I was recently shown around Cork City by Thomas McCarthy who gave me a glimpse of the influence of Jewtown in Cork today. The first image is a bridge opened by Gerald Goldberg when he was Lord Mayor of Cork City. The second image is the synagogue on South Terrace. Thirdly is David Marcus’ parents’ picture framing shop, which is still open though run by a different family.
I was recently shown around Cork City by Thomas McCarthy who gave me a glimpse of the influence of Jewtown in Cork today. The first image is a bridge opened by Gerald Goldberg when he was Lord Mayor of Cork City. The second image is the synagogue on South Terrace. Thirdly is David Marcus’ parents’ picture framing shop, which is still open though run by a different family.
I was recently shown around Cork City by Thomas McCarthy who gave me a glimpse of the influence of Jewtown in Cork today. The first image is a bridge opened by Gerald Goldberg when he was Lord Mayor of Cork City. The second image is the synagogue on South Terrace. Thirdly is David Marcus’ parents’ picture framing shop, which is still open though run by a different family.

I was recently shown around Cork City by Thomas McCarthy who gave me a glimpse of the influence of Jewtown in Cork today. The first image is a bridge opened by Gerald Goldberg when he was Lord Mayor of Cork City. The second image is the synagogue on South Terrace. Thirdly is David Marcus’ parents’ picture framing shop, which is still open though run by a different family.

Reading at Fusion Café in Wexford Town.

Reading at Fusion Café in Wexford Town.

I now live in a house in front of the River Barrow. I went for a short walk along it yesterday and have spotted some lovely places to write alongside it.
I now live in a house in front of the River Barrow. I went for a short walk along it yesterday and have spotted some lovely places to write alongside it.
I now live in a house in front of the River Barrow. I went for a short walk along it yesterday and have spotted some lovely places to write alongside it.

I now live in a house in front of the River Barrow. I went for a short walk along it yesterday and have spotted some lovely places to write alongside it.

Pictures from the Fermoy International Poetry Festival 2014 Poetry Bus. Yesterday, I spent the day in Fermoy on a poetry bus, a bus full of people who are interested in or write poetry. 
The bus brought us to a number of places outside Fermoy including a ruined priory and Doneraile Gardens. A lovely part of the priory was when poets had the opportunity to read one of their pieces in the setting. The bus finished in a bar in Castletownroche where we listened to two poets read some of their work. 
For me, one of the most interesting things about the day was the number of international poets who read. It was interesting to hear the different styles, particularly the Americans, who are very free with their form but the rhythm is very evident and great to listen to. I was also interested in the number of Americans who really perform their poetry either through small actions or tone of voice.
It was also good to meet up with Gene and Margo Barry, our hosts for the festival. I was sorry not to be able to stay for longer but it sounds like the festival is going to get bigger and bigger every year.
Pictures from the Fermoy International Poetry Festival 2014 Poetry Bus. Yesterday, I spent the day in Fermoy on a poetry bus, a bus full of people who are interested in or write poetry. 
The bus brought us to a number of places outside Fermoy including a ruined priory and Doneraile Gardens. A lovely part of the priory was when poets had the opportunity to read one of their pieces in the setting. The bus finished in a bar in Castletownroche where we listened to two poets read some of their work. 
For me, one of the most interesting things about the day was the number of international poets who read. It was interesting to hear the different styles, particularly the Americans, who are very free with their form but the rhythm is very evident and great to listen to. I was also interested in the number of Americans who really perform their poetry either through small actions or tone of voice.
It was also good to meet up with Gene and Margo Barry, our hosts for the festival. I was sorry not to be able to stay for longer but it sounds like the festival is going to get bigger and bigger every year.
Pictures from the Fermoy International Poetry Festival 2014 Poetry Bus. Yesterday, I spent the day in Fermoy on a poetry bus, a bus full of people who are interested in or write poetry. 
The bus brought us to a number of places outside Fermoy including a ruined priory and Doneraile Gardens. A lovely part of the priory was when poets had the opportunity to read one of their pieces in the setting. The bus finished in a bar in Castletownroche where we listened to two poets read some of their work. 
For me, one of the most interesting things about the day was the number of international poets who read. It was interesting to hear the different styles, particularly the Americans, who are very free with their form but the rhythm is very evident and great to listen to. I was also interested in the number of Americans who really perform their poetry either through small actions or tone of voice.
It was also good to meet up with Gene and Margo Barry, our hosts for the festival. I was sorry not to be able to stay for longer but it sounds like the festival is going to get bigger and bigger every year.
Pictures from the Fermoy International Poetry Festival 2014 Poetry Bus. Yesterday, I spent the day in Fermoy on a poetry bus, a bus full of people who are interested in or write poetry. 
The bus brought us to a number of places outside Fermoy including a ruined priory and Doneraile Gardens. A lovely part of the priory was when poets had the opportunity to read one of their pieces in the setting. The bus finished in a bar in Castletownroche where we listened to two poets read some of their work. 
For me, one of the most interesting things about the day was the number of international poets who read. It was interesting to hear the different styles, particularly the Americans, who are very free with their form but the rhythm is very evident and great to listen to. I was also interested in the number of Americans who really perform their poetry either through small actions or tone of voice.
It was also good to meet up with Gene and Margo Barry, our hosts for the festival. I was sorry not to be able to stay for longer but it sounds like the festival is going to get bigger and bigger every year.
Pictures from the Fermoy International Poetry Festival 2014 Poetry Bus. Yesterday, I spent the day in Fermoy on a poetry bus, a bus full of people who are interested in or write poetry. 
The bus brought us to a number of places outside Fermoy including a ruined priory and Doneraile Gardens. A lovely part of the priory was when poets had the opportunity to read one of their pieces in the setting. The bus finished in a bar in Castletownroche where we listened to two poets read some of their work. 
For me, one of the most interesting things about the day was the number of international poets who read. It was interesting to hear the different styles, particularly the Americans, who are very free with their form but the rhythm is very evident and great to listen to. I was also interested in the number of Americans who really perform their poetry either through small actions or tone of voice.
It was also good to meet up with Gene and Margo Barry, our hosts for the festival. I was sorry not to be able to stay for longer but it sounds like the festival is going to get bigger and bigger every year.

Pictures from the Fermoy International Poetry Festival 2014 Poetry Bus. Yesterday, I spent the day in Fermoy on a poetry bus, a bus full of people who are interested in or write poetry. 

The bus brought us to a number of places outside Fermoy including a ruined priory and Doneraile Gardens. A lovely part of the priory was when poets had the opportunity to read one of their pieces in the setting. The bus finished in a bar in Castletownroche where we listened to two poets read some of their work. 

For me, one of the most interesting things about the day was the number of international poets who read. It was interesting to hear the different styles, particularly the Americans, who are very free with their form but the rhythm is very evident and great to listen to. I was also interested in the number of Americans who really perform their poetry either through small actions or tone of voice.

It was also good to meet up with Gene and Margo Barry, our hosts for the festival. I was sorry not to be able to stay for longer but it sounds like the festival is going to get bigger and bigger every year.

I was delighted that one of my pieces, Six White Candles, was selected for the Blue Max Review 2014. 

I was delighted that one of my pieces, Six White Candles, was selected for the Blue Max Review 2014. 

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.