Sunday, 7 October 2018

Micéal Kearney's Launch Notes Boyne Berries 24

Hello there,

I’d like to thank Órla, and the Committee, for asking me to launch Boyne Berries 24. I was in Sweden visiting family when she emailed to ask me and I remember looking behind me to check if there was someone else there that she was asking.

I’ve often said that when putting a collection together; that the last poem in it is the running order of the poems. And it’s the same with this. Upon reading and rereading the magazine I was taking a journey that spanned the full breath of the human experience. Of course each poem and story brought me its own journey but the magazine, as a whole, from the first poem to the last story… the best way I can describe it; it was like a boomerang: it brings you off far away but takes you right back home. Where it all starts and ends.

The first thing that struck me was the stunning cover. Man and nature existing together. Or so it seems at first. To quote Agent Smith: appearances can be deceiving, Mr. Anderson. The more I read I got a sense of the helplessness of humanity but in a cosmic way.

In the first poem Orchard by Emma McKervey, she humbly admits – It is a skill I do not own but whilst negotiating/the furrows and ridges of the plantation/searching for windfalls I know to halt by the scars. I enjoyed the honesty of that line as it takes a lifetime to master a skill. Also, there’s one line: they hold tight the acid which fizzes/on the gums long after each bite is swallowed reminded me of Apple Jacks. So in-between mastering our work skills we try to figure ourselves out which brings me to Polly Richardson and her poem VoidTo what extent to do I exist,/Like other realms, overweening Gods/Of Gods commands.

I enjoyed the story The Alps by Kate Ennals. I liked this one in particular as part of growing up is when we discover that in family member’s nostalgia glasses are often calibrated differently to yours. And in the poem Rooms by Deirdre Clay; we all have those fond and shaping memories of grandparents.

So after we master our work skills, figure ourselves out; we’re finally mature enough to go off to war. Where Eithne Cavanagh in Paper Knife poignantly puts it – the stench of fear and mustard gas/were the same for every soldier. And if you’re lucky enough to survive, as a reward, you get to watch your loved ones grow old and die. And what can you do? To quote Peadar O'Donoghue and his poem Oh Death, you're incorrigible!off to the nearest bar, to wait our turn.

I looked after my Gran for years; so poems like Memory by Anthony Wade – Once a hinge from which her family securely hung and Threshold by Brian Kirk – He continued to rule though he shrank as you grew really resonated with me. Then there’s a story: Of Men and Dogs by Steve Wade – the toll it takes on both the family member and carer. And how we can often carry it with us for years afterwards. And the rest of the poems and stories cover the other rollercoasters in life of regret, remorse and everything inbetwixt. Including Dogs by Oliver Mort.

There’s 2 poems that beautifully accentuate the other. And they are: A poem must by Eamonn Lynskey. Where he writes – be radiant/ despite the darkness nurtured it, … suffer its gethsemanes and afflict them, sense beneath the rib/an exultation flood his soul. Which leads onto the poem that I kept coming back to. Every time I discovered and found something new and that was: A forge like this by Arthur Broomfield. A superb poem.

With all that said, getting back to the cover; so long after we’re all gone, Nature and the animals will be left. And they’ll reclaim and play in our great houses of nothing. But however vast the eternal void is, it’s the small things we occupy our time with like finding love and the treasures that it brings that makes life so memorable, meaningful and magical. To quote Mike Gallagher in Turfmanwe are, all of us, the kids/we were at four years old,/ still doing the things/we've always done,/ always.

I’ve said the whole magazine captures the human experience but if that could be boiled down to one piece, it would be the last story: I’ve got the Down and Dirty Blues by Caroline Carey Finn which takes place at Tipsters Tiles and Toiletry Appliances Limited. I don’t want to say too much about it but I love the juxtaposition of the younger staff and their perspectives versus the more experienced and jaded staff. And the reality of the situation.

So. That’s enough from me so I do declare Boyne Berries 24 launched. Thank you and goodnight.

Micéal Kearney 04/10/2018

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Boyne Berries 24 Launch


Micéal Kearney


Boyne Berries 24 will be launched on Thursday, 04th October, 2018 at 8 p.m. in The Castle Arch Hotel, Trim, Co. Meath by poet Miceál Kearney.

Miceál Kearney, 38, lives in the West of Ireland. He began writing in 2001 and he has had poems and short-stories published in Ireland, the U.K and worldwide either in print or online. He read as part of Poetry Ireland’s Introduction Series, ’09. Miceál has published 2 poetry collections; Inheritance (Doire Press,‘08) and The Inexperienced Midwife (Arlen House,‘16) And 3 of his plays have been staged with a 4th in production.

