Bio

In 2016 - 2018 Susan's poems have appeared, among elsewhere, in: The Cafe Review, Oregan, USA - Gather In, in a Special Irish Edition; Bosom Pals,Ed Marie Cadden (Doire Press, 2017) an anthology entirely in aid of Breast Cancer Research in the National UniveristyHospital, Galway and When They've Grown Another Me in Poetry Ireland Review, Dec 2018. January 2018 has seen her poems Commended in the Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Competition.

She has been an invited reader of her poems at local readings in Galway, Cork and Dublin and at festivals, including the Belfast Book Festival, Cuirt International Festival of Literature and Clifden Arts Festival. Her poems have been read on radio.

Susan completed her degree in social science and qualified as a professional social worker in Trinity College, Dublin 1975. She was a psychotherapist, trainer, facilitator and occasional consultant to organisations for over thirty years until her retirement in 2012. Drawing together her writing with her earlier skills she has written interviews and facilitated conversations mediated by poetry. She continues to work on a manuscript relating the story of starting out in poetry and a mid-life move West along with occasional other creative non-fiction pieces.

Her workshop Having a New Conversation: About Dreaming was listed on the The Cuirt International Festival of Literature Programme (2015) and she facilitates similar workshops on a variety of themes, discussed through the medium of poetry, regularly and occasionally in local community settings.

While a founding editor of Skylight 47 Susan interviewed: then Ireland Professor of Poetry, Harry Clifton; Kay Ryan, former US Poet Laureate invited to Ireland by Dromineer Literature Festival and Dani Gill who talks about curating The Cuirt International Literature Festival.https://skylight47poetry.wordpress.com/previous-issues/. Her most recent interview, of Maeve O'Sullivan, appears in The Honest Ulsterman February, 2018.http://humag.co/features/around-the-world-in-poetry-haiku-and-haibun

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

On the Page or Spoken – the Essence of Poetic Identity


Issue 123
I wasn’t thinking about my own poem about identity when I interviewed Maeve O’Sullivan for the current (Feb,2018) issue of The Honest Ulsterman.  It did help to ensure that I read the December issue #123 of Poetry Ireland Review, 2017, earlier than I probably would have if I didn’t have a poem published in it that thereby led to an early copy landing on my doormat. This ensured I read Eavan Boland’s Preface giving me a context within which to ask particular questions.  http://www.poetryireland.ie/publications/poetry-ireland-review/editorial/issue-123

Inspired by a hissie-fit reaction to the arrival of my social identity card, needed as a bus pass, my poem When They Grow Another Me ‘on a petri...’ raises the question, among others, about what will happen if they lose ‘me’? The questions now appear to have a parallel in questions being asked about poetry and its authors in a spat, or spout raised in an essay in PN Review. Thankfully poetry can’t be grown from DNA and we can’t either clone or own its essence but that doesn’t mean there won’t be those who will continue to try.

 The Blue Nib online literary journal issue launched 20th February, 2018 has an article by Jane Simmons examining the split in the poetry world because, she reports, of a searing essay by Rebecca Watts published in PN Review titled The Cult of the Noble Amateur (see http://www.pnreview.co.uk/cgi-bin/scribe?item_id=10090 )  in which she takes issue with award winning work of poets such as Holly McNish, Kate Tempest and Rupi Kaur. Apparently successful because ‘artless poetry sells’. Both Tempest and McNish have won The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, the latter for a work of poetic memoir. ‘From the Judges: Poetry and prose mix well creating an internal rhythm that is conversational and honest'
PN Review 239
                                     

The critique is apparently as much because these performance poets received acknowledgement by the UK establishment as it is about the work itself. McNish’s response is mentioned also. Simmons invites us to consider our own views. http://magazine.thebluenib.com/article/poetry-world-split-rebecca-watts-v-hollie-mcnish-jane-simmons-examines-the-split-and-invites-you-to-consider-your-response-to-the-argument/


