BERLIN – Ivan Ilić – Reicha Rediscovered Vol 2 – Piano Salon Christophori – 20/09/2018


Contemplating the Muse

No 18

Linda Ibbotson

From grandeur to graffiti, bohemian Berlin’s creative vibe is its raison d’etre.

Thrilled to revisit for Ivan Ilić’s wonderful concert and CD launch Reicha  Rediscovered Vol 2 which particularly focuses on counterpoint and fugue. Chandos Records.

You can be forgiven in thinking from the outside the Piano Salon Christophori is simply another urban warehouse.  In fact, the former tram depot is now transformed into an  eclectic antique piano restoration workshop with a Bohemian sensibility and is one of Berlin’s most revered intimate classical music venues located in the Wedding district, run by neurologist Christoph Schreiber founder, director and piano restorer!

Pianist Ivan Ilić earned degrees in mathematics and music at the University of California Berkeley before moving to Paris on a university fellowship. He then studied at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris, where he took a Premier Prix. The City of Paris sponsored his first recording.
Early career highlights included recitals at Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Ireland’s National Concert Hall, Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio, and the American Academy in Rome. He recently gave recital débuts in Vienna, Sao Paulo and Geneva.


Exciting news – Ivan has been appointed Musician in Residence at Ulster University   for 2018-2021

Ivan’s website –


Seductive light from chandeliers and scattered lamps illuminate a cornucopia of pianistic delights! A beautiful Bösendorfer sits aplomb a piano shaped stage. Parts patiently waiting to be assembled are the accoutrements of these industrial walls.

Piano Salon Christophori website –


To complement his Reicha Rediscovered CD series for Chandos Ivan recently filmed a 4-part documentary series about Antoine Reicha which he wrote and presented.

 NO-TE productions.

 1 Berlin –

 2 Bonn –

3 Hamburg –

4 Vienna –



A review in the NEW YORK TIMES


BBC Music, November 2018 issue.
★★★★★ Performance / ★★★★★ Recording
“Reicha’s music has the best possible advocate”


Track samples and purchase –


Who is Reicha you may be asking?

Czech composer Antoine Reicha (1770 – 1836) Born in Prague. After the death of his father he was adopted by his Aunt and Uncle who was a virtuoso cellist, conductor and composer, and moved with them to Bonn when he was 15 years old.  In Bonn, Antoine played violin and  flute in the court chapel, alongside another young gentleman, also born in 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven. Living in Hamburg, Leipzig, Vienna and Paris he was a teacher of  accomplished musicians of the day  including Liszt, Gounod, Berlioz and César Franck.  In Paris he was appointed a professor at the Paris Conservatory. He was also an accomplished theorist and wrote several treatises on composition. Some of his theoretical work dealt with experimental methods which he applied in a variety of works such as fugues and etudes for piano and string quartets. Until now much of his music was left unpublished in France’s National Library.

Here, thanks to Ivan Ilić we glimpse through a portal into the life and works of this innovative composer –


 A theatrical assemblage in blue, the perfect backdrop!



Christoph Schreiber, founder, director, also a neurologist whose passion to restore antique piano’s has created this magnificent artsy eclectic space for classical music concerts. It is a non profit venue and there is an honesty jar for cd and ticket purchase price.


Ivan plays with clarity and sensitivity, powerful and yet gentle at the same time which I find rare and expresses an enthusiasm for research that is contagious!  This CD is exceptional from the first haunting track; Étude, Op 97 No 1 to the finale and it is extremely refreshing to hear these phenomenal little known compositions.

The concert programme – Haydn Sonata in C major Hob XVI:50 – Reicha 4 Etudes – Satie 3 Gymnopédies, 4 Gnossiennes – Grieg 11 Lyric pieces

A very attentive and appreciative audience as the concert drew to a close.





Much appreciation to Ivan for the time spent after the concert for me to take photographs.





Reminiscent of an Edward Hopper painting, a photo taken during the interval.

There is much to be said for a sense of adventure. As Reicha explored with ambition and tenacity new avenues of composition,  at times ahead of his contemporaries, so too let us flourish as we embrace each new day with passion and enthusiasm.

Thank you to Christoph Schreiber for his hard work and dedication, to Ivan Ilić for bringing to our ears exciting unknown compositions and to you all for joining me here at the Piano Salon Christophori, Berlin.  Naturally, I feel inevitably compelled to return Until then, I will listen to Ivan Ilićs wonderful CD and reminisce.


Hotel Henri









Further Links –

France Musique –







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Swiss Alps: Maison Bergdorf – Mountains – Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn

Contemplating the Muse

No. 18

Linda Ibbotson


“It must be a sign of talent that I do not give up, though I can get nobody to take an interest in my efforts.” Fanny Mendelssohn.

Harder Kulm

Interlaken from Harder Kulm

There are times we need to clear the head and no better place than the mountain air. I stayed in a magnificent 1897, wisteria clad, wooden Swiss chalet Maison Bergdorf  Boutique Guesthouse in a quiet location in the centre of Interlaken as recommended by ELLE UK, TRAUMHAUS, etc and myself, owned by a dynamic duo Stéphane Houlmann – arts enthusiast and interior designer and Mirko Beetschen – journalist and writer. It is a recently renovated creative idyll, an eclectic mix of contemporary and period art and design as well as home comforts. It was wonderful to meet host Bea who has a love of vintage  motorbikes and India! Perfect!






It was fascinating to discover that Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)  German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early romantic period had visited this region on several occasions, painting, sketching and composing He is known particularly for  Symphony No.1 in C Major for full orchestra, written in 1824 when Mendelssohn was aged 15, Wedding March, Fingals Cave, Songs Without Words (Lieder ohne Worte)etc. Interestingly, he was an accomplished mountaineer in addition to being educated in art, literature, languages, and philosophy! He corresponded regularly while on his travels in Italy and Switzerland to his family sending sketches and snippets of his new compositions. In one of his letters penned in 1842 to his elder sister Fanny he wrote  “The scenery around Interlaken,” then a village was “the finest of all in this unbelievably beautiful country.”



Lauterbrunnen sits prettily in the valley of 72 waterfalls, Lake Thun ( Spiez ) and the mountain range Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch

Felix and Fanny were born to a prominent and affluent family in Hamburg, who in 1811 moved to Berlin where the family home was established as a fashionable music salon Sonntagsmusiken. Concerts were organised (ultimately by Fanny) and held for nearly a quarter of a century at the glass domed garden hall at Recksches Palais, Leipziger Strasse. With a bohemian sensibility it was frequented by artists, musicians and scientists such as Goethe, Paganini,  Liszt, Clara and Robert Schumann and the Humboldt brothers. The musician Sarah Rothenburg wrote “Europe came to their living room.” Considered child prodigies they initially studied music with their mother who had trained in the Berliner-Bach tradition, then with Marie Bigot in Paris, Ludwig Berger and composition with Carl Friedrich Zelter in Berlin. Felix set several of Gothe’s poems to music.

