Poet Asling Fox gave me an interview some time ago on my radio show on Liffey Sound FM (Behind the Lines’: every Tuesday 8.00-9.00, available on the web: see our website) which proved popular as a podcast. Some problems developed re accessing it so I have put it up again on this blog and you can access it by clicking HERE. It was a great interview with Aisling in great form (as always) and explaining here view of poetry and music and the potential for both art forms to work in unison.


Was always a fan of le Carre and continue, like many others, to marvel at the way he survived the ending of the Cold War, that is to say, the ending of the scenarios for much of his earlier work. In retrospect it was foolish to think that his inspiration would dry up just because there was now no Soviet Union to ensure an abundant supply of ‘moles’ and ‘spooks’. He just shifted gear a little so that he could produce  books like ‘Single & Single’, ‘The Russia House’ and so many more. His characters continue to be rather more (or less) than he allows to meet the reader’s eye until he judges the time is right for revelation. And the sheer fanaticism of his ‘Intelligence’ investigators has not diminished: Brock (in this novel) echoes his old Cold War counterpart Smiley. I never liked novels with lacunae of fulsome poetic description. I like this direct, taut writing and startling turns of plot. A vast population of characters. And an opening chapter that hauls you bodily into the story. Recommended.


Click HERE to listen to poet Helen Dempsey talk about her work on Liffey Sound FM 96.4 in the ‘Behind the Lines’ programme with Eamonn Lynskey. Helen is a member of the Ardgillan Writers Group and has lots to say on the importance of interaction with fellow writers. And can a study of Theology help in the writing of poetry? Yes it can! (Hello Barack). Listen to Helen expound on this subject and others with perceptive comments and a lively sense of humour.

Another great Open Mic night at ‘The Poetry Place’in Betterton Street, London on Tuesday 2

Niall O'Sullivan

August, hosted by the genial Niall O’Sullivan … I read my rather grim poem ‘Deposition’ about Dublin’s drug-related gangland killings (a rather grim subject), but then lightened things up a bit with my ‘Coming Back’ and ‘When People Say’. Lots of  really good stuff, including poems in memory of the late unfortunate Amy Winehouse. Donal Dempsey had one about retrieving his soul which he had given away in mistake to a charity shop. Janice Windle read her poem ‘Agency Teacher’ which is full of black humour. I liked Betty Davies’s simple poem about London and I feel very sorry to see the mayhem that occurred just after I returned to Dublin. I like the city a lot and always feel good there, having been a resident for two periods of a few years each. I liked also John Paul O’Neill’s ‘The Pacific Ocean’, which he gave without a script. Niall informed us of upcoming celebrations due to ‘Poetry Unplugged’now reaching it fifteenth year. 15 years!!! OMG! Tempus fugit.


The theme was ‘Arrival & Departure’ at this Seven Towers reading in Chapters Bookstore in Parnell Street in Dublin. Karl Parkinson set things going with that ‘Mountjoy Jail’  poem of his which features earthy descriptions of a chap being released from the clink, a fellow you would NOT like to meet up a dark alleyway. His recent New York tour (… tour. Like that, Karl?) inspired his ‘New York Fragment‘ in which the line ‘..my Brooklyn Lager tastes like any other lager…’ just about sums up the NY hype. Great stuff, as always.

Bernie O’Reillygave some homely poems (to settle us down after Karl), one called


”Wisconsin’ and another in memory of that late great Dublin ‘character’ The Diceman. Also one about a floating candle she put some effort into making and then… it just sailed away from her! … That’s life, Bernie. Steve Conway read his very sensual ‘ballon story’ ‘Bristol Awakening’ and Bob Shakeshaft gave poems entitled ‘Dying Embers’, ‘Adam’s Soil’ and from the Census anthology ‘It Is Autumn Full’, a very evocative, pastoral piece. Oran Ryan, ever modest, didn’t bring anything but borrowed Bob’s Census to read his ‘1947 Prelininary Design for a Universe Circling Spaceship’ an enigmatic journey into a future world.


I tried out my latest ‘The Canals of Mars’ plus‘The Coming Back’


and (another new) ‘Railway Crossing’. I found a few things in the last-named which need tightening-up. All in all a very enjoyable session, MC’d with the usual aplomb by Sarah Lundberg. The next themed reading will be on Thursday Sept 15 at 6.30 on the subject of ‘Animals’. Come along and join the fun.


Click HERE to listen to a podcast of Radio DJ and writer Steve Conway talk about himself and his

Steve Conway

work on my ‘Behind the Lines’ programme on Liffey Sound FM 96.4. The programme goes out live on Tuesdays 8.00 to 9.00pm on FM and on http://www.liffeysound.ie   Steve discusses his very successful book ‘Shiprocked’ (‘Life on the Waves with Radio Caoloine’), an account of his times with the pirate station. He has lots to say about his various experiences as a rookie radio presenter and the adventures associated with his early times on air. Anyone who has read Steve before, or has seen him perform his work live, will know that there are many good laughs in store in this programme. He also reads from other work and has lots of advice for how to get published. Well, he can tell you how HE got published… and every little helps!

Click HERE to listen to poet Pauline Fayne talk about her new book ‘Mowing in the Dark’ on the Liffey Sound radio programme ‘Behind the Lines’ and many other matters to do with her poetry. Our discussion ranges widely over her life and times and her writing over the years, going back to her grandfather, a contributor to Dublin’s long-disappeared ‘Evening Mail’ newspaper, and who’s writings were an initial inspiration for her work.