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Friday, July 31, 2009

3 Poems and Essay by Kinga Cybulska

My perception of Ireland leads to poetry, fresh greenness and people’s kindness. One of the contemporary Polish poets named Ernest Bryll once said, that Irish land is for those who are tender-hearted. Perhaps, he was absolutely right.

I came to Ireland in 2006, just after my graduation at university. I was trying to get accustomed to shivering of my voice which was breaking the soft English vowels, new landscapes and the sky bending towards me with sparkling colour grey. As my passion for literature was still strong I kept reading, writing and dreaming.

A year ago, by a pure accident, I found out about the literary organization called Over The Edge which was looking for some volunteers. The plan was to organize the Polish Poetry Evening in Galway to meet the expectations of a serious amount of Poles in that time and all those interested in exploring exciting new literatures. I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Higgins and Susan Millar DuMars while working over the Polish Poetry Evening. The event itself turned out to be a success and it attracted lots of different people. Significant Polish poets’ works and biographies (Czesław Miłosz, Zbigniew Herbert, Wisława Szymborska, Aleksander Wat, Halina Poświatowska, Marcin Świetlicki and others) were presented. Also some Polish volunteers, including myself, took a plunge and read out their own poems.

A couple of weeks later Michael O’Loughlin, also present at the Poetry Evening, wrote to me asking if I wanted to contribute my short piece of a poetic prose to his book: Galway, city of strangers, a collection of various literary forms created by different immigrants living in Galway. That is how I got published in Ireland.

In May and in the autumn 2008 I attended to a couple of the poetry workshops in Galway Arts Centre facilitated by Kevin Higgins. Gloomy late afternoons, often rainy and cold brought an interesting perspective of learning so much about poetry and, in fact, touching “the real poetry”. It was an amazing and wonderful opportunity to develop writing techniques in English and meet interesting people (with their individual views) and confront them of course. Participating in this kind of activity helps in gaining the necessary confidence to present any pieces of work in public. It also built up the essential writing skills and made me realize why I write, what I might like to achieve in the future. I did present a few of my poems twice: during the 2008 Westside Festival and during English classes (devoted to the immigrants’ aspect in Galway) following the kind invitation of Kevin Hynes from the NUI Galway.

Being able to use a foreign language despite its twists, tricks and thorns in a creative way has been a great challenge to me, without a doubt. I am still fighting the limits and trying to capture the enigmatic depths of the beautiful English language. Anyhow, I write poems only in English. Ireland, I will always appreciate that…

3 poems by Kinga Cybulska


A tram meanders slowly to the airport.
I used to look through dusty blinded windows
And I am sighing now. The time is quoting itself.

The road diverged in Warsaw: exquisite greyness.
Always the underground of existence, fame of sorrows.
I am smuggling my books, ginger biscuits, my Master of Arts.
Gaining the bitterness of Guinness and a bite of W B Yeats.
Spitting out the sticky joke of a month salary.
Over fifty years of systems disguised in glamorous ideas.
I will miss stunning ugliness, crushing leaves with my heels.
Sweet, cold mornings of weakness in November.

The road diverged in Warsaw. It was four o’clock in the morning
In New York and a man enjoyed espresso on his way to work.

Dreams and awakenings

Every night and every morning
Possibilities crawl undefined.

I could have been this girl –
Her face drifting in a puddle of a window
On a night train to Paris.

Or with every anorexic reflection
Living on self hatred and lettuce.

A mythological sylph in disguise
Giggling viciously outside heaven.


Wrong was the sudden quaver in my legs,
Fatigue on my lips – unlike the loquacity of yours.
There were many bottles
Jingling mellow and softly, breaking fantastically.
Let’s liquefy our devotion.
I’ll be your bloody naughtiness
Where your loneliness gasps
And your monotony.
The small pantry where you used to bite through candies
And wild Angelica loved blenched almonds.
Words. I am tasting dirt.

