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.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Poetry Vomit and Pleasure - from London

Bloomsbury Coffee House – was a real pleasure to visit while in London on the weekend despite long delays in the delivery of delicious porridge with a compote of prunes and apricots. It allowed time to check e-mails and read the Sunday paper headlines.  I’ve decided to cook up a compote to have on hand for breakfasts in future. My first treat in this regard was in Folyle’s Hotel, Clifden, Co. Galway, where it was a rhubarb and ginger sauce. It was Sunday morning in London though and the place was packed. The ambience was full of character and kept us entertained - and maybe the new body in the kitchen was not yet quite up to speed. My daughter thought the avocado on gluten free toast was to die for.

     In terms of design if you want to know how to make a lower basement look great this is a good place to visit. The old metal window frames remain intact. I hadn’t seen similar windows for a while. They reminded me of the home I grew up in. It’s amazing just how long a building can retain its authenticity when well looked after. White paint with shades of grey – and the bathroom which could have been disaster was an enjoyable visit with a concrete floor painted light grey and just a few lively tiles and a mirror reflecting such light as was available.  The white yard with the steps down to the entrance painted red let plenty of light into the larger two room
s of the coffee house.

     Then, naturally, I met the Irish language poet, Louis de Paor, outside - en passant. He also lives in Galway. You couldn’t visit London for a few days and not come across someone from home. He was gracious in being accosted with a ‘hi from Galway’ – just couldn’t resist it!  82 Marchmont Street, London
     Judd Books, justly proud of it it’s used academic books, was just around the corner from the coffee house. It didn’t open until noon on Sunday but then I had a good browse through their quality selection – both on the ground floor and downstairs - once I’d received a clothes peg receipt for the bag I’d to leave at the desk. There were large books I’d have liked but then I’d have had to carry them around so I settled for Kid, the Simon Armitage collection of poetry from Faber and Faber that ‘won the inaugural Forward \prize for Best First Collection in 1992’. I have to admit I bought it because two of the poems made me chuckle. When I flicked through it later on I discovered Not the Furniture Game within – a poem Kevin Higgins had recently given out in the Skylight Poets writing forum in the Galway Arts Centre as a writer’s prompt (great for encouraging metaphors) and that I had left on my kitchen table before leaving home in readiness for the Monday night group meeting Having the Conversation – About Celebration. I was suggesting it celebrates language. It evoked a powerful reaction in the group – for most it was overwhelming, an overabundance of metaphor, too prolific a list and insufficiently clear in its meaning. Just the kind of poem I need for the Conversation group using poetry to provoke discussion. ‘This is not a poem,’ allowing us to try to establish what criteria it doesn’t fit and whether they are in fact the criteria we want to use in evaluating a poem. Not something we could establish. Just the kind of meat and drink required. It made one participant want to vomit, for the same reason – too much. I love the poem, the cascade of language and metaphor and I wish my 'one-liners were footballs through other people's windows'. It was an evening of visceral poetry with quite a few lists including Bertholdt Brecht’s To Eat of Meat Joyously and Pleasures following on from Chana Bloch’s Rising To Meet It, a poem seen initially to be about childbirth but, taking the third stanza into account (controversial in this discussion for being included for which, again, I was thankful) more a celebration of woman’s warrior-ship invigorated by the wisdom and intuition of the body. Lines from Rising to Meet It and from Armitage’s Gooseberry Season, also found in his book, are now displayed on my Twitter title @susanhlindsay.

       Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre, on Friday night was a disappointment. We should have known it didn’t augur well when three adults and a child clamboured over us to aisle seats they could have reached without discomfiting anyone. The man of the party who stood with his umbrella all but spiking my stomach and his case blocking my knees while the rest of his company flaffed around making it impossible for me to resume my seat for so long that I had eventually to ask him if he’d mind making space to enable me to sit again should have been a further warning of what was to come. The Grand Circle seats were stacked high. Despite that, at one stage a man of the party climbed over to swop seats with a child in the row before during the first Act, the ultimate distraction after continual talking and movement among the party who appeared to be explaining everything to the children as it took place, not in whispers but in loud continuous mutter and even singing along at one stage. Then the men who were now sitting together began to talk to each other.

     Initially was in sympathy with the possible need to settle the children in. But when I realised I’d missed a significant section of the first half of the performance and was no longer clear as to what was happening, that the seats had cost us sixty pounds, that others paid considerably more and our whole trip from Ireland had been initially motivated by a wish to see the event, hear the music, enjoy memories of the Dahl characters and see the children who would bring them to life it became really annoying. The usherette shushed them and stood at the end of the lines they occupied for most of the performance. Eventually I added my own entreaties. In the interval my daughter pointed out that people from all the surrounding seats had shushed and given glowering looks in the hope of enjoying the show but to no avail. In fact the group appeared entirely oblivious to the needs of anyone around them. In the interval those who had not already moved along to fill the few empty surrounding seats did so as we did. But it was too late to still fully appreciate and enjoy the show although we did what we could. I am not sure what language the group spoke so maybe they did come from a culture that doesn’t value silence in the theatre. It wouldn’t encourage me to travel to another London show, too much at stake when audience members can’t be trusted to allow others enjoy their night out.

    I can’t tell you much about the performance. It is quite amazing to see such young performers deliver such professional performances that you forget they are children and want to judge them on the same terms as everyone else and they certainly did deliver such performances. Overall I thought it was a little mechanical and had lost some sparkle. The artifice of delivering the storyline through Matilda telling it her local librarian and saviour didn’t seem to quite work but having been so distracted and trying to deal with the disappointment – not least because I knew how much my daughter wanted to enjoy it - I am in no position to judge. 

Our Sunday afternoon trip down the Thames to Greenwich did not disappoint. The sun came out while we were on the river and it was all the more appreciated for its absence earlier.

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