Hello Donna and welcome to emergingwriter. I’ve been reading and enjoying your collection, Dream Country, on the train to work. First how did you first get into poetry?
Yes, the first poem in the collection, Mirrored Belly of the Sea, was written when I was under the tutelage of Paula Meehan. It's the first poem I had accepted for publication too. I think that's the only poem actually I'd written for a workshop that was in the collection. It was accepted by the Stinging Fly and didn't come out until a year later (back when they were doing once a year submissions) and in the meantime I'd had a few more accepted and published. But this one still felt like the first one.
My advice for aspiring writers would be - take advantage of the writing and performing going on around you. Get out to readings, festivals, spoken words, read journals, enjoy being part of something bigger, because it fuels and inspires you and right now, I feel very, very far away from all that. Coming back to Denmark has been amazing for my life - I've got everything a person could need to flourish, but I don't have the creative buzz around me that I felt in Dublin and in parts of the UK. I wish I could pop along to poetry readings after work, or drop in to open mic nights, but those are few and far between in Denmark and what with the collection out now, a 1-year-old, a weekly writing podcast and full-time job, I don't feel I have the space to start a night up on my own yet. Maybe I will at some point. I've met some great writers here, but it's just not the same!