It is the story of Fanny that I found particularly both intriguing and heartbreaking.

Fanny Mendelssohn (1805-1847) was indeed a virtuoso, passionate about music, could, at age 14 play all 24 Preludes from Bach’s The Well Tempered Clavier by heart and was an accomplished pianist and composer of more than 400 works including, piano and organ pieces, chamber music, cantatas, dramatic scenes, an oratorio and an orchestral overture. At  age 22, less than a year after Beethoven had died she wrote a magnificent energetic piano sonata! This manuscript of the majestic Easter Sonata was miraculously discovered in a Parisian bookshop in 1970! It premiered in her name on September 7th 2012, played by Andrea Lam and received a second performance by Sofya Gulyak on March 8th 2017 for BBC Radio 3. It was the second sonata composed by Fanny Mendelssohn and was completed in 1828 and had incorrectly initially been attributed to Felix as composer.

In 1829 after a period of five years, enforced by the family to have no contact with Wilhelm, Fanny finally married the artistic Prussian court painter Wilhelm Hensel  who had subsequently been awarded a fellowship by the Prussian King to study in Rome. He was extremely encouraging and supportive to her work and they formed a creative collaboration, bringing music and drawing together on the page.



The following year she had her only child, Sebastian. Now, financially independent, in 1839/40 the family embarked on a much longed for Italian journey of discovery. Writers and recollections such as Goethe’s Italian Journey and Wilhelm Müller’s Rom, Römer und Römerinnen, fuelled her desire. Her travel experiences greatly impacted upon her and inspired her to write a 12  part piano suite, Das Jahr, portraying the 12 months of the year, each written on colored paper, illustrated by William with attached poems and is considered one of the greatest of the unheralded piano suites of the nineteenth century. In addition, she kept a travel diary and corresponded regularly with her family. They visited Padua, Verona, Florence and Venice, admiring masterpieces by artists such as Tintoretto and Titian. Her time in Rome and the invitation to Villa Medici, by the famous French painter Ingres (1780-1847) was an invigorating, joyful experience in her life, particularly the intellectually stimulating musical soirée’s as recorded in her diaries, returning to Berlin feeling liberated, with renewed confidence and fortitude.

It was whilst they were in Rome, they met Charles Gounod who became a firm friend and who clearly had great respect and admiration for Fanny, both as a person and as a musician. From Gounod’s memoirs here is an extract;  “Madame Henzel  was a first rate musician − a very clever pianiste, physically small and delicate, but her deep eyes and eager glance betrayed an active mind and restless energy. She had rare powers of composition, and many of the “Songs without Words” published among the works and under the name of her brother were hers. Thanks to her great gifts and wonderful memory, I made the acquaintance of various masterpieces of German music which I have never heard before, among them a number of the works of Sebastian Bach − sonatas, fugues, preludes and concertos − and many of Mendelssohn’s compositions, which were like a glimpse of a new world to me.” 

More about her Italian adventures from her diary and letters

Felix and Fanny had a close personal and musical relationship and he valued and trusted her educated opinion, even publishing some of her songs in his name. One in particular Queen Victoria loved, published in Felix’s name was written by Fanny. However, as Felix’s career developed, despite her ambition, Fanny was limited by convention, restraint and prevailing attitudes toward women at that historic time. Although encouraged and respected as a composer she was restricted to the confines of performing recitals at the Salon as family opposition prevented her being published in her own name, reminding her that her domestic life should be her priority. Her father wrote to her in 1820 “Music will perhaps become his [i.e. Felix’s] profession, while for you it can and must be only an ornament.

Thankfully, she defied this by being published in 1846.

“Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see, but it is impossible.” Magritte, 1965

 I admire her strength and tenacity as she continued composing, (even after nursing her family struck with cholera) despite the imposed restrictions. She doubtless felt frustration and sadness at times. Thankfully, her ‘hidden’ work is being bought to the fore now, recorded and performed and given the due credit and respect it deserves. Tragically and ironically, Fanny Hensel died in Berlin in 1847 of a fatal stroke suffered while rehearsing one of her brother’s oratorio’s. Grief stricken, Felix, six months later also died of the same cause. Earlier that day she had set to music a lyric poem by Eichendorff, the final words being ‘Thought and song fly way into the heavens

Both are buried in Berlin, however, their legacy lives on, in music and in hearts.

It is refreshing to hear compositions little known and a beautiful, wistful composition by Fanny is shown in the links below and to me epitomizes sadness, juxtaposed with hope. Attacca Quartet plays Fanny Mendelssohn String Quartet — First Movement.

Let us not be discouraged in our creative life and continue our personal journey with fortitude despite difficulties we may encounter. Thank you for taking the time to read













Fanny Mendelssohn – Piano Sonata G minor – Allegro molto agitato –    

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Poetry Guest Interview – Irish writer Kerrie O’Brien

Contemplating the Muse

No. 17

Linda Ibbotson

Thomas Merton. “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”


With the onset of Spring I recall visiting Paris in April 2017 to walk in the footsteps of artists and writers such as Hemingway, Proust and Chagall. I was welcomed by a resplendent palette of color; delicate deep pink cherry blossoms, horse chestnuts and the ancient lilac wisteria clambouring the walls of Aux Vieux Paris d’Arcole, complementing the blue paintwork and purple chairs that tempt you to stay awhile, to sip wine and wait to hear the bells of nearby Notre Dame.

I am delighted to interview the wonderful Irish writer Kerrie O’Brien who has spent much time in Paris, the City of Light. Her collection Illuminate published by Salmon Poetry was chosen among the 2016 Books of the Year by The New Statesman The Irish Times and The Irish Independent. She is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards and is widely published, including; The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner and featured in Irisi, Cara, RTE Arena, Sunday Miscellany and The RTE Bookshow.

I met Kerrie at her poetry reading during the Cork International Poetry Festival 2017. Her skillful, succinct poetic style, her themes, sensitivity and insight of the human condition with its strengths and frailties, her love for Paris and devotion to the arts resonated with me. It is as if she paints words with color.

BIO Kerrie O’ Brien is a poet from Dublin. Her debut collection of poetry Illuminate was published by Salmon Poetry in October 2016 and was made possible by a Literature Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland. She was the editor of Looking At The Stars, a limited edition anthology of Irish writing which raised over €21,000 for homelessness in Dublin. She holds a BA in History of Art and Classics from Trinity College Dublin.

