New selection of poems uploaded to the Arts Office Poetry Phone

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New selection of poems uploaded to the Arts Office Poetry Phone

Hugo Jellett was tasked with selecting poems for the Arts Office Poetry Phone from previously published Poetry Broadsheets, the Rhyme Rag platform and the Mark My Words publication (all programmes of the Arts Office)

Hugo Jellett is the Co-founder and Creative Producer of the Borris House Festival of Writing & Ideas, and one of the lead creatives in Electric Picnic. He has worked for Lilliput Press, HarperCollins, Random House. He has previously worked at Irish Museum of Modern Art, Gaiety Theatre and Irish Film Institute.


Here is Hugo’s selection and the reasons why he picked these poems

Soul Soil Sister by Laura O’Neill
“Laura O’Neill is a Kilkenny writer, musician, priestess and spiritual teacher, with a background in English Literature & Philosophy. She lives in devotion to Love, the mystical & the ordinary; as a living reminder of shameless humanness, everyday creativity, and our inherent connection to earth, purpose & each other. She also works as a soul coach and tantric practitioner, serving the emergence of a new heart-, soul- & soil-centered way of being.

Find her art and offerings at @thisisellowen &”

Hugo said – The dreamy mystique Soul Soil Sister is full of hints of gardening, growth and learning

Skiff by Mike Watts

Mike has been writing poetry for over 50 years. A founder member of Poetry Galway (now Salmon) he has been in many writing groups since settling in Kilkenny. Mine’s work has been published in Kilkenny Broadsheet, Wrting in the West, Poetry Galway, Salmon and Poems from a Kilkenny laneway. He has  published two self illustrated children’s books. Originally from Leicestershire Mike came to Ireland in 1973.

Hugo said he chose Mike’s poem because of the rhythm of the rowing that comes out in the first stanza and then he pauses in the lake and contemplates the calm.

Void by Robert McLoughlin

Robert McLoughlin was born in the last century and is aging well. He has lived with his wife Madeleine in Callan for the last fifteen years. He has had careers in Quality Management, Massage Therapy, the Intellectual Disability Sector, and as a Tour Guide at Kilkenny Castle and the Smithwick’s Experience. He started writing a personal journal in his twenties, extensive letter writing in his thirties, short stories and poetry in his forties. He is currently editing the final draft of a memoir which he will publish by the end of this year. He also has a novel in his desk drawer which he hopes to revive.

He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities with a focus in literature and writing from Hiram College in the States. He also has a Certificate in Creative Writing from Maynooth University. He has self-published two books–one with 100 of his poems, and one with 26 of his selected short stories.


Hugo chose Robert’s poem because of the dawning of what loneliness means; no answers, just realising what it is.

True Me by Lee Anne Ryan

Hugo chose True Me because of what is not said, of the sense of being on the precipice.

Flowers by Gillian Somerville-Large

Hugo said – Gillian Somerville-Large takes the bleak bustle of a  hospital full of illness and puts flowers and greenery in the middle of it with the cheer it brings.

Mullaghmore by Nuala Roche

Winner of Dromineer Literature Festival’s poetry prize in 2017 Nuala was awarded an Arts Office Bursary to publish her chapbook, Fish-Speak , and towards her one-act play Bridie.. Her work is published in The Cormorant Broadsheets and its anthology, Doghouse Press journal, and ten editions of the Kilkenny Poetry Broadsheet.


Hugo said – Mullaghmore is a funny one. Literally funny, in the depiction of  men who need some outdoor action; and then funny odd in that the author herself is immersed in the rock types and the gurgle of water and ancientness of the landscape that she has to share with the randy men…. Or have I completely misread it?

Pack by Nuala Roche

Hugo chose Pack – because dogs belong in poetry, because they do make us stop dead. The pause before ‘submit’…..

Oak by Brid Ryall

Oak by Brid Ryall was published in the 2007 Poetry Broadsheet.

This is what Hugo had to say about Oak. ‘Oak’ plays with the great concept of a big traveller and gathering of exotic experiences trying to live a very ordinary domestic life back home, with secret signals hidden in her every action.

The Birds by Emily Murtagh

Emily Murtagh is from Kilkenny. Her poems have been published in The Kilkenny Poetry Broadsheet, The Round Tower Review, Psaltery & Lyre and in the CS Lewis-themed curation of the Poetry Jukebox in Belfast. She is a past recipient of the Irish Writers Centre Marian Keyes Young Writers Award.

Hugo said – I love the line ‘you’re great when you’re not’ – a paean to imperfection

Let Evening Come by Brid Galway

Brid’s poem Let Evening Come was published in the Arts Office 2007 Poetry Broadsheet. Brid  passed away some time ago.

Hugo thought ‘Let Evening Come’ is lovely because it captures the end of a day, the undramatic hour when work is done, the relief almost. And the rhythm and cadence of the sentence mirrors the quietening of the day.

Maureen Lappan by Jack Cuddihy

Jack Cuddihy’s poem was published in the Kilkenny Poetry Broadsheet 2008. Jack passed away in April 2019.

Hugo said Maureen Lappan is just an utterly desperate cry of regret, and of awful consequence, with religion closing in at the sides and accusations of madness scratching at the door.

Mother by Joan Cleere

Joan is a native of Thomastown but has been living in Bennettsbridge for over fifty years since her marriage to Seamie. She has been a member of the Bennettsbridge Writers Group since the beginning and has had work included in their three publications, “Daughters of the Wind”, “Tangerine Skies” and “Meet me Halfway”, the latter being a joint publication with the Derry Writers.  Joan is local correspondent for the Kilkenny People Newspaper for 37 years and her writing consists mainly of prose but she has had some poems published.

Hugo chose Mother because it captures the times when you don’t want a memory to end, you want to live in it longer

Fuchsia by Michael Massey

Michael Massey ran a number of poetry groups in Kilkenny and Clogh for many years, he was a great mentor and encouraging voice for local writers. He published several volumes of poetry and was nominated for the Hennessy Award. His unexpected death was a huge loss to the Kilkenny’s writing community.

Hugo chose Fuchsia because I like people who can’t help giving people things, little gifts.

Dedication by Anne O’Connor

Anne O’Connor holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Ireland Maynooth, funded by SETU Carlow. She has had poems published in The Kilkenny Poetry Broadsheet, Poetry Ireland Review, The SHOP, Boyne Berries, The Oxfam Calendar and in other publications. She is currently writing a book about our lives with dogs. She has lived in Kilkenny since 2003.

Hugo chose Dedication because of the rebellion, but then the hope that it would make her mum proud of her rebellion.

Unframed by Breda Joyce

Breda Joyce writes poetry, memoir and short fiction. Her work has won and been shortlisted in competitions and has appeared in Poems for Pandemia, The Honest Ulsterman, Kilkenny Broadsheet, Crannóg, The Waxed Lemon, The Best New British and Irish Poets Anthology 2021, and on Sunday Miscellany. Her first collection Reshaping the Light was published by Chaffinch Press, 2021. Her poem Funeral Shoes was published by The Irish Times March 22 as poem of the week.


Hugo said Unframed – three photographs of children growing up, sadness suppressed.

You can also listen to these beautiful poems on our Poetry Phone. Dial freefone 1800 272 994 and select any number between 0 and 9. All of the selected poems were recorded by Kilkenny artists.


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