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, 14 March 2016

The Elephant in the Room at Corrib Toastmasters is No Weed.


‘…And I still don’t know what that elephant in the room is all about’ was the General Evaluator's conclusion to the Corrib Toastmasters meeting on Tuesday 8th March, 2016 - at the Maldron Hotel in Oranmore, Co. Galway - having begun with a comment on an atmosphere of giddiness on the night. She was to find out.

     The giddy tone may have been set when the Toastmaster of the night invited members to attend his wedding celebration. He is to marry the man who is already his civil partner. This time last year he was working on a jigsaw of maps on the kitchen floor in preparation to for Vote Yes in Co.Mayo in the campaign to legalise marriage for all in the Irish Constitution that was passed and came into law at the end of 2015. 
     The meeting proper having begun: the first speech made a cogent case for legalising medicinal marijuana. The liveliness was brought to earth as the speaker described the far more dangerous drugs and two year waiting list for spinal pain relief injections involved in managing personal chronic pain. Her concluding hope that by the time medicinal marijuana is legalised she will no longer need it was upbeat.

     From euphoria – the grammarian’s word of the evening that each speaker is invited to use – to the bread the next speaker has discovered it’s a pleasure to bake. Personal Oscars were awarded during the third speech. His Stage Five speech would be evaluated in relation to use of body language and expression. No question about able use of facial expression when this speaker taunted the Mayo team followers with his Oscar for the Galway team winning thrice in a row – glee and humour clear in a winning smile and sparkling eyes. His final winner is a Nun whose seventy-fourth he recently attended. In her ‘retirement’ she teaches mindfulness to people recovering from addiction.

    ‘I thank God that I have always had the gift of a great deal of energy’ the final speaker, working on an advanced speaking programme, began. He had needed it in the early in his married life while working in Australia on a major construction project. He broke his leg, his brand new machinery, worth around a hundred thousand, became bogged in a swamp as did the recovery efforts and vehicles. Three days of dogged persistence got it out. Exhausted he got home, only to discover that a close family member was critically ill in his hospital. The speech’s evaluator summed it up: ‘Resilience best describes the underlying theme of this speech’.

    Seamus Heaney’s Mid-Term Break was the end poem read with exceptionally beautiful pacing. The reader contributed a welcome reflective pause before the final reports and evaluation asking about the elephant at back of the room. It may well accompany the Corrib Toastmasters in the St. Patrick’s Day Galway parade. Who’ll walk with the club? How can you miss that? 

Note. Corrib Toastmasters can be found at

No comments:

Post a Comment