Website –  



1  Tell us about yourself. 

I’m from Dublin. I was born in Kingswood, Tallaght and went to school in Terenure. I didn’t start writing poetry in a serious way until college and it wasn’t until my final year that I had the courage to submit my work to journals. In 2010 I started volunteering in the Irish Writers’ Centre which meant I could do courses there for free and I began going to the open mic nights in Dublin like Glor Sessions and Nighthawks and discovered the thriving literary scene that still exists here. I brought out a chapbook with Lapwing called Out of the Blueness in 2011 and was lucky enough to win some awards and arts grants but by 2015 I was working full time in Hodges Figgis and had abandoned writing. Then I broke my foot which forced me to be at home for six months and that’s when I finally wrote Illuminate and rediscovered my love of creativity. In 2016 myself and Alice Kinsella created a limited edition anthology of writing called Looking at the Stars which raised over  E21,000 for the Dublin Simon Community.

2  What took you to Paris? 

I spent six weeks in Paris in 2012. I wanted to go somewhere new to live on my own and write and that’s when I properly fell in love with the city. One of my best friends from college lives there so I go over as often as I can. I spent another month there in May 2016 just after I finished Illuminate and in August 2017 I was awarded a language bursary from the Centre Culturel Irlandais and I got to spend five weeks there with an incredible group of people. I think I’ll probably end up living there. I’ve spent more time in Paris that any other city outside of Dublin.

3  Like me you have a penchant for the café culture. What is your favorite café / Parisian haunt?

There are literally hundreds. Shakespeare and Co have a beautiful little cafe that looks onto Notre Dame. It’s a great place to sit and write and watch the world go by. The top floor of the Pompidou has a restaurant with a panoramic view of Paris and it’s magical at night. Every street in Paris will have a beautiful old independent bistro and I find it a much slower way of life – people aren’t on their smartphones as much – it’s why I love spending time there so much. 

4  What motivates you to write and which writer’s have influenced your poetic style.

When I was sixteen I got a book of photography by Nan Goldin and in it was a poem by Sharon Olds called The Promise. I didn’t know poems like that existed. There’s a beauty and vulnerability to her work that I connected to. When I went to Trinity I had access to the library and so I was able to explore poetry in depth. Apart from Olds, Plath and Anne Sexton the accessible but beautiful conversational style of Frank O’ Hara’s Lunch Poems had a huge influence on me as did the stark depictions of grief in Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes. These are two collections that I still go back to again and again.

Feature in Cara Magazine, June 2017

5  I am interested to hear about your writing process both poetry and fiction.

For me they are completely different. I always write my poems by hand. They will usually start with a line or a concept that I want to flesh out and explore and see where it takes me. It can take months and I’ve never been able to force my self sit down and bang out a new poem. It takes a while for the ideas to come together, to discover what voice is trying to emerge in the work. I find poetry extremely difficult because I’m usually writing about something emotional and there’s probably a sort of psychological healing going on. With fiction I always write directly onto a laptop and it’s much more dependent on daily word counts and fictional scenarios – to me my fiction reads in an entirely different tone and pace to my poetry.

6  As an artist do you find the process of painting similar to that of writing?

Again for me they are completely different forms of expression! I find painting much more spontaneous and enjoyable – I feel happy and energetic after a day of painting where as writing exhausts me. I find the same thrill with photography which is perhaps because I’m looking outwards rather than inwards. But I ultimately find poetry the most fulfilling art form. I spent a lot of last year touring and reading Illuminate. I felt proud of the work and found that the poems really do resonate with people on an emotional level. Some of my poems have been used at weddings and funerals. The fact that my words can touch other peoples lives like that is incredibly rewarding. At the moment I’m more focussed on my photography and exhibitions but I can already feel the second collection of poems coming to the surface. I’ve been lucky enough to get recent commissions for both my photography and writing which is almost miraculous so I look forward to seeing where the year ahead will take me.

 7  What are your favorite lines from one of your poems?


Probably the last lines of Illuminate –


I want my spirit to go out

Like a laughing child

Running though the fields

And all along the white sands of the sea

Ready for anything



Three poems from Illuminate :-



They found him

Hunched over a

White sink

All his beauty let out.


I think of him in his studio

East Hampton 1964

Wooden beams


Concrete floor


Sitting back in a dark green chair

Head tilted, cigarette in hand

Peering at his creation

Layers and pain

Towering before him

Lost to it,


One mere man

What he gave


I see him with wings


Immersed in his

Low lit hush

Portals expanding

Crimson lilac

Burnt orange, greys


Weighted hum

Solemn yet violent


Fire, heart


Spilling out


So close and strange

People weep


Sacred –


What we do to each other

And give

Without knowing.



Morning Sun


The bed faced the window


So I would wake to brightness

Stretch in its warmth


And contemplate the rooftops

Of the city.


I felt like one of Hopper’s

Solitary women

Rose pale, dappled gold


Made of light and shadow.


Miss you, try not to

Know you felt it


Same mind, blue threads

The red tether

The hunger.


Shiver in the memory

Then bathe


Gentle with my body


Watch the steam

Rise and swirl


And float


My heart softly

Expanding –


The room

Full of bright cloud.






For one month only
To keep tradition

Every January
His bluegreen waters,
And apricot skies

A whole life chasing light

You wonder
Will they still do this
A thousand years from now

Or will everything eventually
Be forgotten.

And once –
A different presence in the room

A figure
Thin and distracting

Elegant as a heron
Lilac and grey

It was Le Brocquy

Standing otherworldly
In a Venice sunset

The last time he would see them
And I wonder did he sense it

Transfixed by their glow

As when they first discovered
Fire gold fire oh

How they must have trembled
At the beauty

Many thanks Kerrie for a inspirational insight into your artistic and literary life.
May we all strive to weave color into the backbone of our lives, to find and lose ourselves in the beauty of the arts, to contemplate rather than procrastinate, to experiment, to flourish and create our own masterpiece.
Thank you to all the readers for joining me here and look forward to next time.
Linda at Cobh Railway station 2
Links – Poetry video’s of Kerrie reading two of her poems.



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Venice – Art, Architecture and Ivan Ilić ‘Reicha Rediscovered’

Contemplating the Muse 

No. 16

Linda Ibbotson

“When I seek another word for ‘music’, I never find any other word than ‘Venice’.” Friedrich Nietzsche.

When pianist Ivan Ilić announced his cd  ‘Reicha Rediscovered’  was to be launched in Venice on 28/09/2017 at the magnificently restored Palazzetto Bru Zane, (Centre de Musique Romantique Française, San Polo)  it was the catalyst that awakened my desire to attend this wonderful momentous occasion and to rediscover Venice!