In the Preface to the December issue of Poetry Ireland Review Eavan Boland explores the space between the more private space of the page poem and the public language of performance. These and other interweaving languages become the context in which she introduces the work of Stephen Sexton whose poetry is high-lighted in this Dec issue of PIR and informed the questions I posed to Maeve O’Sullivan as I interviewed her The Honest Ulsterman (Feb, 2018). O’Sullivan is known for her Haiku and Haibun – many of which appear in Elsewhere (Alba, 2017), launched by Paula Meehan in Dublin in the late autumn. She is a member of the British Haiku Society, was a founding member of the Irish Haiku Society and is also well-known for being a member of The Poetry Divas known for their spoken word performances – with the slogan’blurring the wobbly boundaries between page and stage’. Who better to ask about her experience of straddling what could be seen as the extremes of these genres? The interview can be accessed here http://humag.co/features/around-the-world-in-poetry-haiku-and- haibun 




The dispute about terrain may be more interesting because of the questions it raises that go to the heart of what makes a poem poetry - who makes that decision and who owns the rights to a particular language and its identifiers - than because of anything else: questions that ultimately become questions about identity.

How and in what way is a poem identified as significant?

Significant to whom? Is a poem’s identity decided by the words ‘assembled’, the author, its title, its place in what has gone before - and the milieu surrounding it? Do poems belong to us at all? After all a proportion of poems are acknowledged by their named authors to have arrived almost fully formed.


U Tube videos, self-promotion on social media and the established cannon or not, may quickly become redundant signifiers

in the issuing of passports to amateur/professional/apprentice would be poets with the further development of digital block-chain identities – already used by some musicians to establish their right to ownership of their work. How important will the critics be when the direct listener/reader to author route further becomes the norm and established mediators are by-passed? I imagine they will continue to have their place. It’s a very particular world. But the territory is changing shape and it can be hard to maintain footing and tenure not knowing how things will be in any future within sight.

In essence...

Come to think of it, even were some imagined ‘they’ to grow another ‘me’ not chained-in-block and registered on a web address linked to an office in Estonia, or wherever else also provides such opportunity, they couldn’t have my essence. Or could they?


Friday, 8 September 2017

BOSOM PALS Editor Marie Cadden Launch by Moya Cannon Thurs 14th 5pm UHG

Add captio
PLEASE JOIN US AT LAUNCH
of this very special project
from which all proceeds go to
Breast Cancer Research in Galway.
More on radio podcast right.

Marie Cadden is the author of Gynaecologist in the Jacuzzi from Salmon Poetry and co-editor of the poetry paper Skylight 47.
While 'living with cancer', she has put together an inspiring and exciting of collection of poems from fellow scribblers who have also written about their own experiences in relation to the disease.

Moya Cannon, poet member of Aosdana, born in Donegal, lived for years in Galway and now in Dublin, will launch this publication.


Gynacologist in the Jacuzzi  see more at http://www.salmonpoetry.com/details.php?ID=391&a=282
Moya Cannon see http://www.moyacannon.org/
Skylight 47 https://skylight47poetry.wordpress.com/  Issue 9 to be  launched November, 2017.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Business is Poetry and Poetry My Business. I'm taking to air... Fri Ist Sept on Dublin City FM 103.2.

with Don Harris 

of Talkback Ireland

12.30pm    Dublin CityFM 103.2

Friday morning,  1st Sept 2017 

 Talk to you there...

TO LISTEN BACK 
CLICK INTERVIEW LINK  ON RIGHT


Photo:  Patricia Piccinini's Skywhale, Galway 2015

Sunday, 19 March 2017

VERSEVENT POSSIBILITIES. - HAVING A NEW CONVERSATION Workshop and READINGS

VERSEVENT


CONVERSATION WORKSHOPS
& POETRY READINGS


Having A New Conversation – About … 

The extra dimension poetry brings, becomes as much valued for itself as for what it contributes to the conversation in these facilitated workshops. It brings new perspective to the topic and a holding ground for the discussion, with the added benefit of providing a way into discovering poetry - or a way into further enjoying it with others.

No previous experience of poetry, or the topic under discussion, is needed. About - Faith, for those of any, or no, religion and About - Continuing in Confusion; About - Beauty & its
Possible Obligations; About – the Stuff of Life
and About Love, Loss or Death are other possible topics. Having a new Conversation – About Dreaming was the topic at the Cuirt International Festival of Literature in 2015.


