Author of three collections published by Doire Press, 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. Her most recent interview, of Maeve O'Sullivan, appears in The Honest Ulsterman February, 2018.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Seattle Launch for Over the Edge: The First Ten Years Anthology - Ed Susan Millar DuMars (Salmon, 2013)

Susan Millar DuMars has written a wonderful Introduction to this Anthology - to which I am a proud contributor. You'd want to read it for the prose in the Introduction alone! But also for the succinct history of an astounding series of readings, over ten years, that has had a regular attendance of around sixty at the monthly library readings - although Pat McMahon, the librarian, who retired last year says there were closer to 100 - he put the chairs away!

It begins, 'In 2003 my partner Kevin and I were living in a grotty upstairs flat in Salthill, Galway. Wood panelling prevailed. A coin-up electricity metre ticked off our minutes of space-heating, television, light. we could watch the undulations of Galway Bay from our front window - if we stood on the couch and squinted.'

Further on is the paragraph - 'At the end of 2002, the writer and storyteller Rab Fulton (founder of "MucMhor Dhubh", a monthly mini-mag that celebrated multiculturalism and the arts) complained to me that no one was giving unpublished writers a chance to read - to practice the art of presenting work, to try out their pieces before an audience. Most of the reading advertised smelled either of new money or of old, mildewed worthiness. I though about this lack a lot, and one winter's morning as I walked in to town I decided I could see how to challenge it. I phoned Kevin; by the time I'd made it into work, he and I had created the format for the Over the Edge Readings.'

 Eamon Wall - Poet and Smurfit-Stone Professor of Irish Studies as the University of Missouri, St .Louis has written: 'this anthology provides a generous selection of work and a lively introduction from Millar DuMars that locates the series within the contexts and histories of the Galway literary scene from the 1990's to the present.' His own book 'from the sin - e cafe tot he black hills, notes on the new irish' (The University of Wisconsin Press, 1999) has a comment from Eavan Boland on the back cover describing it as "A sparkling, engaging view of what it means to be an immigrant witness, to look at the United States through the eyes of a new population of Irish." It is interesting to see Over the Edge through the eyes of an emigrant Irish poet who returns regularly to the Irish scene. His book says, 'In recent times, (he is writing in 1999!) Irish publishers of poetry have received more generous government subsidies, and this extra funding has allowed them to take a more international view of poetry; for them, to bend Kavanagh's dictum, the new Irish view of poetry must be parochial and international'. Something the recent Ireland Professor of Poetry, Harry Clifton, addressed in his lectures and in an interview in Issue 1 of Skylight 47. This is a poetry magazine launched by Skylight Poets, a Thursday  afternoon Advanced Workshop with Kevin Higgins, to celebrate ten years of Over the Edge - under the co-editorship of Nicki Griffin, Kevin O'Shea and myself. It is mentioned, also, in Susan Millar DuMars' Introduction.

It is true I have a declared interest. But I doubt anyone buying the book from or at the AWP  launch on Friday 28th February, 2014 @Salmon Poetry's Reception and Reading in the Sheraton Hotel, Seattle, 3rd Floor, will be disappointed. 'Over three hundred writers have read at Over the Edge. About two hundred were unpublished at the time.Over forty of these published books since.' You can read selections from their publication in this Anthology. It is a literary history of a particular moment in time in Galway. To have been fortunate enough to be able to avail of it has been a real privilege and an extraordinary opportunity. All who can get there are welcome at the launch.

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