Grand Canal

Venice,  the name derived from Venetti, the people who inhabited the region by the 10th century BC. Also known as La Serenissima, Venice is shaped like a fish, 118 small islands spanned by over 400 named bridges and resembles a theatre of stone!  The banks of the Grand Canal are lined with more than 170 buildings, most of which date from the 13th to the 18th century, and demonstrate the welfare and art created by the Republic of Venice.


‘Reicha Rediscovered’ – CD Launch – Palazzetto Bru Zane




Pianist Ivan Ilić earned degrees in mathematics and music at the University of California Berkeley before moving to Paris on a university fellowship. He then studied at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris, where he took a Premier Prix. The City of Paris sponsored his first recording. Early career highlights included recitals at Carnegie HallWigmore Hall, Ireland’s National Concert Hall, Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio, and the American Academy in Rome.

Link to Ivan’s website –

‘Reicha Rediscovered’  is the first cd in a forthcoming series by Ivan and is released by Chandos; one of the world’s premiere classical record companies, produced by Swiss National Radio and supported by the Palazzetto Bru Zane.  Antoine Reicha was a contemporary of Beethoven and many of his compositions unpublished, stored in France’s National Library.

**Episode one released May 2018 of a four part video documentary series about Antoine Reicha’s life and work ( a contemporary and friend of Beethoven.)  Brilliant accomplishment, informative, filmed with photographic finesse!  Available on Apple Music, and You Tube, a new collaboration with Chandos Records.…/reicha…/1376888587

Ivan Ilić’s  essay in International Piano regarding Reicha and his compositions –


Palazzetto Bru Zane

In 1695, Marino Zane (1639–1709) commissioned the construction of a library and a casino (now the Palazzetto) next to the residence of the family Zane, the Palazzo Zane Collalto. It was intended to house his collection of books and paintings and to serve as a venue for music and arts.  The architect Antonio Gaspari was responsible for the interior decoration of the casino, owned by the Zane family.

In 2006 the Fondation Bru bought the Casino and is now a music venue, meticulously restored with sixteen rooms, the pièce de résistance; a double height concert room with ornate wooden balustrade and coved ceiling decorated with paintings incorporating Hercules and Olympian Gods. There are also frescoes by Sebastiano Ricci and stuccowork by Abbondio Stazio.





Mosaic flooring and Murano glass wall lights (that, to me resemble hands) at     Palazzetto Bru Zane


It was a magnificent concert! Expressive Reicha compositions played beautifully by Ivan! The majestic and delicate played with incredible precision and passion!  The concert was simultaneously broadcast on Venice Classic Radio and Bru Zane Radio! Especially adore Grande Sonate in C Major and Etude Op. 97 No. 1.





Flora in Vitro Glass flower exhibition – Georg Ragner Levi at Palazzetto Bru Zane

 Rialto and San Marco


Lorenzo Quinn’s giant hands of Support at Ca’ Sagredo Hotel.

Hands seem to play an intrinsic part of my Venetian experience! Ivan’s skilled pianistic hands, Murano glass wall lights at Palazzetto Bru Zane that resemble hands to Lorenzo Quinn’s  sculpture ‘Support,’ giant hands emerging from the Grand Canal!

Visually, Venice is a masterpiece! From the ancient splendour of Baroque, Byzantine and Moorish influenced Gothic architecture, particularly in the Chiesa’s (churches), the delicate Murano artisan glass chandeliers, the prodigious work of Renaissance artists such as Carpaccio, Titian and Tintoretto, influenced by light and play of light on water (a legacy to European art) to the contemporary Venice Biennale spectacularly captured in 2017 by Lorenzo Quinn’s giant hands of Support at Ca’ Sagredo Hotel.


Rialto Bridge

Beautiful architecture of the Rialto Bridge, completed in 1591, the oldest of four spanning the Grand Canal. During the first half of the 15th century, two rows of shops were built along the sides of the bridge and is still today, a thriving market area.


Rialto, a thriving market area


Me. The principal façade of Ca’ d’Oro in the background.

Ca’ d’Oro is built in the Bon’s Venetian floral Gothic style. Other nearby buildings in this style are Palazzo Barbaro and the Palazzo Giustinian. This linear style favoured by the Venetian architects was not totally superseded by the Baroque one until the end of the 16th century.


Rialto Market

                                                             San Marco


After viewing the impressive Piazza San Marco, Doges Palace, the glorious St Mark’s Basilica; one of the best known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture, paradoxically, the only way to find Venice is to lose yourself in the labyrinth of decay and splendour.




Campanile  San Marco

The tower is 98.6 metres (323 ft) tall, and stands alone in a corner of St Mark’s Square, near the front of the basilica. It has a simple form, the bulk of which is a fluted brick square shaft. Each of the five bells of the campanile had a special purpose.

The Renghiera (or the Maleficio) announced executions; the Mezza Terza  proclaimed a session of the Senate; the Nona sounded midday; the Trottiera called members of the Maggior Consiglio to council meetings and the Marangona, the biggest, rang to mark the beginning and ending of working day. They are tuned to the key of A Major.



The Labyrinth






Caffè Florian                  


Antoine Reicha’s expressive composition Etude No. 1 beautifully played by Ivan Ilić from ‘Reicha Rediscovered’ haunts my mind…..


You will discover timeless haunts such as Caffè Florian an art noveau haunt famous for its delicious hot chocolate and plethora of artists, musicians and writers; Byron, Verdi, Hemmingway, Modigliani to name a few. The Florian opened with two simply furnished rooms on 29 December 1720 as “Alla Venezia Trionfante” (Venice the Triumphant), but soon became known as Caffè Florian, after its original owner Floriano Francesconi.



Libreria Acqua Alta


The renowned Libreria Acqua Alta bookshop where books are kept safely afloat in a gondola and bathtubs! Cats everywhere and a fire escape that leads into the canal. 5167 Castello, five minutes walk from Campo Santa Maria Formosa.



Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute



L – Bridge of Sighs – The enclosed bridge is made of white limestone, has windows with stone bars, passes over the Rio di Palazzo, and connects the New Prison (Prigioni Nuove) to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace. It was designed by Antonio Contino (whose uncle Antonio da Ponte had designed the Rialto Bridge) and was built in 1600.

R – Across the lagoon, San Giorgio Maggiore is now the headquarters of the Cini Foundation arts centre, known for its library and is also home to the Teatro Verde open-air theatre.

 Hotel Danielli




Hotel Danielli,  the location for The Tourist movie and where George Sand stayed with her Iover Alfred de Musset. It was built at the end of the 14th century by one of the Dandolo families. Many notable artists, writers, musicians and other luminaries stayed here, among them Goethe, Wagner, Charles Dickens, Byron, Peggy Guggenheim, Leonard Bernstein, Benjamin Britten, Harrison Ford, and Steven Spielberg.