Boyne Berries, published by the Boyne Writers Group, is edited by poet Orla Fay, copy-edited by poet Frances Browne and features cover design by poet and illustrator Rory O’Sullivan.

Boyne Berries 24 features work by Brian Kirk, Eamonn Lynskey, Kate Ennals, Gráinne Daly, Arthur Broomfield, David Butler, Oliver Mort, Paul McCarrick, Peter Farrelly, Tomas McGuinness, Emma McKervey, Peter Nolan, Miceál Kearney, Bernie Crawford, Polly Richardson, Eithne Cavanagh, Deirdre McClay, Peadar O’Donoghue, Camillus John, Jane Blanchard, Frank Murphy, Anthony Wade, Steve Wade, Keith Fitzsimons, John Davies, Mike Gallagher, Pam Muller, Mel White and Caroline Carey Finn.

Entry to the launch is free and all are welcome. Contributors to the magazine will read on the night and copies of the magazine will be available to purchase.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Rachel Coventry's Launch Notes, Boyne Berries 23


Rachel Coventry

It’s a particular honour to launch the 23rd Boyne Berries. My first publication was in Boyne Berries in 2011 when Michael Farry was the editor. As you can imagine I really like Boyne Berries for this reason. No acceptance by any other magazine has ever felt as good as that first one. The writers among us know that up to the moment when you get that first precious publication there is absolutely no guarantee that you will actually ever be published and even though there is no guarantee that you will ever be published again it’s just not the same level of doubt. I remember being slightly embarrassed (embarrassment seems to go with the territory of writing) by the poem chosen and discussing this with Kevin Higgins. He told me that you have to trust the editor’s decision.  It was good advice and looking through this current issue it is clear that we can trust Orla’s decisions.

One of the most important things about Boyne Berries is precisely that it gives new writers an opportunity to see their work in print. Whatever way you look at it, without someone willing to take a risk on new, unknown writers there would be no new writing and without new writing there would be no writing whatsoever. It is imperative that we value publications that allow a writer to cut her teeth.

Of course Boyne Berries does not just publish new writers it is one of those lovely and rare platforms where the known and the unknown; the new and the old, are presented side by side. For example, in this edition, it is lovely to feature alongside Patrick Chapman, Jean O’Brien, and JA Sutherland as well as many familiar and well established names while also encountering work from some writers that I have not read up till now.

As writers often do when they pick up a shiny new magazine, I tend to head straight for back where you find the notes on contributors to have a good nose at other writer’s bios. This is a particularly gratifying exercise with a copy of Boyne Berries because it contains such a healthy cross section of Irish writing. For a while my own bio read, “Rachel Coventry is from Galway and she has a poem published in Boyne Berries.” In this edition, there is work from writers who have no publication credits and others that have many collections to their names. I have a word document on my laptop with all the various iterations of my bio. I can trace my development of my work by looking at it and whatever happens in the future Boyne Berries will be the start of the story and it is gratifying to think that someone’s publication journeys is beginning with this issue.

As we all know, it generally takes some time, effort and bravery to get that first publication and without someone willing to publish these poems and stories it would be difficult to go on. But it must be noted that that the quality of the work in Boyne Berries is of a high standard and has continued to be so over the years and that publishing new writers does not mean publishing bad writing.

Also, the wide range of writers published in Boyne Berries is a factor of particularly pertinence in these times when it is also tempting, when looking at the contributors list to work out the ratio of male to female writers in any a given publication. This has become particularly relevant in the wake of the Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets scandal. I wont go into it here, and probably the least said about it the better. But at the very least we can say that there are other well-known publications struggling to reach a gender balance and struggling with other biases but this is a problem that doesn’t seem to affect Boyne Berries.

It seem that at grass roots the Irish literary establishment has no difficulty including work from women writers and other marginalized groups and yet the lion’s share of the available arts funding seems to find its way to publications that continually show various biases. There is nothing controversial in this. Anyone who submits work to Poetry Ireland Review, for example, is informed, and I quote directly from the website: “We encourage more submissions from women and people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, who are currently under-represented in Poetry Ireland Review”. There clearly isn’t any need for such a disclaimer in a Boyne Berries  submission call. That there are biases that block entry into publication for various groups is simply a fact yet that this block is not evident in magazines like Boyne Berries is another fact that deserves a little more consideration especially by the Arts Council.