Kinga Elwira Cybulska is from Lublin, Poland. In 2006 she received her MA in Polish language and literature at Catholic University of Lublin (KUL). Her work was published in the anthology: Galway city of strangers, Edited by M. O’Loughlin. In 2008 she participated in the Polish Poetry Evening (organized by Over The Edge). She also attended a couple of Kevin Higgins's poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre. Currently she is involved in writing for the Polish internet website. The main area of interests includes: "the stream of consciousness", slightly darker sides of a human nature, angelology and various kinds of feminism. Some poems of Kinga's will feature in an anthology of poetry by immigrants to Ireland, co-edited by Eva Burke, which will be published next year by Dedalus Press.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mary Hanlon and Deirdre Kearney Launch First Collections at Charlie Byrne’s Literary Jamboree

Deirdre Kearney
Nigel McLoughlin

David Starkey

Over The Edge presents the launch of two debut collections of poetry, Dear Beloved by Mary Hanlon & Spiddal Pier by Deirdre Kearney, both published by the Belfast based Lapwing Press, at Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop on Thursday, August 6th from 6.30pm.

The evening will also see the Galway launch of Chora: New & Selected Poems by visiting poet Nigel McLoughlin, which has just been published by Templar Poetry and Transmorphosis & Other Short Story by Boris Belony (aka Stephen Hughes), which was recently published by Stitchy Press. And there will be a short reading by David Starkey, the Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara, California who is visiting Galway.

Mary Hanlon lives in County Mayo. She is a participant in the Advanced Poetry Workshop facilitated at Galway Arts Centre by Kevin Higgins. Her poems have appeared in a variety of magazines, including West 47 online, The Cúirt Annual and Revival. ‘Thirst’, her poem inspired by Hugo Chavez, was published on the Over The Edge website this March. Dear Beloved is Mary’s first collection of poems and is published by Lapwing Press in Belfast.

Deirdre Kearney is originally from Omagh, County Tyrone, but has lived in Galway since 1983. She has been a participant in the Advanced Poetry Workshop at Galway Arts Centre. Her poems have been published in West 47, Cúirt New Writing 2007, The Ulster Herald, Crannóg, Words on the Web, Tinteán, Australian-Irish Magazine- Treóir, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann magazine, the Over the Edge website & Galway Exposed. She was a Featured Reader (alongside Denis O’Driscoll) at the May 2008 Over The Edge: Open Reading. Spiddal Pier is Deirdre’s first collection of poems and is also published by Lapwing Press.

Nigel McLoughlin is a prize-winning poet, editor and teacher. His work is published in journals and athologies in Ireland, the UK, USA and Australia. He has read his work at most of the major poetry festivals in Ireland and the UK. He is Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. His fifth collection, Chora: New & Selected Poems, has just been published by Templar Poetry.

Stephen Hughes began his writing career by putting out the highly popular zine Boris Belony which was one of best selling zines in Ireland in the early 2000's. He has read alongside such zinester greats as Al Burian (Burn Collector Zine) and Dave Roche (On Subbing). Ross O Carroll Kelly) says, "Franz Kafka meets Flann O'Brien meets John Kennedy Toole. <em>transmorphosis & Other Short Story reads like a collection of your worst cheese nightmares and the essays that persuade primary school teachers to call in social workers. Surreal, hilarious and very, very smart – and then, just when you're settling into a vein of laughter, unexpectedly, disquietingly, sad and touching. I loved every page."

David Starkey is the poet laureate of Santa Barbara, California, and director of the creative writing program at Santa Barbara City College. Among his poetry collections are Starkey’s Book of States (Boson Books, 2007), Adventures of the Minor Poet (Artamo Press, 2007), Ways of Being Dead: New and Selected Poems (Artamo, 2006), David Starkey’s Greatest Hits (Pudding House, 2002) and Fear of Everything, winner of Palanquin Press’s Spring 2000 chapbook contest. A Few Things You Should Know about the Weasel will be published by the Canadian press Biblioasis next year

Everyone is welcome to attend. For further details 087-6431748.

Over The Edge acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Galway City Council.