Ca’ Del Sol


Ca’ Del Sol


Ca’ Del Sol

Ca’ Del Sol costume and hand made mask shop and workshop  Canonica Bridge, campo S. Provolo and the
fondamenta Osmarin.



Interpreti Veneziani  (during rehearsals)


Glorious concert as Interpreti Veneziani play Vivaldi at Chiesa san Vidal near the Accademia bridge. The final fading notes of a cello, fragrance of a nearby oleander, the creaking crowded Grand Canal night vaporetto indelibly etched in my mind.


The Finale


Enter a caption

View from The Accademia Bridge (Ponte dell’Accademia). It links the San Marco district with the Accademia gallery in Dorsoduro. It offers two of the best views in Venice, looking along the Grand Canal in each direction. On one side lies the dome of Santa Maria della Salute, and on the other the canal wending its way towards the Rialto Bridge.

Venice is compelling, the ultimate lure for the artistic and intrepid traveller! I hope you get to visit one day if you have not already had the pleasure……….


Links –

Episode 1 of new doc. series about Antoine Reicha’s life (a contemporary of Beethoven)

Ivan Ilić plays Antoine Reicha’s Etude No. 1

Ivan Ilić performs Antoine Reicha’s Capriccio


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Poetry Guest Interview – Antonia Alexandra Klimenko-Writer/Poet in Residence for SpokenWord Paris.

Contemplating the Muse

No 15

Linda Ibbotson

“Paris opened like a book under my skin,
‘A Moveable Feast’ Hemingway once said….”


Opening line from my poem ‘Pastiche,’ one of a sequence of poems entitled
‘The Paris Sketchbook’ published in Levure Litteraire 13.

Ernest Hemingway described, so succinctly, Paris as ‘A Moveable Feast’ and spent much of his time in the vibrant bohemian Latin Quarter in the company of the Avant-Garde such as T S Eliot, F Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Dali and Picasso, escaping momentarily the cold, often uncomfortable conditions in which they lived, to eat and write in the warmth of cafés such as La Closerie des Lilas, Les Deux Magots and Brasserie Lipp.

I followed in their footsteps, strolling the boulevards as a flaneur, frequenting the literary haunts, browsing the plethora of books in Shakespere and Company where I attended a poetry event Celebrating Fifty Years of Modern Poetry in Translation in August 2016.

Linda and Antonia
Antonia and myself at the Paris Ritz

It was wonderful meeting Antonia Alexandra Klimenko, my companion and guide on several occasions. An accomplished and charismatic poet, Antonia’s artistry juxtaposes her powerful voice with the tender and the raw as well as infusing the spiritual. I was fascinated by her personal experiences of Paris including meeting George Whitman and Salvadore Dali! We indulged in afternoon tea at the luxurious Paris Ritz Proust room and picnicked in Square René Viviani  sipping apple juice, overlooking Notre Dame before attending SpokenWord Paris’ open mic at Au Chat Noir. As Writer/Poet in Residence for SWP, Antonia books the special guest each week. It was exciting for me to revisit with our mutual friend Danielle Baraka in April 2017 who travelled to Paris to meet us.

Antonia. trained as an actress at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and a former San Francisco Poetry Slam Champion has recently had the pleasure of reading with the multi-talented Helene Cardona;  poet, actress, (including ‘Chocolat’ and ‘Mumford’) and translator among her many accolades and poet and translator, John High, at the Tennessee Bar. ‘Poets Live’ is hosted by Malik Crumpler. 

Links to some of Antonia’s publications, regular poetry events and venues at the end of this article.



Orchids at the Paris Ritz

Antonia Alexandra Klimenko is widely published. Her work has appeared in  XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) The Poet”s Quest for God Anthology, CounterPunch, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, The Rumpus, Levure Litteraire, Big Bridge,Writing for Peace, Strangers in Paris, Occupy Poets’ Anthology (in which she is distinguished as an American Poet), Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the Writer/Poet in Residence for SpokenWord Paris.


What brought you to Paris, city of writers, artists and musicians?

My brother. I hadn’t seen him since I was 11 years old and, finally, I was 19 and old enough to travel. I was grateful that he had chosen Paris, as Paris had always been at the top of my short list of places that I had longed to visit, and for the usual reasons— the light, the architecture, the culture, the community of artists.  The notion that even if you made but a modest living, you might enjoy the abundance of beauty and spirit.  I like to think, also, that it was fate. 


Which is your favorite café/ Parisian haunt?

For outdoor haunts:  There’s a place at the river’s edge on the Isle Saint Louis that I am very fond of. Also, the Jardin du Luxembourg.  Indoor: The light tiled Moroccan patio of Salon de The de La Grande Mosquee on sunny days, the shaded room of La Palette on rainy.


What motivates you to write and your influences?

The desire to transcend. To share and/or reflect beauty. To heal, to process an experience that might have been less than wonderful and to create positive energy from it. To connect with self and with others, to share thoughts and ideals which make us most human.  Writing encourages empathy as we imagine what it must be like to be in someone else’s shoes. I also enjoy the art of expression, trying to find the better messenger to convey meaning.  Poetry, like music, opens a portal to the mystery of understanding without our fully comprehending.  It brings me closer to Spirit.

And, of course, you never know who you might meet along the way. For instance, I was invited to a rather surreal soiree here in Paris where I couldn’t help but notice a charismatic artist with jet-black hair {and an unreasonably wide but charming moustache) wearing a satin pirate shirt topped off by a small leashed monkey sitting on his shoulder. He spoke to me towards the end of the evening. Told me he had noticed me…that I shouldn’t smile too much…that a woman must be mysterious.  Our brief meeting inspired me—years later– to write ‘’One evening, stand on the sky and learn to paint your world without a wooden frame. Then, climb into the painting.’’


Writers you admire and who influence your own poetic style?

I admire Michael Rothenberg, of 100 Thousand Poets for Change as a Living Poem.  He reached out to me when he heard I was ill and suggested I apply for a grant to Poets in Need, which I gratefully received. He reminds us that communion, communication and community can effect change and transformation in the world. As for writing styleDostoyevsky, Rilke, e.e. cummings, Anne Sexton, James Wright.


What is your favorite line from one of your poems?

This is like Sophie’s Choice haha, as all of our creations are like our children.  Ok, if I must…

And, still the soul’s marrow

like my own bone’s thinning

moves through and beyond  

the fading bruise of my existence


Your goals and aspirations?


