feature: essay

Poetry and Cultures of Feedback

Friday, 6 December 2019

yes to the above (The Lifeboat Press, 2019)

In an exciting development connected to my recent reading in Belfast, The Lifeboat Press published a limited edition pamphlet of my work with title yes to the above.

yes to the above is a collection of outtakes, or 'deleted scenes', from this is no longer entertainment. Conceived as a 'bonus material' accompaniment to the book, it consists of seven of the sections I cut out the massive document I assembled over the timeline of the entertainment project in the process of composing the poem.

The pamphlet, a limited edition publication in 50 numbered copies, was produced for the reading on 12 November 2019 as The Lifeboat Issue Thirty Six, and sold for the nominal price of £1.

A small number of copies remains available. If you're interested in acquiring one please email me to arrange.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Warning: Difficult! Poetry? at University College Dublin

I very much look forward to reading with Charles Bernstein - foundational member and leading practitioner of Language poetry in the US, and Catherine Walsh - one of Ireland's most significant experimental poets, on Monday 2 December at the Institute of Humanities, University College Dublin.

'Warning: Difficult! Poetry?' is curated and hosted by João Guimarães.

Start time is 5.30pm, and the venue is UCD Humanities Institute seminar room (H.204).

The event is free to attend but requires registration. More details, including poet biographies and tickets, here.

Monday, 25 November 2019

SWG3 Poetry Club (Glasgow)

On Friday 29 November I'll be in Glasgow to read from this is no longer entertainment as part of an event at SWG3 Poetry Club. Curated and hosted by Colin Herd, the event also features readings by Alycia Pirmohamed and Lynn Davidson.

SWG3 is a multi disciplinary arts venue hosting a multitude of different types of events in its various indoor and outdoor spaces including music gigs, fashion shows, visual arts exhibitions, TV and film industry events and food & drink events. Its Poetry Club is a hub for art, music, performance and spoken word situated on the ground floor of the building, and links the main building to the end railway arch.

The event starts at 6pm and admission is free.

Many thanks to Colin for programming the event and hosting me in Glasgow. I'm really excited to be reading for the first time in the city recently named by the European Commission as the top cultural and creative centre in the UK.

Monday, 18 November 2019


"My story is a hidden one, you cannot see it written on my face as I walk on the streets."

I am proud to be contributing to Correspondences: an anthology to call for an end to direct provision in Ireland. In being paired with a writer in the direct provision system, my participation was predominantly in a mentoring capacity, that is to help bring writing by said writer (in my case, Donatien Francis) to print, but like everybody else I also contribute a short text of my own.

Correspondences is edited by Stephen Rea and Jessica Traynor, and pairs writers, photographers and visual artists in the direct provision system in Ireland with Irish artists and writers.

I was happy to be invited on board the project, not least given my own personal & family history as a child refugee of war and as a person who has migrated more than once. Comparing circumstances and severity is pointless or even counterproductive, but I can't fail to highlight the humbling effect of what I read in Donatien Francis' memoir writing during this process.

While working with Donatien to prepare his piece 'Never Again' for publication my original intention was to let his words speak umediated; in the end I decided I needed to contribute an accompanying note that gave context to what was printed:

"On receiving Donatien Francis’ original biographical piece for this project – a brisk, grounded, and at times deeply moving 23-page account of national, family and personal history originating in Burundi and landing in Ireland via refugee camps in Tanzania and Malawi, taking in tribal conflict and civil war, genocide, self-exile and asylum seeking, holding back what would be justifiable anger (which we all indulge in regularly in response to so much less) about the indignities of the direct provision system, and finally full of gratitude and hope in the face of such difficulties rendered matter-of-fact, thus step-by-step revealing a remarkable spirit behind the words – I wondered how we could do it justice within the space afforded to him by the anthology. I felt that if anything the 23 pages were begging to be expanded into a longer, multilayered piece cross-illuminating the conditions Donatien inherited, the complex family history with its collective and individual journeys alongside his personal decisions and objectives. It’s clear that we and our policymakers need constant reminders of how easily the unacceptable can become normalised; how utterly commonplace and human the forced migrant experience is and has been throughout history, and how the various comforts any of us are fortunate to enjoy at different times can blind us, often wilfully, to others’ everyday and in extreme cases (which sadly abound) brutal circumstances. At first I wanted to avoid a contribution here so that Donatien’s writing appears without any sort of mediation – and this is why I proposed to the editors to allow many of the grammatical idiosyncrasies or (from a certain perspective) errors in what ended up being Donatien’s own edited account to stand unaltered. But given my insight into so much more than is possible to be represented here at this time, I just wish to place on record this brief note of acknowledgement of his perseverance and spirit. And to underline that experiences like Donatien’s, which we must not forget are still evolving in real time, need to be widely documented, amplified, culturally internalised."

All proceeds from sales of the anthology go to Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI), which is an independent platform for asylum seekers to join in unity and purpose, and a collective seeking justice, freedom and dignity for all asylum seekers.