Article by Kernan Andrews in today's Galway Advertiser

The is an article about 'Down With This Sort of Thing!' - poems in opposition to Ireland's new blasphemy law in today's Galway Advertiser

Send us your poems on the issue to

Saturday, July 25, 2009

2009 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year Competition

Patrick Chapman

sponsored by Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Kelly Office Supplies, Mary Higgins & a generous individual donor who wishes to remain anonymous

In 2009 Over The Edge is continuing its exciting annual creative writing competition. The competition is open to both poets and fiction writers. The total prize money is €1,000. The best fiction entry will win €300. The best poetry entry will win €300. One of these will then be chosen as the overall winner and will receive an additional €400, giving the author total prize money of €700 and the title Over The Edge New Writer of The Year 2009. The 2009 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year will be a Featured Reader at a reading to be scheduled in Galway City Library in Winter 09/10.

Entries should be sent to Over The Edge, New Writer of the Year competition, 3 Carbry Road, Newcastle, Galway, Ireland with an accompanying SAE. Entries will be judged anonymously, so do not put your name on your poem(s) or story. Put your contact details on a separate sheet.

Criteria: fiction of up to three thousand words, three poems of up to forty lines, or one poem of up to one hundred lines. Multiple entries are acceptable but each must be accompanied by a fee. The fee for one entry is €10. The fee for multiple entries is €7.50 per entry e.g. two entries will cost €15, three entries €22.50 and so on. Fee payable by cheque or money order to Over The Edge. To take part you must be at least sixteen years old by September 1st 2009 and not have a book published or accepted for publication in that genre. Chapbooks excepted. Entries must not have been previously published or be currently entered in any other competition.

The closing date is Monday, August 3rd, 2009. A longlist will be announced in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009. A shortlist will be announced at the Over The Edge: Open Reading in Galway City Library on Thursday, August 27th. The winners will be announced at the Over The Edge reading in Galway City Library on Thursday, September 24th, 2009.

This year the competition judge is Patrick Chapman. He is a poet, fiction-writer and screenwriter. His poetry collections are Jazztown, (Raven Arts Press, 1991), The New Pornography (Salmon, 1996), Breaking Hearts and Traffic Lights (Salmon, 2007) and A Shopping Mall on Mars (BlazeVOX, 2008). His fifth collection will appear from Salmon in 2010. He has also written a collection of stories, The Wow Signal (Bluechrome, 2007); Burning the Bed (2003), a multi-award-winning film starring Gina McKee and Aidan Gillen; and an audio play, Doctor Who: Fear of the Daleks (Big Finish, 2007). He lives in Dublin.

For further details contact Over The Edge on 087-6431748 or e-mail

Friday, July 24, 2009

DOWN WITH THIS SORT OF THING! poems in opposition to Ireland's new blasphemy law

Bishop Brennan gets what's coming to him on Father Ted
Send your poems on this theme to and we will publish the best of them here

The Christ of Velasquez by William Wall
for Gerry Murphy

I see a dead man nailed
to a plank
someone knifed him
& stole his shorts

William Wall was born in Cork in 1955. His poetry collections are Mathematics & Other Poems* (Collins Press 1997), which won The Patrick Kavanagh Award and the Listowel Writers’ Week Collection Prize; and Fahrenheit Says Nothing To Me (Dublin, Dedalus Press, 2004). His novels for are Alice Falling (London, Sceptre, 2000/New York, Norton, 2000); Minding Children (Sceptre 2001); The Map of Tenderness (Sceptre, 2002); and This is the Country (Sceptre, 2005), which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize.

Hampshire College Halloween by Susan Millar DuMars
Wearing prom pink with white gloves, I was hypnotised by
my skirt spinning.
Chuck and Mike were lazing on this bench –
the moon was silver.
And Andy walked by, dressed as Jesus in a long white toga, hair wavy
like a midnight ocean.
And he was carrying this crazy cross, big as him, and it was
white in the moonlight.
And Andy said “hey” and we said “hey”, and then Chuck got up
and he was walking behind Andy,
matching step for step.
And I said, “Watcha doin’?” and Chuck said,
“Following Jesus, Dude.”
And we giggled and got in line and then we were all followers of Jesus.
And Jesus led.
And if Jesus drank, we drank; and if Jesus danced, we danced;
and if Jesus did a bong hit,
we praised Jesus,
and did one right after Him. And we fell around giggling
and Jesus giggled too.
And He led us through the silvered night, and we were free;

and no one got nailed to anything.

