Saturday, 30 December 2017

Poetry books read/reviewed in 2017

53 poetry books read this year.
19 women /32 men /2 various (2018 resolution: read more women)
19 books reviewed for Lagan Online - 11 women / 7 men / 1 various (although a collection of women’s writing)

Various - #NousSommesParis (Eyewear Publishing, 2016)
Samuel Beckett – Echo’s Bones & Other Precipitates (online)
Stephanie Conn – Copeland’s Daughter (smith|doorstop, 2016)
Tara Skurtu – Skurtu, Romania (Eyewear Publishing, 2016)
Sasha Dugdale – Red House (Carcanet Press, 2011)
Susan Millar DuMars – Bone Fire (Salmon, 2016)
Thomas Kinsella - The Good Fight: a poem for the tenth anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy (Peppercanister, 1973)
Derek Mahon – The Chimeras: A version of Les Chimères by Gérard de Nerval (Gallery Press, 1982)
Dennis O’Driscoll – Kist (Dolmen Press, 1982)
Michael Hartnett – Poems To Younger Women (Gallery Press, 1988)
Michael Longley - Fishing in the Sky (Poet&Printer, 1975)
Mary Oliver – Swan (Bloodaxe, 2011)
Gerald Dawe – The Lundys Letter (Gallery Press, 1985)
Charles Bukowski – Essential Bukowski (ed. Abel Delbritto) (4th Estate, 2016)
Hugo Williams – I Knew The Bride (Faber & Faber, 2014)
Macdara Woods – Music From The Big Tent (Dedalus Press, 2016)
Rita Ann Higgins – Tongulish (Bloodaxe Books, 2016)
Various – The Best New British and Irish Poets 2017 (ed. Luke Kennard) (Eyewear Publishing, 2016)
Joan Newmann – Circumcision Party (Honest Ulsterman Publications, 1994)
Lorraine Carey - From Doll House Windows (Revival Press, 2017)
Washing Windows? Irish Women Write Poems, ed. Alan Hayes (Arlen House, 2017)
Edward Anki - Remote Life (BareBackPress, 2014)
Scott Silsbe - The River Underneath the City (Low Ghost Press, 2016)
Richard Brautigan - The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writing (Mariner Books, 1999)
Tess Jolly – Touchpaper (Eyewear Publishing, 2016)
Nigel McLoughlin - Songs For No Voices (Lagan Press, 2004)
Jennifer Horne – Little Wanderer (Salmon Poetry, 2016)
Simon Armitage – Xanadu (Bloodaxe Books, 1992)
Paul Batchelor – The Love Darg (Clutag Press, 2014)
Olive Broderick – Night Divers (Templar Poetry, 2017)
Derek Mahon – Antarctica (Gallery Press, 1985)
Padraic Fiacc – Nights in the Bad Place (Blackstaff Press, 1977)
Paul Durcan – Teresa’s Bar (Gallery Press, 1986)
Paul Durcan – The Laughter of Mothers (Harvill Secker, 2007)
Ray Givans – The Innermost Room (Poetry Salzburg, 2017)
Karen J McDonnell – This Little World (Doire Press, 2017)
Todd Swift – Dream-beauty-psycho (Eyewear Publishing, 2017)
Catherine Walsh (Smithereens Press, 2017)
Ross Hattaway – How To Sleep With Stranger (Turas Press, 2017)
Phil Lynch – In a Changing Light (Salmon Poetry, 2016)
Christian Bök – Eunoia (Canongate Books, 2008)
Mel McMahon – Out of Breath (Summer Palace Press, 2016)
Sean Borodale - Bee Journal (Cape Poetry, 2012)
Samuel Beckett – Collected Poems (John Calder, 1999)
Vladimir Holan – Selected Poems (Penguin Books, 1971)
Michael Farry – The Age of Glass (Revival Press, 2017)
Liz McSkeane – So Long, Calypso (Turas Press, 2017)
Michael J. Whelan – Peacekeeper (Doire Press, 2016)
Emma McKervey – The Rag Tree Speaks (Doire Press, 2017)
Ruth Carr – Feather and Bone (Arlen House, 2017)
Keshia Starrett – Hysterical (Burning Eye Books, 2017)
Maria McManus – Available Light (Arlen House, 2017)
Maureen Boyle – The Work of a Winter (Arlen House, 2017)

Friday, 29 December 2017

'Happy Pills' and the Daily Mail

The first picture is the cover of today's Daily Mail.

The second picture is from the National Union of Journalists guidelines on Responsible Reporting on Mental Health, Mental Illness & Death by Suicide" (my underlining). It's on the second page, in big print, so not hard to miss!

The Mail is in clear breach of these guidelines. Shame on them - no one requiring antidepressants would ever describe them as 'happy pills'. A wholly inaccurate portrayal of mental illness.

If you want to make a complaint about this, contact the NUJ ethics hotline: 0845 450 0864 or email:

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Fight the lack of representation of female Irish writers - sigh the pledge

Over the past two weeks, I've been researching the lack of Irish women writers - focusing mainly on poets- represented in the Irish canon. I've been inspired to do this by the Fired! movement of "women poets and allies working to bring the voices of forgotten Irish women poets back into the canon and fight gender imbalance", spearheaded by Mary O'Donnell, Maria McManus, Kimberly Campanello and Kathy D'Arcy.

So far, I've analysed 27 collections of Irish writing, whether anthologies or collections of critical essays, finding a repeated trend of women being under-represented, ignored and dismissed by editors and publishers. Some of you will be very aware of this already, but for some of you, it might come as a surprise, and I hope, a wake up call.

The list of stats is here: Here are a few depressing examples:

Modern Irish Poetry: An Anthology
Ed. Patrick Crotty (Penguin, 2010)
22 female poets out of 177 = 12.4%

The Ireland Anthology
ed. Seán Dunne (Gill & Macmillan, 1999)
26 female authors out of 176 = 14.8%

The Penguin Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry
Eds. Peter Fallon & Derek Mahon (Penguin Books Ltd, 1990)
4 female poets out of 35 = 11.4%

To start readdressing this imbalance, Fired! is asking people to sign a pledge, stating that they will withdraw their participation "from publications, edited collections, conferences, festivals and other projects which do not make what I consider to be a good-faith effort to adequately represent the contribution women make to literature and literary criticism." You can add your voice to this at