I have a number of readings confirmed for 2021, you can view these via the button above. All are welcome.
Friday 29th October
I'll be reading at 8pm tonight with Martina Evans and John Sexton, as part of the Amergin Samhain Poetry Gathering at Waterville, Co. Kerry.
Monday 11th October
I delivered my archive to UCD today, to Special Collections at the James Joyce Library. Some 40 years worth of correspondence, drafts, journals, notebooks, and much other stuff. It will form part of the Irish Poetry Reading Archive. Special thanks to Ursula Byrne, Head of Development and Strategic Programmes, and Evelyn Flanagan, Special Collections.
Sunday 10th October
FESTIVAL IN A VAN, POETRY AND MUSIC
I will be reading with the musician Mick McCauley at the following venues:
Green Street, CALLAN, Co. Kilkenny. 11am.
The Square, BALLYRAGGET, Co. Kilkenny, 2pm.
Discovery Park, CASTLECOMER, Co. Kilkenny, 4.30pm.
The following poem was commissioned by Words Move for the event:
A YEAR'S TURN
The sun lies wrecked
on Gortrush Wood.
A full moon hoists itself
over Falconer’s Hill.
Above a ploughed field
on Silver Springs road
a wing of golden plovers
has risen so high
it can only be seen,
in the velvet dark,
when the birds turn,
and their white breasts
and are touched
by the dying,
by the rising light.
Thursday 16th September
A pleasure to talk to Catherine Fogarty on Tipp Mid West Radio this morning, with Grace Wells and Aine ni Ghlinn. We each read a poem we had written for children, which had also been sent out to local schools. We then read poems sent in by children based on short writing exercises we had sent out with the poem.
Friday 3rd September, 5.30 pm
OH, THIS HECTIC WORLD, the Japanese Gardens, Tramore, Co. Waterford.
Places limited - please RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org before 25th August.
I had the great privilege and pleasure of collaborating with the composer Eric Sweeney for many years. At the start of the lockdown in 2020, I picked out 10 classic haiku and Eric set them to music. This was the last work he composed – Eric died in July 2020, a great shock and a terrible blow to his wife Sally, his children and grandchildren, his huge circle of friends and students and admirers. Shortly before he died, I had the luck to sit with him while he played me the music he had written for the haiku. The piece, called ‘Oh, this hectic world’, a line taken from one of the haiku, was performed online at the Imagine Festival in October 2020, with Eric’s friend and colleague Marian Ingoldsby performing the music. Eric’s hope had always been that we would perform it in the beautiful setting of the Japanese Gardens in Tramore, and I’m delighted that Marian and I can now do so.
Monday 21st June, 7pm: a pleasure to be reading with two very fine poets.
The Poetry of Nature PAT BORAN and guests EVA BOURKE, MARK ROPER and GRACE WELLS
Live Event: Sunday 2nd May 3.00 pm
PAT BORAN and guests EVA BOURKE, MARK ROPER and GRACE WELLS explore the relationship between poetry and nature, discussing the attractions, and challenges, of writing about the natural world, not least in these challenging times. This informal conversation will include short readings by the poets.
Delighted to have a poem, Nightingale and Cello, in the new Anthology published by Doire Press, edited by Alice Kinsella and Nessa O'Mahony, caled Empty House. Copies available from www.doirepress.com
Saturday 26th December
A reading of 3 poems on this short video from Amergin Online, with poet Jackie Gorman and traditional musician Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich:
Monday 21st December
Pleased to have a short essay on species-loneliness published today in the Australian online journal Axon:
Saturday 19th December, 7 pm.
As part of its launch, I will be reading the 2 poems I have contributed to the American anthology Civilisation in Crisis. This is the Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/
Civilisation in Crisis is edited by Bart White and Dwain Wilder, publishers Michael and Carolyn Czarnecki, FootHills Publishing, Kanona, New York.
‘Oh, this hectic world’ is the last piece of music composed by Eric Sweeney, a setting for 10 classic Japanese haiku I had chosen to reflect the course of the seasons. We were to perform the piece together at the Imagine Arts Festival this October. After Eric's death in July, composer and pianist Marian Ingoldsby, a close friend and colleague of Eric’s at WIT for over 25 years, very kindly agreed to step in to play Eric’s music. This is the link to the event, filmed beautifully by Keith Currams:
It was an honour to have been part of the Poetry Exchange organized by the Waterford Healing Arts Trust this month, in which 5 poets spent an afternoon ringing elderly people who had asked for a poem to be read to them.
