I'll be reading at 'The Art of Conversation' on Sunday 8th September, 1pm, as part of the Mount Stewart Conversations Festival.
Organisers Karen Mooney, Gaynor Kane and Byddi Lee present a programme of readings by local writers within the theme of ‘The Art of Conversation’ reflecting conversations and the issues that provoke and stimulate conversation in today’s society.
The full line-up for the weekend includes:
Saturday 7th September
David Braziel, Maureen Boyle, Kerry Buchanan, Sue Divin, Ray Givans, Doreen McBride, Paul Rafferty, Conor Shields, Liz Weir MBE, Jo Zebedee
Sunday 8th September
Trish Bennett, Cathy Carson, Colin Dardis, Moyra Donaldson, Malachi Kelly, Byddi Lee, Réaltán Ní Leannáin, Anesu Mtowa, Maria McManus, Roy Uprichard
"The poet, at the starting point, is drawn to every poem they write as they are compelled to write them. In some ways, your best poem is always your most recent poem, as that has been the one that allows the poetic muscle to continue flexing. Only with time and distance however does the poet realise which pieces will continue to speak to them, and for them."
Thanks to Ellie Rose McKee for interviewing me for her blog, with me discussing Dogs, alongside giving advice to posts, and looking ahead to future projects.
A few snaps from last night's book launch at Eastside Arts Festival. Many thanks to everyone who came out to support the book!
Big thanks also to Dan Eggs for reading alongside me, Damian Smyth of Arts Council of Northern Ireland for his kind, generous introduction, and to Festival Director Rachel Kennedy for allowing it all to happen, as well as the festival staff and volunteers.
"Suddenly, I’m overwhelmed by a pounding headache, a sense of dizziness… I feel like monsters are rushing at my from off the walls, creatures I can’t really see but it feels like a video game where you can’t shoot fast enough. I close my eyes and lower my head. The sensation lasts a minute and then passes. I don’t know what to make of it, and do not mention it to anyone.
Years later, I came to realise that this was my first panic attack."
To mark launch day for Dogs, I've a guest blog post on Nessa O'Mahony's website, writing about poetry and mental health. Many thanks for Nessa for hosting the piece.
Verbal Arts Centre is launching a new FREE poetry competition, looking for new pieces on the theme of ‘resilience’, which I will be co-judging.
The Seamus Burns Creative Writing Competition has been made possible through a generous, anonymous donation as a tribute to Seamus Burns, father of Derry-Londonderry writer Mark Burns.
Submissions will engage with an audience aged 18-24, dealing with the themes of resilience and explore how individuals adapt to overcome setback in their lives.
1st place - £250
2nd place – £150
3rd place - £100
DEADLINE EXTENDED: Now 20th September (originally 6th Sept)
The winning entries will be published in The Honest Ulsterman, with the authors invited to read their poems at Youth 19's ‘We are Poets’ initiative which will take place in November in Derry/Londonderry.
The Blue Nib has their review of The Dogs of Humanity on their blog. Many thanks to them for featuring the collection.
"The analogies and ambiguities are thought-provoking and encourage readers to look again at familiar situations and blur the boundaries between animals and humans... The Dogs of Humanity is timely and engaging."
It's updated hourly, so this could be fleeting, but... right now, The Dogs Of Humanity is the hottest New Release in Contemporary Poetry on Amazon, and 15th in overall Contemporary Poetry - wow!
It's also #2 in the Hot New Releases in British & Irish Poetry - being outsold by that old glory hog, Shakespeare...
Many thanks everyone for an awesome launch day! You can get your Kindle copy here.
Neon Books has posted Michael Farry's review of The Dogs of Humanity (from which an advanced quote appears of the back cover of the collection).
The book is described as "a series of explorations of the human condition using canine metaphors, parallels and antitheses which entertain, enlighten and entrap us".
On Joe Cushnan's blog, Dropped The Moon, I've a guest post writing about how the new book came to be published through Fly On The Wall Press, and my pre-launch nerves:
"[T]he putting-together-a-book process was a lot easier than the process of my previous collection, the x of y. From original manuscript to publication, that took about two years. Things tend to move slowly in the publishing world. To move from submission to actual physical book with Fly Press in eight months is amazing."
It's release day for my new collection, The Dogs of Humanity, from Fly on the Wall Poetry!
Many thanks to everyone who has supported me on his journey, shared posts, offered kind words, and been supportive. Special thanks to Isabelle Kenyon, the publisher superstar for making it all happen' to Mary O'Donnell, Jess Traynor, Mel McMahon and Michael Farry for their endorsements of the book.
Also thanks to my ever-supportive wife Geraldine O'Kane, and Damian Smyth at Arts Council of Northern Ireland for his ongoing belief.
For those of you more digitally inclined, the book is also available on Kindle.
You can also stream/download a special album of ambient sounds, designed to be listened to while reading the collection. You Fathomed Things is available from Bandcamp for free/pay-what-you-want.
And finally, for anyone who posts a screenshot of their order, or a photo of their copy of the book, I'll also send them a bonus e-chapbook of companion poems, 'Underdogs' as a thank you!
See you at the Belfast launch at EastSide Arts Festival 2019 on Thursday 8th August!
Thursday 4th Oct, 7pm
Books, Paper, Scissors
Short Story Showcase
Sunday 20th Oct, 3pm