Boyne Berries is a safe haven for the new writer and the more experienced writer alike-a place the work is considered in its own terms and it is maybe for this reason that it attracts such a variety of work from such a braod spectrum of writers. In a literary world that is not an even playing field an magazine like Boyne Berries is crucial.

Of course, despite the variety of writers showcased there is a lovely coherence to this particular edition. I was very drawn to the Orla’s submission call in December; I couldn’t resist it. The work chosen and the feeling of renewal and freshness in this edition is certainly a testimony to Orla’s skills as an editor. I look forward to the other edition that will be published later in the year.

In this edition, I love Anne Walsh Donnelly’s poem that opens the edition. I look forward to seeing more of her work also Sara Mullen’s interesting poem, another name that I’m not familiar with but I’m sure I will be hearing more off.  There are wonderful poems from Jean O’Brien, Noelle Lynskey, John Noonan and many other poets.

At the moment my own focus is on poetry but it was really great to read the fiction included in this edition, which features work from Lorraine Bennet and Olivia Fitzsimmons among others. When I get over this poetry fixation I may submit a story myself.

I also must mention Rory O’Sullivan’s cover art, which is fresh and vivid and nicely mirrors the magazines content. Boyne Berries is always an attractive magazine but I really love this cover especially the use of colour.

Finally, for all these reasons, I think we should view the launch of this 23rd edition of Boyne Berries as a celebration of Irish and international writing; a celebration that the winter is over (or it will be soon, hopefully). As Orla says in the editorial, we writers have been working away all winter and it is great to see the fruits of this work in this beautiful, fresh, spring edition and it’s particularly lovely to gather here to launch it. The world of Irish literature is very lucky that Boyne Writers Group supports this venture and for the hard work that Orla and Frances do to keep the magazine going. With that I’ll declare Boyne Berries 23 launched and we can get on with the real work of listening to some of the contributors read.

-          Rachel Coventry, April 2018



Sunday, 11 March 2018

Boyne Berries 23 Launch

 
BB23 Cover Draft by Rory O'Sullivan
 
 
Boyne Berries 23 will be launched on Thursday, 05th April, at 8 p.m. in The Castle Arch Hotel, Trim, Co. Meath. Contributors to the magazine will read on the night.
 
Boyne Berries 23 will be launched by Rachel Coventry. Rachel’s poetry has featured in many journals including Poetry Ireland Review, The SHOp, Cyphers, Stony Thursday Book, and Honest Ulsterman. She was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series in 2014. In 2016 she won the Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust Annual Poetry Competition and was short-listed for the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award She is writing a PhD on Heidegger’s poetics at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Salmon Poetry will publish her debut collection this year.
 
 
Rachel Coventry
 



Boyne Berries 22 - The Ledwidge Issue Sold Out!

Boyne Berries 22, The Ledwidge Issue is now sold out. Thanks once again to the contributors to the magazine and to those who purchased a copy. It was a great opportunity to put such an issue together and it was much aided by a grant from Meath County Council Ledwidge Committee and the members of Boyne Writers.

Boyne Berries 23 will be available to purchase after the launch, details of which will follow imminently.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Boyne Berries 23 Update



The twenty-third issue of Boyne Berries Magazine, the bi-annual magazine of the Boyne Writers Group is currently under production. This issue is edited by Orla Fay, copy-edited by Frances Browne and will feature cover design by Rory O’Sullivan. This Spring issue will be released in April. Boyne Berries 24 is also being prepared for a late September date.

Boyne Berries was previously edited by poet Michael Farry, and featured one guest editor, the poet Kate Dempsey. The magazine has been in circulation since 2007 and the group looks forward to its 25th edition next year.

Boyne Berries 23 will feature work by Anne Walsh Donnelly, Wiltrud Dull, Fiona Perry, Rachel Coventry, Derek Coyle, Patrick Chapman, Sara Mullen, Diarmuid Fitzgerald, Jack Little, Michael Durack, Audrey Molloy, John Conroy, Brendan Carey Kinnane, Jean O’Brien, Noelle Lynskey, Honor Duff, Christine Broe, John Noonan, Carolyne Van Der Meer, Frank McGivney, Sinéad Mac Devitt, Conor Kelly, Bayveen O’Connell, Ana Spehar, Edward Lee, J.A. Sutherland, Cathal Ennis, Teresa Godfrey, Lorraine Bennett, Olivia Fitzsimons, Caroline Carey Finn.