our verse or not.
Teresa gave us a beautiful rendition of one of her poignant, yet plangent poets which lingered in our emotional core. There was some rather lengthy discussion about poetry and how accessible to the ‘ordinary’ reader it should be, it was reluctantly agreed that each writer has to decide for themselves how they should write and up to the reader whether they wished to take the time with the verse or not.
Jenny wrote a beautiful and moving piece about a child’s doll, that was laden with layer upon layer of deep personal meaning, it was an emotive and an important piece for her and it was a pleasure to share it. Unfortunately we were running out of time and Bob, Ken and Pete had to rush through their pieces, we all wished we had more time with their work. Marie followed with a piece that was redolent of her subtle thoughtfulness and clever play with words.
I earned the title of ‘Class Creep’, because I wrote a poem about Shrule, our tutor Colette’s home village, earned many snorts of derision and catcalls, but I did get a photo with the teacher and a bag of sweets for being a ‘good boy!’ Colette finished with two poems of her own, really showing the mastery of her craft; responding to a request to read a poem an gaelige; she did, and showed how the power of words can overcome all boundaries of language and understanding, the emotion was steeped in the ardour of the tongue.
Impartial Reporter readers will forget about summer this week as Wayne Hardman’s piece, Winter In Canada, sweeps them away from green fields and bubbling streams to Canada’s frozen back gardens, rivers and lakes and the joys of winter sport.
Retired ice hockey player Wayne, a native of Canada, is a sports broadcaster and journalist. He is a regular commentator for Belfast Giants, Team Ireland and Irish women’s ice hockey matches. In his spare time, when not helping his wife run Wove In Hove, he writes fiction and enjoys Fermanagh country life.
In this week’s Impartial Reporter short story, A Take On Living In Enniskillen, Peter Byrne offers an insight into the complexity of living in the town to a perplexed tourist who has ancestral connections to Northern Ireland.
As a native of Dublin who has lived in Fermanagh for many years Peter has had ample opportunity to observe his adopted home. His natural storytelling ability makes it difficult to tell where the truth stops and fiction begins.
Harry’s Band by Mariette Connor is this week’s story in the Impartial Reporter. Mariette takes readers back to the days of the dancebands in Ireland and one unusual gig.
Mariette is a native of Blackrock, Co Dublin and moved to Enniskillen in 2003. She lived for several years in Spain and has had stories and articles published in newspapers, magazines and anthologies in Ireland, UK and Spain.