Clogrennan Woods, Carlow. (http://www.irishtrails.ie/Trail/Clogrennane-Wood-Loop/396/) Lovely picnic table and weirdly good 4G reception for tethering. If you can ignore the factory noise next door and find a rainless day, it’s a good place to go.
Clogrennan Woods, Carlow. (http://www.irishtrails.ie/Trail/Clogrennane-Wood-Loop/396/) Lovely picnic table and weirdly good 4G reception for tethering. If you can ignore the factory noise next door and find a rainless day, it’s a good place to go.

Clogrennan Woods, Carlow. (http://www.irishtrails.ie/Trail/Clogrennane-Wood-Loop/396/) Lovely picnic table and weirdly good 4G reception for tethering. If you can ignore the factory noise next door and find a rainless day, it’s a good place to go.

A nice place to write. This is the tea rooms in Huntington Castle in Clonegal. 

A nice place to write. This is the tea rooms in Huntington Castle in Clonegal. 

A good review of the week at Listowel. 

The Carlow Writers’ Cooperative’s latest reading was part of the Summer Nights event in Visual, the brilliant art space in Carlow Town. Our group read in the Links Gallery.

The Carlow Writers’ Cooperative’s latest reading was part of the Summer Nights event in Visual, the brilliant art space in Carlow Town. Our group read in the Links Gallery.

My three poems were published in the Review section of the Irish Independent yesterday and you can read them there. I’m also copying and pasting them here in case the Independent goes into receivership..

These poems are from a series based on a group of Jewish people who moved from Lithuania in the late 19th Century to Cork. They lived in an area that became known as Jewtown - by Simon Lewis

THE ZOO, CORK, 1881

At Mass, we heard of aliens

who travelled here by steamboat.

People said they all had beards,

darkened faces and black clothes;

some complained they didn’t pray to our Lady.

We were curious,

Took to Albert Road to see.

We joined the crowds

to get a glimpse, called out

when we saw one pass.

They looked up at us, nodded,

went on their way. A little one

stuck out his tongue

and all the crowd laughed

stuck their tongues out too

until his father pulled him back.

He smiled, apologetically,

but his eyes looked sorrier

than any beast I’d ever seen

and I knew these streets

by the railroad and markets

held people just like me

and when Father Kerr arrived

he shooed us off like animals.

Creosote

On my knees, like Christians, I’m praying

I’ll get a break today. There’s no lack

of chairs, tables, cabinets in this factory, churned out

for me to stain in the colour Manning shouts at me.

Every bit of me, my hair, body, clothes,

shoes, pillows, bedsheets are coloured

mahogany, walnut, cherry. Rivkeh knows

if I’ve been painting with maple or ebony,

says they all smell different. It doesn’t matter

what she cooks for dinner, it all tastes

of turpentine and she no longer touches me

the way she did before, just jabs at the browns

asking where each one came from.

Tomorrow, I’ll sweat again until the finish.

Two sisters

Sarah sits behind the counter,

as usual, sold out of spuds;

knows if she sells them cheaper

they’ll also buy their bread, milk, butter

and she knows the men come in to stare

at her bare neck when she turns

to get their ale so, she’s learned to say

"a weight of tatties" in her Russian accent

and they laugh, flash a guilty glance,

and tell her to keep the change.

Her sister sits beside the fire,

stitching pieces of satin together

to make dresses for the wives

of men that Sarah sends to her.

Simon Lewis is from Dublin and has been living in Carlow for the last 10 years, where he works as a primary school principal.

He is a member of the Carlow Writers’ Cooperative, a local writing group, and has been published in a number of magazines, such as Boyne Berries, Silver Apples and the Irish Literary Review.

He was recently shortlisted for the Listowel Poetry Collection prize and is currently working on his first collection of poems, based on immigration and survival.

Published in New Irish Writing in Irish Independent today.

Published in New Irish Writing in Irish Independent today.

Ruth Padel was busy at the Festival of Writing and Ideas in Borris House today. Here are some images of her speaking with Gemma Davey at one event and reading from her latest work (also pictured).
Ruth Padel was busy at the Festival of Writing and Ideas in Borris House today. Here are some images of her speaking with Gemma Davey at one event and reading from her latest work (also pictured).
Ruth Padel was busy at the Festival of Writing and Ideas in Borris House today. Here are some images of her speaking with Gemma Davey at one event and reading from her latest work (also pictured).
Ruth Padel was busy at the Festival of Writing and Ideas in Borris House today. Here are some images of her speaking with Gemma Davey at one event and reading from her latest work (also pictured).

Ruth Padel was busy at the Festival of Writing and Ideas in Borris House today. Here are some images of her speaking with Gemma Davey at one event and reading from her latest work (also pictured).

Come along for some poetry and stories from @carlowwriters at Visual Theatre Carlow

Come along for some poetry and stories from @carlowwriters at Visual Theatre Carlow

It’s a picture of me reading again. This time, I was reading at the Carlow Arts Festival with the Carlow Writers’ Cooperative. The show was recorded by KCLR and will be podcasted this weekend. I hope I’ll be able to upload the audio here. 
The evening featured 12 writers who performed all sorts of writing including poetry, short stories and drama. I performed 4 poems based on a typical Irish childhood with a Jewish twist. They cover a Jewish grandmother, an innocent(?) classroom game, secrets and learning about the Holocaust. We had some excellent musical accompaniment from David Ayres and Ken Nolan, who played straight after me as I probably depressed everyone!

It’s a picture of me reading again. This time, I was reading at the Carlow Arts Festival with the Carlow Writers’ Cooperative. The show was recorded by KCLR and will be podcasted this weekend. I hope I’ll be able to upload the audio here. 

The evening featured 12 writers who performed all sorts of writing including poetry, short stories and drama. I performed 4 poems based on a typical Irish childhood with a Jewish twist. They cover a Jewish grandmother, an innocent(?) classroom game, secrets and learning about the Holocaust. We had some excellent musical accompaniment from David Ayres and Ken Nolan, who played straight after me as I probably depressed everyone!

The annoying thing about this coffee shop / art space in Carlow is that it is a pop-up shop for the Carlow Arts Festival and it will be gone in a week. After that, this fantastic space will be closed for another year when we desperately need a decent independent café.

The annoying thing about this coffee shop / art space in Carlow is that it is a pop-up shop for the Carlow Arts Festival and it will be gone in a week. After that, this fantastic space will be closed for another year when we desperately need a decent independent café.