In Memory of John Coltrane

50 years this week since the death of the great Jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. I tried to capture the impact of hearing him in this poem ‘First Jazz’ from my collection How to Bake a Planet (Salmon Poetry 2016)

First Jazz

Coltrane, cool train

taking vinyl track

with swerve

and verve, hip dip

curve of lip, gravity

bending light

with thumb

and fingertip

on moon

reflecting keys –

take a winding scale from

the black bottom

of a southern swamp

up past a levee camp moan

through a blood red foam

to the cold blue gates of Heaven –

levitate a while…

like a humming bird

a back-beat drumming bird

then deviate

on the A Train

pile back on the coal train,

the engine picking up steam

hear that bell ring

tip your high hat

to the blind engineer,

catch the rattlesnake snare…

then a rumble

and a tumble

and a sudden drop


with a blast so low

you go down

into the molten heat

and heartbeat

of this crazy jive,

where two and two

make five

feeling in this

moment only

you are truly



Cuirt Spoken Word Finalists

Spoken Word Platform-The King's HeadWe have 20 great finalists for the Spoken Word Platform in Cuirt – at 6.30pm this Thursday 27th April in the Kings Head, Galway. Poets & flash fiction presenters will woo a lively audience and three judges to see who will go through to the Cuirt Slam Showcase at Electric Picnic Festival in September. MC Pete Mullineaux & Special guest poet the wonderful Alvy Carragher. This event is always packed out, come early!


Following the launch of the Cuirt Festival 2017 Brochure on Tuesday, the submission window is now open for the ever popular Spoken Word event, to be held on Thursday April 27th at 6.30pm in the Kings Head. The window for submissions closes on April 13th. Entries can be poems or short fiction (up to 3 minutes). Those selected from these submissions will be invited to present their pieces on the day to what is always a very lively but receptive and encouraging audience, as well as 3 judges who will pick three people to go on to take part in the Cuirt Showcase at Electric Picnic in September.

This event is always packed out. There will also be a special guest performer on the day, former winner – Alvy Carragher.

Hard copy entries (or on DVD) can be sent or given in to Galway Arts Centre: 47 Dominick St. Galway, or via email to (same email for queries).

Good luck!

Record Break Cafe reading

Happy New Year Everyone! Delighted to be able to break in the new year with some poetry, prose and song – reading alongside Moya Roddy in the amazing Record Break Cafe in Ennis, this Friday 6th January, with our wonderful host, Sinead Nic Sioda.


I’ve put the launch of How to Bake a Planet back a week to Saturday November 12th, 3pm – to avoid clash with Words Ireland event on the 5th, which I’m sure a lot of Galway writers would like to go to. But still the same venue, (Town Hall Theatre bar) same time, same wonderful Lorna Siggins doing the intro, same howtobakeaplanet-1me! Hope everyone can still make it.