The Poetry Ireland Introductions Series - a showcase for emerging poets working towards a first collection and with a track record of publication in journals and magazines - is open for submissions. Introductions mentors new writing talent in Ireland, providing the opportunity to workshop poetry with an established, published poet and perform work to a live audience at a showcase, hosted by Poetry Ireland; the showcase is recorded and published on the Poetry Ireland web-site.
As an alumni of last year's series, 2014 was pretty busy for me on the writing front, and I thought it would be fun to catch up with my fellow emerging writers to see what they've been up to.
To encourage those of you who might be thinking of applying this year, I asked them to share what it was like to take part in Poetry Ireland Introductions, how they benefited and where they are now with their writing.
"Although I have always written some poetry, I regard myself very much as a late developer in this respect, and my first poem published was in 2012. I worked for many years in environmental protection and my writing mainly involved presenting the results of environmental research and monitoring. Much of my research related to protecting the environment of Ireland's bays, estuaries and coastal waters, in which I have an abiding interest, now often reflected in my poetry. I served as editor of the Environmental Protection Agency's first two reports on the State of the Environment and, later, as a Director of the Agency.
My getting to the point of being among those selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series 2014 is due in no small measure to my availing of what the Irish Writers’ Centre has to offer. In moving from writing mainly technical and scientific texts to writing mainly poetry, I have had the benefit of several poetry workshops and courses. My first published poem, in Poetry Ireland Review, was submitted at the suggestion of Catherine Phil McCarthy, after I brought it along to her workshop at the IWC.
I find the coast of County Wexford, where I live, to be particularly inspiring, and it is the setting for several poems, although some are set on the coasts of Counties Sligo and Kerry, and some even away from the coast! The actual themes of the poems can vary. Most of my recent writing has gone back again to the first few months following the death of my wife, Jennifer, in 2011. She encouraged my poetry, and I greatly valued her opinion and her ability to spot what I would often miss.
Participating in the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series 2014 was indeed a rewarding experience. Being among those receiving this recognition from Poetry Ireland, participating in the events, including the workshops led by Alan Jude Moore and Theo Dorgan, and engaging with this lively group of emerging poets, all provided memories that I will cherish.
Subsequently, I have had poems published, in The Stony Thursday Book and Cypers 78, participated in several readings: at the launch of the former, during the Cuisle International Poetry Festival, in Limerick, at Soundings for Simon, in Dublin, organised by Daragh Bradish; and at the Fusion Cafe, in Wexford, where, on the first Friday of each month, Denis Collins is the regular MC, and visitors are always welcome. I have continued to work with my poetry group, established some years ago, after a Peter Sirr workshop at the IWC.
Larry Stapleton was born in Sligo and lives in Wexford. Prior to his being selected for Poetry Ireland Introductions Series, his poetry was published in a number of anthologies and journals - Poetry Ireland Review, Science Meets Poetry 3, About Place Journal (US), The Stinging Fly, THE SHOp and The Scaldy Detail.
The Poetry Ireland Introductions series is open for submissions until 31 Jan.