Not one, but two Cork poetry asides

Sometimes things happen in twos, and the Cork literary scene rose before my consciousness twice in the space of a few short minutes today.

Firstly, as I was pondering getting back into the swing of things with a first blog of the week by flicking through the latest Hennessy Irish Writing Today magazine, which came bundled with the Irish Independent a week or two back, my attention was caught by a photo of two people sitting on a corner couch of a pub with a couple of glasses before them.

Well, it appears to be a pub. Perhaps it’s their sitting room. But it looks like a pub, and I sort of prefer the idea of two world-wise publishers, a husband and wife, convening in a local establishment in rural Cork to discuss poetry.

John and Hilary Wakeman, an English couple who moved to Ireland 16 years ago, are the team behind THE SHOp, a three-times-a-year poetry publication based out of West Cork.

The Wakemans sent Issue 39 abroad earlier this year and Issue 40 should be available before the end of the month if they continue the March-July-November publication pattern which has served them well over the past 13 years.

John and Hilary receive 6000 submissions each year, and around 1% of those go into each issue of THE SHOp. The Summer 2012 edition included a tribute of sorts to the poet Bernard O’Donoghue, including an essay on his poetry by Barney Norris, a new poem by O’Donoghue and a poem for him, written by former Keats-Shelley Prize winner DH Maitreyabandhu, entitled “The Irish Muse”.

If you’d like to become a subscriber to THE SHOp, which is named after the rag-and-bone spot in Yeats’s “The Circus Animals’ Desertion”, you can do so by clicking on the “Contacts” link on the website – you can purchase a subscription online through PayPal.

Secondly, and continuing the Cork theme, my @irishwriting Twitter account received a tweet from Bradshaw Books this afternoon pointing me to an announcement of the winner of the Cork Literary Review Poetry Manuscript Competition.

Similarly to the Wakemans, the winner is also latterly a Cork resident, although the 22 years Annette Skade has lived there should surely be enough to make her an honorary native by now.

Annette Skade’s poetry has appeared in THE SHOp in the past, and she is also a former winner of the Poets meets Painters competition, but this should be a notable milestone given that the prize is the publication of a first collection of poetry by Bradshaw Books in 2013.

Skade’s work, and that of runners-up Jaki McCarrick and Maurice Devitt, will also appear in the next issue of Cork Literary Review in the New Year.

Congratulations to all, including Bradshaw Books for a prize which brings emerging poets into that sweet domain inhabited by “the published”. And feel free to follow in the footsteps of Bradshaw Books by dropping me a line, either here, via email or on the Twitter.