'Hampshire College Halloween' appears in Susan Millar DuMars poetry collection Big Pink Umbrella (Salmon Poetry, 2008) and will also appear in the Best of Irish Poetry 2010 (Southword Editions).

A Prayer for Monsignor Daly by Dave Lordan

I remember you
The way you strode into our classroom
Your mouth full of tombstones,
Your thin lips full of the grave’s punishments.
Death strode in beside you with a cold wind
And our young limbs stiffened
As we felt the corpse’s grip within ourselves.

One grey afternoon
Or another
You asked us all for news
And I stuck up my hand
And told in all sincerity
How in my room at night
I saw a statue of the Virgin
Filling up with light.

You scowled
And said what I had seen
Was nothing but a childish dream
You said.

I was nine years old and full of talk
And knowing that I had been awake
Knowing it was vision and not dream
Knowing it wasn’t lie or mistake
I told again what I had seen
The truth of light in a plastic queen.

A liar! I was
A blasted little liar’s what you said
And whacked a wooden ruler
Off the back of my head
And whacked again.
A liar! A liar! you said.

I’m still here to peddle dirt
You’re ten years rotting in the ground
Ten years crumbling into earth
I hope you found your mouldy god
But guess you’re mostly in the sod.

Imagination knows no law
Vision’s way cannot be barred
The day after you struck me
I pissed in the churchyard.

Dave Lordan is originally from Clonakilty in West Cork, but now lives in Dublin. His first collection of poems, The Boy In The Ring (Salmon Poetry, 2007), was shortlisted for last year's Irish Times/Poetry Now Award and won the Strong Award for best first collection by an Irish poet.

Last Testament by Kevin Higgins

Whether I leave this world peacefully,
surrounded by respectable nephews
and voluptuous nieces, or go roaring
at four in the morning in the Prison Hospital,
come what may, let no black crow
sit squawking by my bed,
but pin this sign above my head:
“This fucker here does not repent,
would do the same again and worse.”
Yes, when I have gasped my final gasp,
let Satan clap his hands and cry: “At last!”
May I be down below, having
dinner with Tricky Dicky, sharing
dirty jokes with old Al Haig;
before “nice Father What’s-
His-Name” realises I’m gone.

'Last Testament' is taken from Kevin Higgins's poetry collection Time Gentlemen, Please (Salmon Poetry, 2008) 

My Reduction Phalloplasty by Patrick Chapman

 If you can raise a human being from the grave
And cure a leper of his withered limbs;
If you can walk upon the surface of the sea
And change mere drinking water into wine;

If you can whip a pair of haddock and some loaves
Into a picnic for five thousand hungry souls;
If you can put a virgin in the family way
By whispering sweet nothings in her ear –

Possessing such a god-proportioned rod
You don’t intend to put to proper use,
Appears a tad superfluous. That’s why
I let them circumcise me as a boy.

Patrick Chapman is the judge of this year’s Over The Edge New Writer of The Year competition. He is a poet, fiction-writer and screenwriter. His poetry collections are Jazztown, (Raven Arts Press, 1991), The New Pornography (Salmon, 1996), Breaking Hearts and Traffic Lights (Salmon, 2007) and A Shopping Mall on Mars (BlazeVOX, 2008). His fifth collection will appear from Salmon in 2010. He has also written a collection of stories, The Wow Signal (Bluechrome, 2007); Burning the Bed (2003), a multi-award-winning film starring Gina McKee and Aidan Gillen; and an audio play, Doctor Who: Fear of the Daleks (Big Finish, 2007). He lives in Dublin.

The Holy Shrine of Knock by Miceál Kearney

a three ring circus of clowns —
suffering, praying and molesting;
where auld women form the mountains,
cripples and fools
rot their teeth on candy floss
and leave with bottles of cryptosporidium.

Miceal Kearney won the 2006 Cúisle Poetry Slam in Limerick, the 2007 Cúirt Grand Slam, the 2007 North Beach Nights Grand Slam, the 2007 Baffle Bard in Loughrea and also the 2008 In-Sight of Raftery Poetry Grand Slam. Short-listed for the 2007 Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection Award. Doire Press published Inheritance, Miceál’s debut collection last year.