Susan Lindsay

has been a professional facilitator for over thirty years. She graduated in Social Science at Trinity College, Dublin (1975) and practised as psychotherapist, trainer and consultant to organisations until her retirement in 2013. She was invited to read for Poetry Ireland’s Introductions Series in 2011 and was a founding co-editor of the poetry broadsheet Skylight 47. Her poem Gather in was included in the Irish Edition of The CafĂ© Review, Oregon US., 2016. A third Collection of her work is promised  from Doire Press in Spring, 2018.



Versevent  Spring, 2017

Facilitated conversations mediated by poetry in a variety of settings including for teams in organisations.

‘Join In    A New Conversation
 In Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow and in Co. Galway

Bookings & Enquiries

Mob +353 86 1671524.
Tweet @susanhlindsay

Books

Fear Knot
Susan Lindsay’s poems are sometimes enigmatic, often startling. She is a poet acutely aware of the complexities of language, the levels of meaning a poem can have. When I read one of Susan Lindsay’s poems for the second time I always discover something quietly subversive lurking there which I missed first time around. Fear Knot is a daring collection of poems. A triumph.- Kevin Higgins

Whispering the Secrets                                                    
The voice of experience wrought in lines that are lucid and direct…. this testimony of a survivor is suffused with joy and passion and a clear eyed appraisal of what it means to be mortal. - Paula Meehan

…a book of courage and resolve. She writes of the “Fifth Province”, of confrontations and renewals, of dreams and shifting identities. … Lindsay writes poems of deep emotional control which communicate an affirmative celebratory mysticism. – Paul Perry

That was gorgeous. Beautiful writing. – RyanTubridy, 2005, The Tubridy Show,RTE Radio 1, on win for Carol of Our Times.












Saturday, 18 March 2017

Join In A NEW CONVERSATION: DOUBT, FAITH & CONFUSION

  • Susan, Thank you for the workshop yesterday. I was amazed at how just a couple of poems could stimulate such a variety of reflections, comments and inputs. A far cry from poetry classes for the leaving cert!   I was ... struck by how the whole event lingered on after we had all departed. ... Dave
  • Hi Susan, ... You certainly have not lost the gift of how to facilitate a good session. It showed... no matter what the topic, the possibility for people to become more aware exists. Michael     
E-Mails after Conversations on Dreaming at Cuirt International Festival of Literature, 2015. More below.*
Doubt, Faith & Confusion?

Facilitated by Susan Lindsay 

For those of no religion or any religion, who love poetry or think they know nothing about it.
Four Tuesdays April 11, 18, 25 & May 2, 2017
Kilcoole Community Centre   7.30 – 9pm
Co. Wicklow

In Doubt

I want to hear about faith
about the way you put your feet
on the floor
each day and rise.    Whispering the Secrets (Doire, 2011)

Susan Lindsay is an experienced facilitator. A third book of her poetry is forthcoming from Doire Press in Spring, 2018. More biography in further Posting belong.

BOOK: versevent@gmail.com Mob.086-1671524  PLACES LIMITED.
€15 a night, €48 in advance for four. Concession: €12 or €40. 


WHAT  HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT PREVIOUS CONVERSATIONS:

         Comments received from confidential questionnaires issued to participants
After two workshops given at the Cuirt International Literature Festival, Galway 2016
- in Roisin Dubh pub and GMIT library 
AND at the conclusion of the first of a weekly, now monthly,
ongoing Conversation in a local community in Kilcolgan, Co. Galway


4.       Overall:  What aspect/s of the workshop particularly appealed to you, or worked for you?
·         Theme, different poems, different: participants; nationalities; voices; perspectives but having a mediator/facilitator “in charge”.
·         All was good
·         Experience of contrary opinions
·         Particularly last poem, ’If the Philosopher is Right by Mary Oliver
·         Group discussion’.
·         Exposure to new poems; opportunity for discussion, how listening is an on-going practice.
·         “I enjoyed the non-threatening group discussion. The depth of the conversation that arose from people in the room – especially on ‘State of Ireland'( comment on this poem disputed in a comment about what did not appeal by another respondent).
·         Hearing different points of view.
·         Safety to express different ideas and opinions.
·         Open conversation.
·         Existential aspect of poems.
·         The social aspect.
·         New to poetry and fascinating to hear poems being dissected and analysed.
·         Loved hearing everyone’s perspective (to) diversity, just great!
·         Joined reflection and sharing.
·         The mix of gender in the conversation.
·         People sharing different opinions, stimulating, different views