At the SpokenWord Paris, Au Chat Noir

To get my collections of poems published. To finish my play, which I’m afraid is all play and no work right now. I had an opportunity to be published by the legendary Tambimuttu of Poetry London.  I even made a recording for him under the Apple Record label as he had gone into business with The Beatles at the tail-end of the 70’s.  The magazine was then called Poetry London / Apple Magazine. However, I decided I wanted to delay the publication in order to offer, perhaps, more inspired work and when Tambi died the manuscript was orphaned.  I only began to submit my work to journals in the last 7 years.  Now, as I approach 70, I do sincerely wish to find good homes for my poetic offspring.  I suppose it might help, haha,  if I sent them out into the world.


Of Papa Who Sang in the Opera


We buried him in deep November
brown hat brown suit brown shoes
of sorrow of sepia of sienna
of a thousand burnt photographs
fading into their horizon

of the shit linoleum
I scrubbed with a toothbrush
the day I was forced
to dig my own grave

for the crimes I committed
like living
A hole much smaller
than the ones in Papa’s head
than the ones in our stories
than the hole in my heart

We buried him above ground
one year at a time
lowering him slowly
into forgiveness–
tulips blossoming
into Soviet red wounds
mouth opening
into Stalin’s tomb
Arias by Tchaikovsky
in operatic fury threatening
to swallow us whole

Lowering him slowly
into forgiveness–
Our father His Holiness
who dreamt of Byzantium-
clouds fluttering like butterflies
between claps of thunder
A pinch of late Autumn blown by the wind
God threw in a handful of stars
The sunflowers looked on
bowing their heads

Sometimes late at night
I lie in his grave
Papa wanders
barefoot there
like Jesus Christ in Summer
The Devil too
in his black fedora




Irish Whisky


                     whisky”- –of Gaelic and Old Irish descent meaning “water of life


It’s like the letter you were expecting

but had forgotten

the dream you almost recall

upon waking

One day you are writing to yourself

to prove that you exist

the next day you are talking to someone

who doesn’t


How to talk to oneself

is a language all its own—

a message behind distorted glass

with the swell of the crumbling cork–

the skewed tongue that no longer fits


I have tried

translating myself into a another language—

a new language that I might better understand

Translations are at best

like well-known paintings

rendered by unknown artists—

Impressionists– every one of them—

always the colors just a little off

always something missing


In the wee green hours of the marnin’

In the pale blue hours of the morning

I weave forth and back  back and forth

doing a poor imitation of me-self—

cutting a rug set in its own pattern

without a thread of light to add to my design


Today I received a letter in the mail—

no words  only a blank page in an envelope—

handwriting slurred

a crooked stamp in the corner—

those suspicious wavy lines


No problem

Pas de problem, I say—

reaching for the real thing—100 proof—

my words turning up like drunken sailors

stumbling off the tongue…


I always read my poems sober

I always write my poems drunk 


Originally published in The Bastille



The Travel Channel         


It took me forever to learn how to love–

to love wide open with the throat singing arias

with the arms waving like banners

with the heart bleeding flesh

with the entrails leaking

with that profound wound of womanhood

that waits for you like a bruised ripening hunger

that trembles for you like an unhinged moon

that weeps for you as you enter me without a sound


How to love openly is an art   I do it best in my head

without you  With the lights off and the television on–

stepping back into myself like your favorite rerun

Afraid that you will   see the silent movies in my eyes

Afraid that you will   study my veins like roadmaps

that stretch across the sagging accordion of my ribs

into the rolling hills  the deep divide of my conscious being

that you will mistake my matching carry-on luggage

for that cute set of accessories you will carry-off one day

to that land of used dreams without me


In your mind   I am merely a reflection of you–

a mirror with a memory that unfolds now in slow motion

only after you’ve pulled out of the tunnel

and already left the station  The voice that–

just before you switch the channel–

knows how to love you with its mouth wide-open

and screams faster than you can say fast forward:

I gave you my body…now I want it back!


Originally published in Iodine Journal



Tell us about SpokenWord Paris and other events/venues, particularly for English language speakers

In the words of David Barne’s its founder: SpokenWord Paris is one pole of a nomadic tribe of people who love poetry, writing and song. A home for creatives and lost anglophones. We do an open mic night called SpokenWord every Monday and an allied writers’ workshop at Shakespeare & Company (every Sunday.) We do a literary journal called The Bastille and Tightrope Books has published many of us in the book “Strangers in Paris.”


Venues with open mic and featured guest


SpokenWord Paris—Au Chat Noir, 76 Jean-Pierre Timbaud, Metro ligne 2 or

Metro ligne 3 Parmentier. Sign up is at 8 pm.


There are also two open mic ‘’offshoots’’ of SWP that now ‘’do their own thing’’

Paris Lit Up – Culture Rapide, 103 Julien Lacroix, Metro lingne 2, Belleville

Sign up begins at 8pm. (PLU also publishes a journal)

Open Secret — Le Bistrot des Artistes, 6 rue des Anglais, 5è. Métro Maubert-Mutualité (line 10) or Saint-Michel (line 4). 8pm sign up and begins at 8pm (continues night-long)


Venues with featured guests only and varying schedule


Poets Live—The longest running Anglophone reading series in Paris

Ivy Poets – The bi-lingual poetry series

Berkeley Books— 8, rue Casimir Delavigne, Metro lines 4 and 10  Odeon

Angora Poets–Featured poets. Angora Bar, 3 boulevard richard Lenoir, Metro ligne 5, Bastille.


W H Smith periodic author events 248 rue de Rivoli 



Links to some of Antonia’s publications.…/8-27-2017-antonia-alexandra-klimenko/

27. 8. 2017 Hélène Cardona, John High, and Antonia Alexandra Klimenko will read from their new poetry books. Reading will begin 19hr at The Tennessee Bar Antonia Alexandra Klimenko was first introd…

Art Isn’t Dead-It’s Still Dying “like Dali’s melting clocks

Reproduction to Jean-Baptiste Chantoiseau It was as if he had gone to sleep for the last time inside the painting, itself, as if he had pulled up the misshapen hills …

Medusa–from Greek; protectress; guardian The owl and the pussycat went out to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat –Edward Lear 1. How I drowned in my mother’s tears …

Levure littéraire, Magazine international d’information et d’éducation culturelle – International Magazine for information and cultural education …



So with great inspiration, and of course Love, I am honored to introduce to Paris, and to the world, SquareRoot of Love: Valentine’s Day in Paris – A John Sims …

I’ve come from a family of tears –Salvatore Ala Seen under …

Antonia Alexandra Klimenko was first introduced on the BBC and to the literary world by the legendary Tambimuttu of Poetry London–-publisher of T.S. Eliot, Henry …


Help us build the most popular collection of engaged poetry online. ubscribe to Occupy Poetry & Stay tuned!

Antonia reading her poem ‘Untitled’ —

This was an exhilarating and informative interview and I thank Antonia immensely for her interesting, thoughtful responses and her skillful poetic virtuosity. Thank you all for taking the time to read it.

