The Label, the Map and the Jukebox

The Label

I must admit, I’m a sucker for quirky ways of distributing poetry. There’s something very enjoyable about watching the reaction of the public when they have been unexpectedly exposed to a poem.

Belfast-based, Fermanagh poet Maria McManus is the artistic director of two literary projects that do just this, and I was fortunate to have been involved in both earlier this year.

The most recent- LabelLit – went live on Poetry Day Ireland last month and involved the distribution in public places of over a hundred brightly coloured luggage labels from sixty poets. On each label the poet had written or typed a ‘teaser’ line from one of their poems.

labels group

Whoever found a label was asked to Tweet a photo and, on the first day of the project, the person who found one of mine fluttering at the end of Warrenpoint marina turned out to be the daughter of an old school friend with whom I’d lost contact decades ago. Small world and all that…

The Map

This year LabelLit introduced the Poetry M’App, a feature that enables you to click on a location and listen to a poem inspired by that place. To hear a poet reading his or her work just visit the map below to go directly to the site. Wherever there is a map pin, there is a poem!

Poetry M'App

Two of my poems were included in this project, the first inspired by a stiflingly hot afternoon in the French countryside of Courtemanche, Picardy. ‘Placement Year‘ is also available on Soundcloud. The second, ‘The Island Affair‘, was inspired by a memory of a special time spent on Owey Island, just off the coast of County Donegal.

As an added bonus, participants the LabelLit project received these inspirational words on a luggage label from former Beirut hostage, Brian Keenan, which I will always treasure.

brian keenan label

The Jukebox

“What I knew for sure from the start was that there would be poetry because Ireland and poetry have become collocated in world literature. Think poetry and think Ireland…The actual job of choosing the 20 poems that would be exhibited was tougher than I expected.”

Tade Ipadeola

The second project involved the strange, tube-like contraption that is The Poetry Jukebox. The theme, In a Deeper Country, was inspired by the work of C S Lewis and jointly curated by Maria McManus and Tade Ipadeola, Nigerian poet, essayist, translator and lawyer. On the launch day in Belfast I watched members of the public approach, obviously intrigued by the jukebox which, just like its musical counterpart plays your selection at the press of a button.

Maria McManus has curated several of these installations in Belfast and Dublin and my haibun (prose plus haiku) Finding Narnia was selected for this curation that featured twenty poems from around the world, inspired by the work of CS Lewis.

poetry jukebox

Overlooked by this huge statue of Aslan from Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, the square was the perfect location for the launch of this curation.  Tade Ipadeola maintains a keen interest in all things CS Lewis-related and it was a real honour to have been involved in this amazing project.

Poetry Jukebox is a Quotidian–Word on the Street Ltd Project supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.


Some images from my label distribution day…just because Warrenpoint is such a pretty place to live. 🙂

label blue afternoonlabel bandstand colourlabel fuelled on love lustlabel white washed cottagelabel rockslabel marina.jpglabel shore

Posted in Donegal, Ireland, haibun, haiku, haiku, short form poetry, Warrenpoint, Writing Events | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Latest haiga…


I have added this haiku to my latest painting ‘Dreaming of Donegal’  … in memory of an old friend.

When we still believed copy



Posted in Art, artwork and poetry, Donegal, Ireland, haiga, haiku, Ireland, Oil Painting, Original Irish Art, photo haiku, Places | 2 Comments

Three Drops from a Cauldron – Samhain Issue

Thanks to writer and editor Kate Garrett,  my poetry and artwork feature in this spooky issue of Three Drops from a Cauldron. It’s good to be in the company of such fine writers and artists at Halloween.

Thanks also to editors Chase Gagnon and Lori A Minor who selected my featured haibun Rejuvenation Spell as runner up in their Halloween contest last year in  Scryptic – Magazine of Alternative Art.




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Familiar face

Below is a haiga, in this case a combination of a senryu and photograph, in response to a writing prompt on Creative Writing Ink

familiar face

Posted in Creative Ink Prompt Competition, Creative Writing Ink, haiga, photo haiku, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 6 Comments

More than just music at the Fiddler’s Green festival


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Posted in artwork and poetry, Fiddler's Green Festival, haibun, haiku, Mountains of Mourne, My Poetry, Oil Painting, Original Irish Art, Rostrevor | Tagged | 2 Comments

Daily Haiku: June 7, 2018

Thanks to Charlotte Digregorio for featuring this one from ‘tinywords’ on Daily Haiku today…

Charlotte Digregorio's Writer's Blog

on the mend . . .
this long afternoon
stitched by swallows

by MarionClarke  (Northern Ireland)
tinywords, Issue 17.1, May 31, 2017

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Published this week on the Africa Haiku Network …

soft rain african haiku network


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EarthRise Rolling

The Haiku Foundation’s EarthRise Rolling Haiku Collaboration with the theme ‘Year of the Bird’  received a record 779 responses this year – that’s 779 breathtaking, poignant, humorous and beautiful haiku.

I have a few in there. Once I started, it was difficult to stop as there were so many inspiring poems!



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When wildflowers aren’t wildflowers …

, Well done to Paul T. Corrigan, whose poem I selected as winner of Rattle Poetry “Artist’s Choice Award” in their recent Ekphrastic Challenge.

A detail from a cottage scene in the Mourne Mountains here in Northern Ireland was the visual prompt for March. I won’t spoil the surprise, but Paul’s poem Wildflowers refers to something quite far removed from the idyllic scene depicted in the landscape (a painting commission I undertook some years ago for an old lady who grew up in such a dwelling.)

I have just realised that Paul has won the Ekphrastic Challenge before, so double congratulations are due.

Oh, and just listen to the recording of his poem!



Well done to Marietta McGregor who was winner of the “Editor’s Choice Award” the following week with her wonderful haibun, The Visitant.

You can also listen to her recording here.


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Greetings from the east coast! A couple of haiga from these parts…

For those unfamiliar with this term, a haiga is a combination of short form poetry such as haiku or tanka and artwork.

Welcome to those of you who are visiting this blog via Rattle Poetry. I look forward to reading your poetry submissions.



The first of my oil paintings is of the keep at Narrow Water castle here in Warrenpoint. It was used as an illustration in an article I wrote about this coast for a travel site. The second is Haulbowline lighthouse from the beach at Cranfield, further along the coast.



Posted in Art, artwork and poetry, haiga, haiku, Narrow Water Keep, Oil Painting, Original Irish Art, Warrenpoint | 4 Comments