 WEEKLY (CONTINUING MONTHLY STILL, 2017) COMMUNITY  CONVERSATION 
In Ashes, Having the Conversation – About Faith                                                    
Questionnaire responses from Spring 2013                                         

What worked/appealed particularly?
  •  Exploring others’ ideas, thoughts
  • When a theme was being really explored – the different interpretations/perceptions which open my eyes.
  • The poetry.
  • The Structure was great and kept us on track …
  • Variety of opinions. Faith as an intro to other concepts. Listening to all. Easy flow back and forth. Listening and feedback. Inclusion of the poetry. Conversation aspect and respect. Hearing other people’s ideas, beliefs.
  • Very sensitive to all participants and giving me the opportunity – when wished – to talk. Testament to (facilitator) that people felt sufficient trust to talk honestly.
  • The flow was great, input relevant and very thoughtful and meaningful.
  • Nourished. Important that it was around faith.
  • Loved the use of symbol.







Thursday, 9 March 2017

Immaculate Does Not Describe the Conception of the Children in Tuam: A Word To Fathers.


The tragedy of the ‘single’ mothers and their children - those who made it to happy adoptive homes, those who faced great challenges and trauma as they grew and those who died whose bodies have been discovered in what is described as some kind of tank– is rightly the focus of our attention, grief and rage this week. Occasionally we are reminded that these women, scourged further by being described once as ‘fallen’, are not the only parties to the conception of the children but carried the consequence and blame. Those children have fathers.


I find myself wondering about those fathers. 

We’ve heard siblings, survivors, some of the mothers themselves. It almost seems sacrilegious to consider the fathers - their absence and protection so absolute. Yet, however often I get angry with men for their mostly unacknowledged position of privilege and the hardship they’ve inflicted on women - whether actively or by acts of omission – I know that many of those fathers were also young and given little, if any, choice in how to respond to hearing (if and when they did) of the consequences of their moments of passion or early love.


Did they recognise a surname and age and wonder?

There are still fathers alive, or those who wonder if they might have been one, watching those names of the deceased children of Tuam scrolling down our television screens on Monday night. Not many but there must have been some. Did they recognise a surname and age and wonder? Did they already know, freeze as they saw that their child had died, the body despicably disposed of.

Shame corrodes and can be impossible to acknowledge.

I used to work as a group psychotherapist and leader of workshops exploring issues of gender among others. Two particular challenges the men said they faced remain with me: little support or recognition for the question of ‘where to put it’ -that is how to deal with the intensity of their early sexual desire and how to deal with their sense of, often profound, shame. Shame for actions but also, frequently, times they’ve been humiliated and shamed by others. How shame corrodes and how impossible it can be to acknowledge.


To anyone who suspects or knows they are the father of one of the children born in Tuam or another ‘mother and baby’ institution I want to say: 
don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Do consider whether there is someone to whom you can tell your story. You may have run when you ought not to have, you may have betrayed your child and the woman who thought you cared, but perhaps you did care or you may simply have been callous and self-serving and your behaviour utterly unacceptable.

 Sadly, the sense of shame is likely to be greatest in those who were in the most impossible of circumstances and least to blame 

...because you do feel and know your part in what happened. So remember: fathers are important too, young men often not supported and in those days and times very few would have supported you to support your partner. It’s never too late to acknowledge your own story and actions. Shame needs to be given air. Ultimately acknowledgement heals.


Many of you could have been and are, to later children, wonderful fathers. 

You have a grief and sense of shame to bear too. There are those who want to hear but talk advisedly and select your audience carefully. The pain of women is so often overshadowed by the concerns of men that we won’t have much patience for you now; you haven’t got it for yourself.
Soon, I hope, one or another of you will be able to stand up and add your story to the unfolding narrative of our collective shameful past. 


We need present rather than absent fathers more than ever and fathers need to support each other – not to defend their failures and absences but to stand together, alongside their sisters, in common humanity and join in the acts of reparation for what, ultimately, is our collective shame.



Sunday, 18 December 2016

Between Times: Advent


 I nearly miss it in a sudden rush to get things done.


