Talks & Workshops on Poetry

+ I was back at Southwell Poetry Festival on Sunday 17 July, talking about ‘Songs and Poems of Freedom’, including ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou and ‘Redemption Songs’ by Bob Marley.

+ I’ve been busy speaking on the poetry (and prose) inspired by the 1916 Rising, is it’s the centenary year. I’ve been on a mini-tour: Mansfield & Dukeries Irish Association, Birmingham Irish Heritage Group, Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham, and States of Independence Festival in Leicester.
Pan-Celtic Festival in Carlow: I led a discussion on the influence of folklore in Irish literature. My favourite attendees were the two grandsons of Noeleen and John Nolan, who know lots about classical myths and are obviously mad about books. Who says boys don’t read?


  • Sun 5 July 12 2015: Well-versed Villages: I led a discussion of villages as featured in poetry, at Southwell Library Poetry Festival
  • I participated in ‘Kavanagh … in Conversation’ at Tinahely Arts Courthouse Literary Festival on Sat 29 March, giving a brief talk about Patrick Kavanagh’s influence on the poetry of Seamus Heaney. I was very pleased to be on the same panel as Tom Hickey, who gave a wonderful reading from ‘The Great Hunger’.
  • Sat 1 March, St David’s Day: Dylan Thomas: ‘Prince of the Apple Towns’Sheelagh Gallagher and I co-presented this  session at Bromley House Library . We read and discussed some poems, prose and of course, Under Milk Wood
  • Wed 12 Feb, ‘Love in the Trenches‘, Clyde Williams building, Loughborough University, 5pm. In this talk, I focused on the various types of love expressed in writings about WW1. The talk was aimed at inspiring Year 12 pupils, and it was open to the public.
  • Wed 15 Jan 2014, Five Leaves Bookshop7.30 – 9pm, £3.
    ‘We have lived in Important Places’: Inniskeen  and Anahorish. This talk was focused on Seamus Heaney’s rural background, its presence in his poetry, and the influence and inspiration of fellow poet, Patrick Kavanagh. 
    This was part of a series of talks at Five Leaves bookshop. For details of other Irish-related topics, see Nottingham Irish Studies Group website here.
  • ‘Hearing Heaney’ at Beeston Library on Wed 13 November – another memorial event for Seamus Heaney. A group of us met to read and remember his work. This was a collaboration between Beeston Poets, Beeston Library, and Nottingham Irish Studies Group.
  • ‘A Sunlit Absence’: The Poetry of Seamus Heaney, Tue 29 October 5.30pm. Members of  Loughborough University English and Drama department read some of Heaney’s work and talked about it. It was a lovely evening.
  • ‘Goodbye, Johnny Dear’: Songs, Poems & Stories of the Irish Diaspora. Birmingham Irish Centre. A Birmingham Irish Heritage Group event. Wed 6 March 2013, 7.30 – 9pm.
  • Reading the Irish Diaspora: Stories, Songs, Prose and Poetry inspired by Irish emigration. Red Tent pub (now called Duffy’s Bar), Leicester, in association with Leicester Irish Forum.  29 Sept 2012.
    Reading the Irish Diaspora 29.9.12

    Photo: Jackie Duffy of Red Tent pub

  • 1000 Years of Irish Poetry, Southwell Library Poetry Festival, July 2012.
  • Eavan Boland’s Poetry of the Irish Famine – Nottingham Central Library, March 2012.
  • ‘Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?’ Summer Poetry – Southwell Poetry Festival, 2011
  • Springtime in Irish Poetry – Nottingham Central Library, Nottingham Irish Festival, 2011
  • Irish History in Literature – Derbyshire Scribes group, Shirebrook Library, 2011
  • The Waters and The Wild: Nature in Irish Poetry – Southwell Poetry Festival, Nottinghamshire, 2010
  • Images of Autumn in Irish Poetry – Ilkeston Library, Other Voices series, 2010.
  • Irish Poets on the Art of Writing – Nottingham Poetry Society, 2010.
  • The Seven Ages of Man (and Woman) in Poetry – Southwell Poetry Festival, 2009
  • Introduction to Contemporary Irish Poetry – Southwell Poetry Festival, 2007
  • Founder and leader of Poetry Reading Group – Nottingham Central Library, 2006-07
  • Poetry of Bernard O’Donoghue – Poetry in the City Festival, Nottingham 2006.
  • Poetry of Ian MacMillan – Three Cities Festival, Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham 2007.
  • Paul Durcan’s Poetry –  Nottingham Central Library, 2006.
  • Poetry workshops for children – Aspley Primary School, 2005.
  • Poetry of D. H. Lawrence – Bestwood Library, Nottingham Libraries’ D. H. Lawrence Festival, 2004.
  • Irish Christmas Poems – Sherwood Library, Nottingham 2004.

Reading @ Five Leaves event


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