If you are in a position to and wish to support the work of MASI, please buy the anthology - and buy copies for your friends and family also.

Correspondences features work by:

Bulelani Mfaco | Mimmie Malaba | Paula Meehan | Dr Natasha Remoundou | Adam Wyeth | Heidar Al-Hashimi | Sarah Clancy | Dr Angela Byrne | Marwa Zamir | Claire Hennessy | Donatien Francis | Christodoulos Makris | Evgeny Shtorn | Annemarie Ní Churreáin | Emilie Pine | Hina Khan | Stephen Sexton | Batur Nadir | Eileen Casey | Insaf Yalcinkaya | Katie Donovan | Nngcobo Bongamahlub | Elaine Feeney | Donnah Vuma | Arnold Thomas Fanning | Vukašin Nedeljković | Dave Lordan | Cónal Thomas | Owodunni Mustapha | Jane Clarke | Deborah Oniah Blankson | Theo Dorgan | Rehan Ali | Ian Maleney | Catherine Young | Nokukhanya Dlamini | Jessica Traynor

Saturday, 9 November 2019

The Lifeboat (Belfast)

On Tuesday 12 November I'll be in Belfast to read from this is no longer entertainment for The Lifeboat.

The Lifeboat is a poetry reading series and small press run by Stephen Connolly and Manuela Moser.

Established in 2013, The Lifeboat as a series has hosted a range of poets from Michael Longley, Medbh McGuckian, Nick Laird and Sinead Morrissey, to Sarah Howe and Kayo Chingonyi.

Expanding into publishing in 2016, The Lifeboat Press has published pamphlets by Padraig Regan, Caitlin Newby, Susannah Dickey and Paul Muldoon among others.

Reading with me on 12 November will be US-born and Galway-based poet Shannon Kelly. The event takes place in The Sunflower Pub: doors 8.30pm, free entry.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Nemeses, by SJ Fowler & collaborators

My collaboration with Steven J Fowler 'The New War Machine: A Miniature Poetry Play' is included in the second volume of Steven's selected collaborations, Nemeses, just published with HVTN Press.

Nemeses "brings together over 50 collaborations and collaborators, placing poems and prose alongside musical scores, diaries, sculptures, films, photographs, scripts and more. It explores not only the grand potential for collaboration as an innovative, generative, playful and profound practice, but also aims to expand what is possible when sharing the live upon the page."

Steven writes: "It is always in compiling Nemeses that I really realised how many collaborations I have undertaken in the five year period the book covers. It presents excerpts of full collections alongside works made specifically for Nemeses. It draws from full feature films, exhibitions, commissions, installations and poems made for performances around the world. The book is finished with an essay which details, in basic terms, how it was constructed and what my thinking has become around poetry and collaboration."

Our text for 'The New War Machine' is edited from transcriptions of two semi-improvised collaborative performances enacted as part of the Arts Council-supported Yes But Are We Enemies project and 10-day tour of Ireland and London that I produced and co-curated with Steven in 2014 - the performances in question happening in Galway Arts Centre on 21 September and Rich Mix Arts Centre, London, on 27 September of that year.

Additionally, I'm proud to have played some part in a producing, curatorial or editorial capacity in bringing about or supporting some of the other collaborations featured in Nemeses: 'Subcritical Tests' with Ailbhe Darcy began at Yes But Are We Enemies and culminated in a book-length project which then became the first Gorse Editions title we published, in 2017; 'It Is What Is Love / It Is What Is Hate' with Rike Scheffler is also forthcoming in gorse No. 11; 'Beastings' with Diamanda Dramm is the result of a collaboration that began after Steven and Diamanda met at Phonica: Eight in March 2018 (where they performed storming individual sets) and with a full album release forthcoming later this month; and 'The Irish Character Study' with Billy Ramsell was conceived & performed as part of Yes But Are We Enemies.

You can read Steven's introduction to Nemeses on the gorse website. The book is available to buy from HTVN press.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

this is no longer entertainment in Russian: Cirk Olimp TV

I'm happy to report that five sections from this is no longer entertainment have just been published in Cirk Olimp TV, one of Russia's oldest and most significant avant-garde literature magazines, in translations by Maria Malinovskaya.

Malinovskaya chose to translate sections 3, 5, 6, 8 and 11 of the book through her own expertise in documentary poetics, in conjunction with detailed discussions with me regarding the material's origins and specific references appearing in the relevant sections.

Cirk Olimp's editor in chief Vitaly Lekhtsier has a particular interest in world documentary poetry, with the magazine previously publishing translations of Philip Metres, Mark Nowak, and Bernadette Mayer among others.

Much gratitude to him and to Maria Malinovskaya for bringing my work to a discerning Russian readership.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Ó Bhéal (Cork)

I'm delighted to be returning to Ó Bhéal, Cork's long-running poetry reading series, on Monday 21 October 2019, to read from this is no longer entertainment.

Founded and directed by Paul Casey, Ó Bhéal is Cork’s weekly poetry event featuring poetry films, a poetry writing challenge, guest poets and an open-mic. Ó Bhéal has hosted fifty Monday night events per year since April 2007, featuring over 900 poets from Ireland and around the world.