I now ruminate as to whether writers were born with ink in their veins! 

Photo Credits 

SpokenWord – Sabine Dundure

Antonia on the train – Maximillian Scheuer

Antonia at the Ritz and SpokenWord – My photo’s  


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Five Centuries of Fashion at Chatsworth House

Contemplating the Muse.

No 14

Linda Ibbotson


Linda at Chatsworth 2

July 2017, my destination, Chatsworth House, Derbyshire built by Bess of Hardwick, the location that is said to have inspired Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ Here, I am captivated by the magnificent ‘House Style’ exhibition; ‘Five Centuries of Fashion.’ Couture and accoutrements displayed on mannequins are intrinsically woven throughout the house and centered around the fashion, elegance and style of the Cavendish family, including supermodel Stella Tennant, the 18th century ‘Empress of Fashion’ Georgiana, Duchess Deborah ( one of the Mitford sisters) Adele Astaire and highlighting the ‘Great Devonshire Ball’ of 1897.
This is a rare opportunity to see spectacular period couture by designers such as Jean Phillipe Worth and Christian Dior, displayed with ambiance in a grande, elegant and at times candlelit theatrical setting, reminiscent of the Palais Garnier, Paris, I recently visited, alongside luxurious contemporary garments from designers such as Gucci, Helmut Lang, Vivienne Westwood, Erdem, Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney as well as everyday clothes, jewellery, accessories, photographs and other collected cherished items including a pair of Elvis Presley slippers!

The exhibition is the culmination of a passionate six year project that runs until 22nd Oct 2017. Lady Laura Burlington, a former model, stylist and seamstress for Roland Mouret, a former fashion editor for Harpers Bazaar and the future Duchess of Devonshire was inspired whilst searching for a christening robe amongst the splendid array of archived textiles stored in wardrobes, trunks and shelves.  The exhibition is curated by Hamish Bowles; international Editor-at-Large of Vogue and creatively designed with Patrick Kinmonth, 
an Anglo-Irish opera director and designer, filmmaker, writer, painter, interior designer, art editor, creative director and Antonio Monfreda, Italian art director.

The principle sponsor is Gucci. and other major sponsors are C W Sellors Fine Jewelry, Investec, Sotheby’s and Wedgwood and in addition a beautiful book published by Hamish Bowles and Lady Laura Burlington was subsequently launched.



Black dress by Alexander McQueen worn by Stella Tennant  exhibited in the magnificent ‘Painted Hallway.’ In addition Regal Coronation robes of flowing rich velvety red are the ‘piece de resistance.’ 






State Music Room and a Vivienne Westwood 2007. Inspired by the painting in the background of the gown Bess of Hardwick gave to Queen Elizabeth I.




Jean Philippe Worth for the House of Worth, design commissioned from Attilio Comelli by Duchess Louise who wore this as a fancy dress costume as Zenobia Queen of Palmyra in the famous 1897 Cavendish Ball. Head dress inspired by an Indigo Jones painting recreated by CW Sellors.



Fancy Dress costume for the Duchess of Portland as the Duchess of Savoy. 1897




Norman Parkinson feature in VOGUE 1952 . The 11th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire , and their children Peregrine and Emma.




                      Alessandro Michele for GUCCI 2017. Courtesy of Lady Burlington






Flowered dress- Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. –  Knee length red dress- Helmut Lang.
Red evening dress-Pierre Balmain.



A selection of evening gowns in the dining room including (left) Vivienne Westwood



In the South Sketch Gallery a 1998 John Galliano for CHRISTIAN DIOR worn by Stella Tennant in American Vogue and inspired by Georgiana, wife of the 5th Duke known as a fashion leader, socialite and also published poet and author.


PRADA top and skirt Courtesy-Stella Tennant. CHRISTOPHER KANE Jacket and trousers.



Duchess Louise evening bag c 1890 – ALESSANDRO MICHELE gown for GUCCI



OSCAR DE LA RENTA                      RALPH LAUREN 2003

Courtesy of Deborah –  Duchess of Devonshire.


A selection of the family wedding gowns




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The magnificent library with the Steinway piano – Christopher Kane pink organza dress exhibited in the ante library.



Bust of Mr Darcy and Veiled Vestal Virgin – Raffaelle Monti (1818–1881) as seen in the Keira Knightly, Matthew MacFadyen ‘Pride and Prejudice’  movie.

It was wonderful to see the collection of Jorge Lewinski photographs introduced to Chatsworth by Lord Burlington who studied photography under Jorge.




I want to thank everyone involved in bringing this spectacular and informative fashion extravaganza for all to relish and thank you all for joining me.





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Cork International Poetry Festival 2017

Contemplating the Muse

No 13

Linda Ibbotson

“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who transform a yellow spot into sun” ― Pablo Picasso

For me, Spring arrives with the welcoming blooms of daffodils (especially the deliciously scented Narcissus Poeticus) and the bounteous feast of the invigorating Cork International Poetry Festival. Flagging winter spirits were swiftly rejuvenated as the festival progressed from  14th – 18th February.

Notorious for its wide range of events the festival hosted a plethora of award winning International and Irish writers such as Nikola Madzirov, Thomas McCarthy, Carolyn Forche. Maram al-Masri, Theo Dorgan, Martina Evans, Brian Turner, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Lo Kwa Mei-en etc and included five days of poetry readings and discussion, masterclass workshops, manuscript makeover with James Harpur, panel discussions, readings and journal presentation; The Enchanting Verses Literary Review and The Well Review, The Griffin Trust Poetry event, Gregory O’Donoghue poetry prize, Fool for Poetry chapbook launch, New Irish Voices chapbooks and Homage to John Montague event which were held mainly in the Cork City Library and Cork Arts Theatre thanks to the Munster Literature Centre and the enthusiasm and hard work of director Patrick Cotter and his team.

Here are highlights from the events I attended. For more detailed information about all the poets, other events and festival refer to the Munster Literature Centre website. Link below.



Wednesday heralded the launch of Sonnet Mondal’s  prestigious The Enchanting Verses Literary Review  along with Patrick Cotter’s warm introduction at Cork City Library. This was a special Irish Edition edited by Patrick with the late John Montague as Enchanting Poet and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin  as Editors Choice.  Here also, a welcoming greeting to Sonnet from Paul Casey; O bheal ( Cork’s weekly poetry event.) Included in the anthology are many eminent award winning poets such as James Harpur, Martina Evans, Peter Sirr, Vona Groarke etc.


Poets reading at Cork City Library for the launch of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review are; clockwise- Mary Noonan, Matthew Sweeney, Afric McGlinchey, Eleanor Hooker, Gerry Murphy, Katie Donovan, Paul Casey, Eileen Sheehan, John W Sexton and Gerard Smythe. ( click on images for names)


A full to overflowing Cork Arts Theatre shows the necessity of pre-booking tickets.