The quiet low light and deep peace of early December that is Advent in the Christian calendar and my favourite time of year.  The rush is less about truly preparing for the festivities ahead than about panicking that I may not do so in time. Then I reassure myself: that my Christmas preparations have usually been last minute; if I’m going to panic it might as well be at the last moment - having first allowed myself to feast on quietude, low light and forthcoming solstice images of the sunlight entering the passage tomb at Newgrange.
See http://www.newgrange.com/winter_solstice.htm

It is not a recipe for a well-prepared Christmas time and the conflict is familiar at all times of year. 


Christmas reminds me of the inspiring Child in the manger of my childhood and the gathering of gifts, going to church and to grandparents on Christmas day and to the other side of the family the Sunday before. Then there was the total magic of first visiting Dublin’s Olympia theatre and seeing sparkling ballet dancers in the pantomime on Boxing Day - more regularly known in Ireland as St. Stevens’ Day. The conflict in my Irish identity begins early. I find the material rush and hype from mid-November antithetical to everything Christmas once meant to me.

I’m a natural contrarian. 


I’ve only to know I must do something to be equally sure there are a thousand reasons not to and while I like to dream of creating something wonderful, involving myself in the necessary actions to bring it about is altogether another matter. It’s not helped by wanting to attend:  to listen and connect - rather than get on with managing, doing and administrating.

One year I began my December alone in a cottage beside the sea and bare trees reading Harry Potter. 

That was a magical time. The sojourn informed an early poem written in response to a brief piece by the poet Paul Durcan that appeared in The Irish Times Magazine one Christmas. Despite it being a poem susceptible to evoking cringes, I enclosed it in a letter of appreciation I wrote to him and he was good enough to reply with a Christmas card wishing me a flurry of snow that did indeed appear on the big Day. A few years later I made it to having a permanent home across the field from that magical small house.

A Woman’s Prayer for New Year

After Paul Durcan


Waiting for the tides to turn, I am held by the soft touch of trees and blessed by holy water from the well in a fairy wood. I dance on the shoreline and swim in the deep.

In silent prayer I wait for a compatible man who can bear the pain of touch. He will be a man of prayer and consideration who loves to have fun.

My laugher and shouts of joy at the sparkling stars and the morning sun on the rising tide will rouse him. He will not be afraid to hold my hand as, with listening and full hearts, we entrust ourselves to the ocean.

He will see the way at times when waves submerge me, carry turf when I’m weary of the burden of understanding. Sometimes he’ll proffer soothing touch and defer solutions and I will revel in the warmth of his shining light and be saved by the clarity of its beam touching land across water.

He will stay awhile before returning to his cave, more of a home now he’s free to come and go and I will savour solitude the more for knowing

he will return.

2016 has been all about taking my leave of that home on the shores of Galway Bay that verges on the Burren.


 The home that Gordon D’Arcy says in his gorgeous new book, The Breathing Burren (Collins Press 2016), is at the end – or head of a sleeping giant. I can’t remember which and my books are still, much lamentedly, in storage while I further make space for them so I can’t immediately check. But you can buy his book in most bookstores. It would make a great gift to give – to others or youself.  

The year has also been about taking my leave of so many of the artefacts of family history. 


I moved into the house the year after my mother died, my father had done so nine years earlier. It became the repository of so much. I lived there alone yet experienced it as the family home I formerly yearned. In my last days there it occurred to me it has been a kind of archetypal family home fulfilling the fissures of earlier desire and longing and having done so, leaving me free now to enjoy new terrains that appear more suitable for the next stage of my life.

As an apprentice verse-maker the process has seen me visited by Kali


The Goddess Kali is the destroyer  but also the other side of the Lord Shiva, the giver, of life inspiring one of the longest poems I’ve attempted.

Today, published in Spontaneity


I see that the poet Aoife Reilly, both a former fellow Skylight poet and a more recent incumbent of that first magic cottage, has a poem Spontaneous Love published in the new edition of the online magazine Spontaneity. There’s one of my own there too. I submitted The Line in response to an interview with Kate Dempsey talking about her book The Space Between from Doire Press http://www.doirepress.com/  Doire also published my poetry collections Whispering the Secrets and  Fear Knot. 


You can read the poems Spontaneous Love and The Line in Spontaneity  

and follow the link to Kate Dempsey and enjoy the spectacular artwork and images and follow further Spontaneity links here at http://spontaneity.org/