My first participation in Ó Bhéal in 2010 coincided with Cork winning the all-Ireland football championship the previous day, with the official return of the team and the lively public celebrations happening during my reading almost right outside the venue, radically impacting on attendance... I'm very happy to be returning to what is always a welcoming and generous reading series.

The venue is The Long Valley Bar, Winthrop Street, and proceedings start at 8.30pm.

Friday, 11 October 2019

this is no longer entertainment: a Dublin celebration

Please join us to celebrate the publication of this is no longer entertainment!

when: Wednesday 30 October 2019, 7.30pm
where: The Vintage Room, The Workman’s Club, 10 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2

Having decided against a formal launch of this is no longer entertainment at the time of publication, I'm very pleased to be celebrating it almost exactly 6 months to the day with an event generously enriched by the participation of an exciting lineup of friends and fellow Dostoyevsky Wannabe-published or -associated authors, some of whom are reading in Dublin for the first time.

I'm delighted and honoured that Nadia de Vries, Colin Herd, Dominic Jaeckle, and Joanna Walsh will be contributing guest readings. Sounds will be courtesy of Dostoyevsky Wannabe's Invisible DJs project, and the evening will be hosted by Susan Tomaselli.

The event is kindly supported by the School of English, Dublin City University.

Nadia de Vries is a poet from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She is the author of Dark Hour (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018) and is currently finishing a new manuscript, I Failed to Swoon. Her first Dutch book, Kleinzeer, was published by Uitgeverij Pluim in 2019.

Colin Herd is a poet, fiction writer and critic. He has published several books including Glovebox (Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2013), Click & Collect (Boiler House Press, 2017) and Swamp Kiss (Red Ceilings Press, 2018) as well as articles on art and literature in publications including PN:Review and The Independent.

Dominic Jaeckle is an (occasional) writer, (weak) researcher, (amateur) editor and (poor) broadcaster. Jaeckle co-curates and edits the irregular magazine Hotel and its adjacent projects, and his writings and editorial works have been published internationally.

Joanna Walsh is the author of seven books including the digital work seed-story.com. Her work has appeared in publications including gorse, The Stinging Fly, The Dublin Review, Granta, and many others. She is a UK Arts Foundation fellow.


I was really pleased with such a warm and warmly attended, as well as aptly rangy and unclassifiable reading event to belatedly 'launch' my book in Dublin. Proceedings began earlier in the afternoon with a visit by Nadia de Vries and Dominic Jaeckle to Dublin City University’s All Hallows campus on the northside, for a reading and short Q&A session with MA in Creative Writing students as well as staff of the School of English at DCU. As organiser and host of the session Dr Kit Fryatt remarked, it's always a good sign when the audience outnumbers the poets, let alone having to scramble into neighbouring rooms for extra chairs to accommodate those who filled the modest auditorium to the brim. Following Nadia & Dominic's alternate readings there was an interesting discussion on poetic and editorial practice arising from some direct, probing questions from the floor. From there we travelled to the south quays and into the Vintage Room, where the set up for the event was immaculate but for a misbehaving microphone. Maybe it was those anarchic Invisible DJs who were playing havoc with the PA system – but that didn’t deter Joanna Walsh who incorporated the weird acoustics into her whispered, “ASMResque” (as per Jonathan Mayhew) sections of her story 'i wish someone loved me that isn't capitalism' from Liberating The Canon. The evening had kicked off with host Susan Tomaselli speaking a little about Dostoyevsky Wannabe as a risk-taking publishing venture. Dominic Jaeckle read from his as yet non-existent collaborative book due with DW in mid-2020, a “cumulative journal project” encompassing prose responses to a series of photographs, followed by Colin Herd as ever delivering brilliantly witty poems from his own imminent book (December 2019) with the press. Following on from Joanna Walsh, Nadia de Vries read pithy, razorsharp, corporeal poetry from Dark Hour as well as from her new manuscript, before I finished the readings part of the evening with a few sections from this is no longer entertainment. As was fit and proper the Invisible DJs closed the event with a succession of cool tunes while we milled around until closing time, after which some of us headed to nearby Zaytoon for a well-deserved and in my case at least well-overdue bite to eat.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Reading at Pallas Projects Gallery

On Wednesday 16 October I will be reading in an event associated with the exhibition 'The wind steals music and brings it to me' by Jonathan Mayhew at Pallas Projects (115–117 The Coombe, Dublin 8).

I was delighted to be invited by Jonathan to contribute to his exhibition. There are several parallels and points of intersection between our practices, with Jonathan consistently making use of poetry, literature, technology and theory in his work, and particularly interested in "how narrative in our Web 2.0 world has become incredibly important to our everyday lives, [and] fiction is blurred into reality."

The reading takes place at Pallas Projects Gallery and it starts at 6.30pm.

'The wind steals music and brings it to me' runs between Friday 11 October and Saturday 26 October, with a preview on Thursday 10 October, 6-8pm.