What Next? Writing Poetry and Getting Published

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Celia de Fréine

You can begin to write poetry at any time. Very often those taking pen in hand are referred to as ‘new’ or ‘young’ writers. Such terms can be off-putting. People begin to write when they can no longer resist the urge not to, or when they can find the time to do so. For many this can be after they have raised a family, retired from a demanding job or when domestic arrangements allow. ‘Emerging’ seems to be the best term to describe those who are beginning to grapple with the craft of writing.

Once you’ve begun to write poems: what next? My advice is to join a workshop. A workshop is a good platform for first presenting work and feedback can be helpful. However, it sometimes happens that workshop criticism can be ill-informed and can do more harm than good. But sharing your work with others involved in the business makes more sense than sharing it with a granny or spouse who have no experience of critical analysis. Show it to these when it has been polished – they’re your readers and supporters. Finally, when you’ve found your voice, you will know whether your poem works or not but, even then, a workshop can be a useful forum for testing the waters before reading to a wider audience. A peer group will also provide you with friendship and support; it will enable you to exchange information about writing opportunities and competition details.

Study the market: read poetry journals before submitting your work; check your style of poetry against that favoured by the editor – if s/he likes nature poetry that rhymes and you specialise in free-form urban poetry, don’t waste your paper and postage. Poetry journals such as the Poetry Ireland Review, Cyphers and THE SHOp are a good place to startAs you become more confident, enter competitions, many of which are listed in the Poetry Ireland Newsletter. When you have completed a collection, submit it to a publisher – by then you will be familiar with the main poetry publishers in Ireland and the UK.

About the author

(c) Celia de Fréine 2011

imramscarecrows fiachacabaisti

Celia de Fréine is a poet, playwright and screenwriter who writes in Irish and English. She was born in Newtownards, County Down and moved to Dublin as a child. Retaining strong links with Northern Ireland, she spent most of her summers with her extended family in Donaghadee. She now divides her time between Dublin and Connemara.

Celia has published four collections of poetry: imram : odyssey (Arlen House 2010); Scarecrows at Newtownards (Scotus Press, 2005); Fiacha Fola (Cló Iar-Chonnachta 2004); Faoi Chabáistí is Ríonacha(Cló Iar-Chonnachta 2001). A fifth collection, Aibítir Aoise : Alphabet of an Age, is due from Arlen House in April 2011.

Her poetry has been widely anthologised and translated and has won many awards, including the Patrick Kavanagh Award, the British Comparative Literature Association Translation Award and the Gradam Litríochta Chló Iar-Chonnachta.

Celia’s plays have been widely produced and won many awards. Four of her plays have been awardedDuais an Oireachtais for best full-length play: Anraith NeantóigeCóirín na dTonnTearmann; andMeanmarc. The first three of these plays were published in a collection, entitled Mná Dána, by Arlen House in 2009.

Find out more about her at www.celiadefreine.com or click the button below to listen to her poetry atwww.podcasts.ie

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