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.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Not so 'Boring snoring?' Is Leo Varadkar breaking the gridlock Ian Katz sees in political interviews?

It was a relief to hear Leo Varadkar, the new Irish Minister for Health, when he broke with tradition in August by telling his listeners in interviews that the policies of his predecessor and fellow cabinet member, James Reilly, are not deliverable in the time frame that had been proposed and need to be reviewed. He openly acknowledged he had come to this view in light of the briefing documents he received.

Catching up with last weekends’ Financial Times Life & Arts supplement last night, his remarks are additionally interesting. ‘Boring snoring?’ is an article considering the death of political interviews and the need for their restoration to life. Ian Katz, of BBC’s Newsnight, the author, offers four ‘modest ideas’ as to how the deadlock he sees politicians and their interviewers caught in might be broken - to the benefit not only of both but of their listeners.

It is a more serious matter than simply the question of what makes good radio and television. Politics itself is coming into disrepute. Turning off – whether by zoning out, flipping channels or moving to Netflix – has the subliminal effect of suggesting politics itself is irrelevant. When we remind ourselves that ultimately politics is what we depend upon to find solutions to problems that otherwise are solved by warfare, Ian Katz’s article and Leo Vardakar’s fresh approach are to welcomed.

Far from being attacked for what could be seen as Government failure, Varadkar’s remarks were positively received and led to questions that have been met with a rare, degree of openness. This has led to constructive discussion on the challenges of delivering health services, both across the globe and here, in the economic context of emerging from a bail out.

Katz says, ‘So, here’s a challenge to politicians: if you will dare to be a little more candid, to come to the crease a little less padded up, to answer questions rather than avoid them, we will give you the space to explain your politics and yourself, to show the public that you are a well-intentioned and rounded human being, to earn that most precious of political commodities, authenticity.’

Enda Kenny, the Government, and the media here in Ireland, ought to be very careful about how they respond to Leo Varadkar’s candour. He has won the rare respect, in current times, of the audience for political interviews. He may be showing the way forward. It is, at very least, an experiment to be encouraged.

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