Nikola Madzirov was born in 1973 in Yugoslavia, in what is now Macedonia and is the author of several books including Relocated Stone (2007) which received the
Hubert Burda European Award.
 He also won the Miladinov Brothers Award at the Struga poetry Evenings and was granted the International Writing Program (IWP) fellowship at the University of Iowa, the DAAD fellowship in Berlin, and the Marguerite Yourcenar fellowship in France. Madzirov’s work has been translated into 40 languages.



Paddy Bushe is a poet, editor and translator, and a member of Aosdána. He has published ten collections of poetry, eight in English and two in Irish, as well as four books of translations. 


Steven Heighton is a poet and fiction writer, widely published internationally as well as a reviewer for the New York Times Book Review.  His novel Afterlands (Penguin, 2007) was cited on “best of year” lists in ten publications in the UK, the USA, and Canada where he lives.

Ulkrikka S. Gernesdsc_1543-001

Paula Meehan ( Ireland’s former Professor of Poetry) reading the poetry of Haken Sandell who was unable to be present. Ulkreeka S. Gernes (born in Sweden to Danish parents has published eleven collections of poetry since her first at the age of eighteen) here, reading one of Haken’s poems in Swedish. Haken was born in Sweden and has lived in Denmark, Ireland and Norway and is a translator and critic, and a co-founder of the artistic movement known as Retrogardismand has received several major Swedish awards for his poetry and essays.



Brian Turner is the author of two poetry collections. Here, bullet which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection, the 2006 PEN Center USA “Best in the West”award, and the 2007 Poets Prize, among others; and Phantom Noise, which was shortlisted for the 2010 T.S. Eliot Prize in Poetry. 




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Introduced by Paul Casey at Cork City Library, readings by Eleanor Hooker and Eileen Sheehan.

Eleanor Hooker lives in Co.Tipperary and has published two poetry collections with Dedalus. A Tug of Blue was published in October 2016. Her poems have been published in literary journals, including: Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, PN Review, Agenda, The Stinging Fly and in The Irish Times and Irish Examiner.She is currently working on a novel.

Eileen Sheehan  lives in Co. Kerry. Anthology publications include Best Loved Poems: Favourite Poems from the Southof Ireland (Ed. Gabriel Fitzmaurice / Curragh Press); The Poetry of Sex (Ed. Sophie Hannah / Penguin); The Watchful Heart: A New Generation of Irish Poets (Ed. Joan McBreen / Salmon), and TEXT: A Transition Year English Reader (Ed. Niall MacMonagle / The Celtic Press). Her work is featured on Poetry International Web. Her third collection, The Narrow Way of Souls, is forthcoming.



kerrieKerrie O’ Brien is a poet from Dublin. Her debut collection Illuminate was published by Salmon Poetry in October 2016 and made possible by a literature bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland. She has received multiple awards for her poetry and is currently writing her first novel. She is the editor of Looking at the Stars, an anthology of Irish writing which raised over €21,000 for the Dublin Simon Community.


Sonnet Mondal writes from Kolkata and is the founder of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review He has read at Struga Poetry Evenings, 2014, Uskudar International Poetry Festival, Istanbul, 2015, International Poetry Festival of Granada, Nicaragua, 2016 and Ars Poetica International Poetry Festival, Slovakia, 2016. He has been a featured writer at IWP, University of IOWA and his latest works have appeared in The Mcneese Review, Sheepshead Review, The Fieldstone Review, Indian Literature (Sahitya Academi) and Two Thirds North.









Wonderful to meet again official photographer John Minihan, infamous for his portraits in the world of the arts eg;- Samuel Beckett, Princess Diana, Yves Saint Laurent, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, Cecil Beaton etc and his photo documentation taken over forty years of the small town of Athy where he was raised until the age of eight.


Maram al-Masri and Theo Dorgan. An enthralling video Faces preceded the reading. Maram is from Syria, and is now settled in Paris. She studied English Literature at Damascus University before starting publishing her poetry in Arab magazines in the 1970s.Today she is considered one of the most renowned and captivating feminine voices of her generation. Thus far her work has been translated into eight languages. She has numerous accolades and awards. Barefoot Souls (Arc 2015) has been translated into English by Theo Dorgan.



Theo Dorgan was born in Cork. He is a poet, novelist, non-fiction prose writer, editor, translator, broadcaster, librettist and documentary scriptwriter. He has published five books of poetry. His most recent collections are Greek (Dedalus 2012) and Nine Bright Shiners (Dedalus 2014)  He is a member of Aosdána.

Thomas McCarthy was born in Co Waterford in 1954. He is the author of several collections of poetry, as well as two novels and a collection of essays and diaries. He has wonnumerous awards. He lives in Cork. His most recent collection is Pandemonium from Carcanet (2016) He is a member of Aosdána.






Brenda Shaughnessy  (left) is the author of Our Andromeda (one of the New York
Times’ 100 Notable Nooks of 2013, Human Dark with Sugar, Interior with Joy and most recently, So Much Synth. She has been a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and is currently
associate professor of English and creative writing at Rutgers University.She lives in Verona, New Jersey, with her family.
Natalie Diaz is a Mojave American poet, language activist, and educator.She is the author of the poetry collection When My Brother Was an Aztec (2012). Her honors and awards include the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf, the Narrative Poetry Prize and a Lannan Literary




Hardworking Munster Literature Centre ladies! (Left to right)  Anne Kennedy,  Roisin Kelly and Emily Davis-Fletcher.


Griffin Trust Poetry event with Marek Kazmierski introducing the poets (clockwise) Ulkrikka S. Gernes, Carolyn Forche, Yusef Komunyakaa, Jo Shapcott, (Theo Dorgan chatting to Scott Griffin,) Mark Doty and Karen Solie. Also reading was Michael Symmons Roberts.


In addition, the digital version of the beautiful and ornate Great Book of Ireland a gallery and anthology of modern Irish art and poetry, a project which began in 1989 was on display in the Cork City Library.

A diverse array of poetic voices, I am certain, still echo in the eaves as redolent and as inspiring as the heady fragrance of the Narcissus Poeticus, poetry and camaraderie enlightening and “transforming a yellow spot into sun.”  It is heartwarming to share this event by perusing the photographs and a pleasure to recollect cherished moments.

Finally,  I hope you enjoy a taste of this poetic feast and look forward to seeing some of you at Cork International Poetry Festival 2018. A huge thanks and heartfelt appreciation to Patrick Cotter and Munster Literature Centre for this wonderful poetry festival.



Delighted to see some of my photographs here —

Photographs- Linda Ibbotson




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