Guest Post: Moyra Donaldson on being a writer & the thrill of being published...


Moyra Donaldson
Thanks to my mother, I grew up knowing the magic of story, the rhythms of poetry, the pleasures of language, and all through my life I have depended on books to sustain me, divert me, entertain me and comfort me. From a very early age, I also knew that I wanted to be a writer.

After a couple of false starts I finally decided that I needed to take this desire seriously, give it more attention, so in my mid-thirties I joined a writers’ group, began to write regularly and was encouraged and challenged by such writers as Damian Gorman and Martin Mooney. I still vividly remember one of the first occasions that I had poems accepted for publication, in the Spring 1994 edition of the literary magazine, HU.

Tonight the moon hung low, full,
bloated with summer.
Feeling its pull we went outside,
where silver half light
showed the familiar strange.
                        From Claire and the moon

It was thrilling to have these words of mine living between the same covers as work by Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley and Joan Newmann.

Moyra is the author of Selected Poems
Since then I have had four collections of poetry published, and the thrill is still there. I love it when the idea for a poem first arrives in my head and when, sometimes after months of gestation, it is born onto the page.  I love the struggle to find the right word and the right place for it to be; the dialogue between the poem and myself. I love the fact that my poems go out on their own into the world and I am thrilled by the possibility that my words are talking to someone ‘out there’, someone I may never meet, but have connected with through poetry.

The creation of this book, Selected Poems, has been a pleasure. I wasn’t looking forward to having to choose which poems to include and which to leave out – like having to choose between your children - but Sean O’Keeffe as editor, made the process easy. I feel he has crafted a book which really reflects the themes, concerns and obsessions that are part of my work. In bringing the work together, it has given me the chance to get reacquainted with older ideas and to see where I have meandered to over the years. I hope that readers may also enjoy the journey and that there are some words between these covers that that will connect with them; be a little bit magic. Meanwhile I’m working towards the next collection and hoping that

I can still balance up there on the wire.
                        From Dissolution of the circus

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About the Author: Moyra Donaldson was born and brought up in Co Down, NI, and has been described as one of the country’s most distinctive and accomplished writers. She has published four previous collections, Snakeskin Stilettos (1998), Beneath The Ice (2001), The Horse’s Nest (2006) and Miracle Fruit (2010). Her poetry has won a number of awards, including the Allingham Award, the National Women’s Poetry Competition and the Cuirt New Writing Award. She has received four awards from the Arts Council NI, most recently, the Artist Career Enhancement Award. Her poems have been anthologised and have featured on BBC Radio and television, including the Channel 4 production, 'Poems to Fall in Love With' and she has read at festivals in Ireland, England, Paris, Canada, America and Hungary. Moyra is also an experienced creative writing tutor, working with individuals and groups in the literary, community and health care sectors. She has edited a number of anthologies and was literary editor for Fortnight magazine.

Selected Poems is published ahead of Moyra's new collection in 2013.