X & Y by Alan Jude Moore

the earth is flat
territories stretched
across canvas maps

no circum needed
all the journeys we take
tracked on the X & Y

the earth is flat
gated by the godly
from the universe outside

all we need to know
marked on the axis
or scripted in a bible

the earth is flat
pounded down our throats
a Ford Motor Corporation
production line

filtered and smoothly run
lives reasoned out
in dollar signs and oil

fractions of security
payments laid away
made down on beauty

the earth is flat
and there is nothing
to be done

only a monkey
would not believe
in the shape of things

and this is the reason
this is the reason

the reason is

Alan Jude Moore was born in Dublin. Two collections of poetry, Black State Cars (2004) & Lost Republics (2008), are published by Salmon Poetry. His third collection, Strasbourg, will be published, also by Salmon, in 2010. His fiction has been twice short-listed for the Hennessy Literary Award for New Irish Writing. His website is

The devil makes work for idle hands by Liam Duffy

The hounds
Were truly
At his door.

In the
And joyless office
He was forced into
An unfortunate
Took his attention,

Drivelling through
Its pages,
The sacred words
Of De Valera,
He found a job
He could do.

Exiting his office
The fruits
Of his labour
Written on tablets
Of stone,
Would be forbidden,

All the hounds
Stopped growling
And tilted
There heads
In honest awe,

Curious of the forces
That led to
The immaculate
Of this idea.

Liam Duffy is from Galway but next month will be going to Finland to attend university there. His poems have appeared in The Shop, Revival and many more. He recently completed the Advance Poetry Workshop at Galway Arts Centre. Liam will be a Featured Reader at the December Over The Edge: Open Reading.

Poem by Patrick Cunningham

Jesus Christ King of the Jews
I wonder has he heard the news ?
Thoughts nailed up for the good of the nation
Surely man’s ideas are also Gods creation.

Patrick Cunningham lives in Galway city. He has never written poetry before and is quite surprised to be included here. Nevertheless he feels strongly opposed to any infringement on freedom of expression and couldn't resist expressing himself.

Proof Reading by PJ Kelly

There is a song a say’s something, as all songs do
Its say’s that Freedom oh freedom is just some people talking
And you give us these empty streets
The latest diet…a diet for our diction
Not allow us to run a mere metaphor over our own tongues
Are we to have more traffic lights and no pedestrians
What next?
Juggling blasphemy and infamy, speaking when spoken to
Chivalry, gate houses, horse drawn carriages
And ours is not to wonder why, just to do or die
The monarchy of monotony
What next?
The contradictory patronage of painters and poets
The prostitution of progress over the progress of prostitution
And capital punishment and for the innocents we lose, we lose
What next?
Are the children soon be seen again and never heard
Are we to suffer our angst on Robben Island
Incarcerated for articulations apartheid
Then freedom oh freedom is talking to just some people

PJ Kelly lives in Salthill, Galway. He works as an engineer and is past the halfway point of life expectancy. He attended the Bish Secondary school in the nineteen eighties and then NUIG, gaining his formative education in all the hours in between and thereafter.

Progress at Last by Paul Casey

Onward Christmas soldiers and deliver unto me
my twenty-five thou-a-head, each disrespectful enemy
Oh yes my faithful ministers, please us, geeeeeez us
Twenty-five and three zeeerus! It's Gaaaaaw dly bizznus!

Next on the local walrus agenda ... for sure
is a well deserved fifty grandly cure
for coveting thy neighbour's car. A hundred Gs
for praising that false god Mammona Monneeey

Ah, for Buddha's sake! Help me please!
Pour Krishna's blessings down upon my knees!
I've never taken the lord thy god's name in vain! Darn!
Coz he's not my god anyway! The holy minister Harn

eee mayez well be for all her vanity. You'd never catch me
hummmin GeeeeeezusMAAAREEEEandjosefff now, would ya, hmmmmm?
There should be a million euro fine for that one, at least!
Let's pay commission for getting homeless drunks to sprout the beast.

Come on, say we can, on camera man,
all make good 'aul civilian arrests
for a change
Medieval-style. Think of the benefits ...

