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.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Poohsticks get me back on Verse after overdose of Tweets. Notes from an Apprentice Verse-Maker (2)

Twitter – part of an apprenticeship in writing poems.

I’ve become a Twitterbug!  Made it: through nine years of work-shopping a poem a week; two Collections published;  a small nod from officialdom in terms of winning an invitation to read for Poetry Ireland; the odd publication in a journal – detour of winning a prize on radio and hearing a poem set to music (mega fun) - and reading at the odd festival. Now it seems overdue to focus on how to make a possible readership aware of the glories awaiting them between my covers. In other words, I’m buying into something I’ve known all along, publishers present - and in future – want authors who will sell books.

Learning Social Media to introduce verse and prose.

I’m not great at writing begging letters for invitations to read (you don’t know what you’re missing, I’d be delighted to receive an invitation from you) and anyway that wouldn’t be obvious to publishers unless they get results. I’m a bit lost on Facebook, they keep changing rules I can’t keep up with. Given a hand to set up a blog and twitter account, I set off and I’m hooked! Moi – who hates everything IT! Now, I’ve taken a computer on holiday for the first time ever. I’m writing Tweets watching TV. My old self, luckily demolished (see Fear Knot – published by Doire please note!) is turning over in her mummified grave. I’ve discovered the adrenalin rush – or is it testosterone, given research on how power poses, affect testosterone and cortisol levels (see TED talk on topic) – possible when a Tweet is’ favourited’ or re-tweeted. I’m oiling up my community support gears. Enjoying the challenge of discovering how to apply what I previously learned about supporting and joining community to this medium. Highlights of the last week involved getting over the ‘50 Followers’ hump and Poetry Ireland re-tweeting my notice that Skylight 47 has a submission deadline of 1st April, thus bringing it to the attention of a much greater ‘target audience’.

Scary Success at Starting Something New.

I know I’ve made it when my daughter notes I have so many Tweets. Maybe I’m over tweeting! Somewhere I’ve ticked a box that has my Facebook page full of tweets. It’s scary. And I launched my second ‘public profile’ photograph – even more frightening (with a bit of preening when people ‘like’ it), who is this woman?

Restored to Verse-Making – Poohsticks* at Belvedere House on Mothers’ Day.

I wake up on Monday morning wondering have I ceased being in line to write verse altogether. I reflect on yesterday – Mother’s Day. I was blessed to meet family at Belvedere House, Mullingar. Seeing my grandson engrossed in following his twigs along an accessible stream while we waited, reminded me to initiate my grand-daughter (who has just got started on the walking) into the joys of Poohsticks too. She had just added ‘lake’ to her short vocabulary – probably any patch of water for now, but she will learn to distinguish further. Those Poohsticks, meandering along the stream, are mesmerising. The pleasures of dropping twigs on one side of a bridge and rushing to the other side to see them come through or lamenting their imprisonment - in mud or log-jammed amidst others underneath the bridge, hotly disputed debates about whose stick it is that is winning, memories of Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and the knowledge we’re participating in a ritual begun several generations past. All of this is a necessary respite from Twittering. Listening to birds – in full song at Belvedere House at the end of March - and the legacy of  A.A. Milne restores me. Maybe I could try writing a poem again.

*The little book of Poohsticks, Rules and Tactics, stuck in to The Enchanted World of Winnie-the-Pooh, Published by Dutton , gives:

 ‘Introsticktion/ The very first game of Poohsticks was played by by Pooh by himself. // One morning he was crossing abridge on the edge of the Foreset, when he tripped and dropped a fir-cone into the water.//Pooh noticed a curious thing: he had dropped the fir-cone on one side of the bridge, but it came out on the other. A second fir-cone did the same. Then he tried dropping in two at once and guessing which would come out first.//And so the game of Poohsticks was born.’

This is a gorgeous book of introduction to the world of Pooh and friends, author  A.A. Milne & E.H.Shepard (illustrations).

You can discover the possibilities of Belvedere House at

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