Poetry Ireland Introductions 2014 Redux: Breda Wall Ryan

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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.

Breda Wall Ryan

"For me, the confidence I gained from being selected for Poetry Ireland Introductions, from participating in Alan Jude Moore’s and Theo Dorgan’s workshops, and from the support of my Introductions colleagues, has given my poetry a new impetus and energy. The poem I submitted to Alan Jude Moore’s workshop has since won the Gregory O’Donoghue International Poetry Prize 2015 [Breda will be reading her winning poem at the Cork Spring Poetry Festival, on 14 February - A].  I gained particular benefit from Theo’s workshop on reading in public. His guidance was invaluable when I read at anthology and journal launches, and when, as part of a bespoke marriage ceremony, I read my specially commissioned poem to an audience of 85 guests. Thanks, Theo!

Introductions made me realize that the process of making the poem is what being a poet is about; I love that process. However, once the poem is finished, it deserves to be sent into the world to find its readership or audience. Eleven of my poems were published in 2014 and I’ve had poems commended, shortlisted or placed in several competitions, including the Bridport Prize, the Gregory O’Donoghue, Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition, Fish and the Patrick Kavanagh Award. My purpose in entering contests has been to get exposure for my work. The exposure online, in print and especially in the P.I. Introductions video earned me endorsements from competition judges and established poets, all of which helped to get my work noticed by a publisher. The past few months have been taken up with putting together my first collection, In a Hare’s Eye with Doire Press, which will be published in March 2015.

 Poetry Ireland Introductions made me more adventurous with my poetry. Apart from writing the commissioned occasional poem, I’ve translated two poems by our Introductions colleague Stiofán Ó hIfearnáin from Irish to English. It was a really absorbing process, writing a version that preserved the rhythm, rhyme, tone and structure of the original. I’d like to do more translations, possibly from languages I don’t know; but I’d need a very comprehensive crib.

Through meeting my peers on Introductions, my mind has been opened to spoken word, film poems, the links between poetry and art, environmental poetry, abstract poetry and philosophical poetry, all of which I’m exploring by degrees. But the most important thing is to keep on writing. And rewriting. And rewriting again. Process is all!

Congratulations to all my colleagues in P.I. Introductions 2014 on their recent successes; on their work on behalf of poetry and on their excellent and unique poems."

Breda Wall Ryan grew up in rural Co. Waterford and lives in Co. Wicklow. She has an M. Phil in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin. Her poetry has been widely published, in Skylight 47, Deep Water Literary Journal, Fish Anthology, The Pickled Body and The Rialto, and has won several prizes, including the UCD Anthology Poetry Competition, Poets Meet Painters, Dromineer Poetry Competition, Over the Edge New Writer of the Year, and most recently, the Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Competition 2015. Her debut poetry collection, In a Hare's Eye, is due from Doire Press, in March 2015. You can find Breda on Facebook at Breda Wall Ryan - Writer.

The Poetry Ireland Introductions series is open for submissions until 31 Jan.