I say we fling all the unemployed in jail
after six months of no working, nail
them with a National Politeness Campaign
and reform those damn blasphemers again!

Paul Casey was born in Cork in 1968. He is the founder and organiser of the weekly Ó'Bhéal poetry readings in Cork. A chapbook of his poems, It's Not All Bad, was published recently by Heaventree Press. Paul will be a Featured Reader at the March 2010 Over The Edge: Open Reading.

Thursday, July 23, 2009



More drunken vocal debauchery in the from of open mic poetry at the Roisin Dubh. New poets, old poets, good poets, bad poets, come one come all.

Guest performers are:

Scott Regan (The Gin Club)

Kevin Higgins

WEDNESDAY, JULY 29th from 8pm

Venue: The Róisín Dubh, Galway

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Westside Arts Festival presents Over The Edge Summer Open-Mic

Over The Edge in association with Westside Arts Festival presents a reading by the Westside Library Writers and the 2009 Over The Edge Summer Open-mic at Westside Library, Seamus Quirke Road on Wednesday, July 22nd from 6.30pm.

The Westside Library Writers, who recently participated in a series of workshops facilitated by Kevin Higgins will read their work. Afterwards the annual Over The Edge Summer Open-Mic will take place. Everyone who has a poem or story to share is most welcome to take part.

The MCs for the evening will be Kevin Higgins & Susan Millar DuMars. All are welcome to attend.

Over The Edge acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Galway City Council.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

'Rhyming Couplet' to be shown at Flat Lake festival

Rhyming Couplet, a short documentary about Galway writers and Over The Edge co-organisers, Susan Millar DuMars and Kevin Higgins, will feature in this year’s Flat Lake Festival.

Rhyming Couplet is directed by Des Kilbane and produced by Laura Cunningham and will be one of a group of short films and documentaries from Ireland and around the world shown in the Flat Lake Cinema Tent from 2pm on Saturday, August 15th.

For the full programme details see

Saturday, July 04, 2009

'Rhyming Couplet' directed by Des Kilbane - Documentary about Over The Edge organisers in Galway Film Fleadh

Rhyming Couplet, a short documentary about Galway writers and Over The Edge co-organisers, Susan Millar DuMars and Kevin Higgins, will feature in this year’s Galway Film Fleadh.

Rhyming Couplet is directed by Des Kilbane and produced by Laura Cunningham.

According to the Galway Film Fleadh programme “Kevin and Susan’s journey together shows that poetry is the language of love.”

Rhyming Couplet will be one of a group of short films shown at the Town Hall Theatre from 10am on Thursday, July 9th. For full programme details see

North Beach Poetry Nights Slam at The Crane Bar MONDAY JULY 13TH

North Beach Poetry Nights presents on Monday July 13th at 9 pm in The Crane Bar, Sea Road, Galway

The North Beach Poetry Nights' July 2009 Slam with Guest Performance Poet: Pamela Brown (from The Poetry Chicks) and Cabaretist Conner Kelly on piano.

The Poetry Chicks have had another busy year and are regular performers on the British and Irish poetry scenes. At the end of June they performed at this year's Glastonbury festival, as well as this year returning to Electric Picnic and Flatlake festival.

Pamela Brown (50% of The Poetry Chicks) is a published poet who has written comedy sketches for radio. She has had two plays produced,one of which was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (1993). Collaborating with the Dutch photographer Jan Voster, her work has been exhibited in Holland and Ireland. She is currently a member of Artists in Creative Enterprise and was a leading facilitator for Wordflight, a prose and poetry project resulting in an anthology by young writers.

Conner Kelly is a 19-year old keyboard virtuoso and cabaretist from Derry, who regularly does support with The Poetry Chicks.
His new album is due for release in 2 weeks' time.

Poets wishing to take part in the 2-Round Slam please bring along
two three-minute poems, preferrably memorized.

The winner of each month's Slam goes forward to the 2009 North Beach Poetry Nights' Grand Slam in December 2009. The prize for the Grand Slam winner is publication of a collection of her/his work.

Admission 5/ 3 Euro.

info: john walsh @ 593290

North Beach Poetry Nights acknowledges the financial support of The Arts Council and Galway City Council.