I was proud to have played a very small part in 'In Our Hearts Forever'. This was a project initiated by Linda Fahy and Margaret O'Brien in Carrick-on-Suir, to provide commemoration for those who had died during the Covid lockdown but had not been able to have proper funerals. Margaret O'Brien writes about the project in the link below:
A link to a podcast made by Colette Colfer and Terry Hackett, of the excellent Spokes Podcasts:
A link to a long interview here with Tracy Gaughan of The Blue Nib magazine:
Terrible to hear the news that Eric Sweeney died on 21st July, from a heart attack. Admired nationally and internationally as a composer and teacher of music, he was also deeply loved as a man. I had worked with Eric for the last 10 years, since we were invited to compose a song for Come The Sails, a piece of music commissioned for the Tall Ships Festival in Waterford in 2010. Since then we have performed numerous recitals together, in churches and other venues all over the country. We also ran projects in schools in Waterford, working with pupils to get them to write the music and words for songs. And we worked together on 2 operas, The Invader and The Green One. Films of these can be found under Links. During the lockdown I had picked 10 classic haiku, tracing the course of the seasons, which Eric had set to music. We were due to perform the piece at the Imagine Festival in October. Eric and his wife Sally were the most generous and hospitable hosts; Eric was a great cook. He will be sorely missed in so very many ways.
Delighted to be reading 3 poems on the Trasna website:
Happy to have a good few poems in this new anthology:
THE WORD ARK is a pocket-sized anthology of poems from Ireland's Dedalus Press, responding to our fellow creatures, great and small, published at a time when not only the animal kingdom but the world at large is beset by dangers on an unprecedented scale. It is, as editor Pat Boran says in the introduction, “An invitation to look more intently at the world beyond ourselves, an external balance to our inner turmoil.” The contributions come from 45 poets – among them Paula Meehan, Patrick Deeley, Paddy Bushe, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, the late Francis Harvey, Mark Roper, Mary Montague, Eva Bourke, Enda Wyley and Boran himself – so that the book reports on the natural world from the four corners of the island of Ireland, and indeed farther afield. The book is illustrated by the editor's father-in-law, the artist Gaetano Tranchino, who contributes timeless illustrations from his Siracusa, Sicily. The Word Ark is a highly personal and timely response to a crisis, but also a report on how positive thinking and engagement with the natural world can be a help and consolation at such a time as this.
FULL LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS: Leland Bardwell, Pat Boran, Eva Bourke, Paddy Bushe, Conor Carville, Inger Christensen, Marie Coveney, Enda Coyle-Greene, Catherine Ann Cullen, Pádraig J Daly, Patrick Deeley, Theo Dorgan, Katherine Duffy, Erin Fornoff, Matthew Geden, Ray Givans, Francis Harvey, Eleanor Hooker, Patrick Kehoe, John Kelly, Tom Mathews, Catherine Phil MacCarthy, Philip McDonagh, Iggy McGovern, Paula Meehan, Mary Montague, Aidan Murphy, Gerry Murphy, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Mary Noonan, Peggy O’Brien, John O’Donnell, Mary O’Donoghue, Paul Perry, Leeanne Quinn, Ger Reidy, Mark Roper, Gerard Smyth, Ross Thompson, Richard Tillinghast, Jessica Traynor, Grace Wells, Joseph Woods, Macdara Woods and Enda Wyley.
For a reading of my poem Sleeping With The Kingfisher, in a short film by Pat Boran:
TUESDAY 14TH APRIL
Reading some poems here for Poets Pandemic Podcast, including the poem below, with Maggie Dubris from New York:
This is a new poem, for this Spring in particular:
MORE THAN EVER
Now more than ever, swallow,
is the time to come, up the river
and over the field.
Now, rook, the time to know
your ramshackle basket of twig
holds its fragile trove.
Blackcap, this moment more than ever
we need your hidden delivery,
sudden mad burst of song.
Gorse, your rich and delicate perfume.
Dandelion, your cloth of gold.
Thrush, do not fail us now, sling
your fervent prayer into the wind,
into the driving rain.
Primrose, please, keep sketching your soft circles.
Above a still lake of bluebell,
unfurl, beech tree, your tender leaf.
More than ever, moon, your shining example.
More than ever, pebble, your patience.
This poem is featured on the Write Where We Are Now website, curated by Carol Ann Duffy:
It will also be included in the Ty Hafan Anthology, to be published in 2012, an anthology of poems and song lyrics edited by Tony Curtis, to be sold to support the children’s hospice for south Wales, based in Sully in the Vale of Glamorgan. See www.tyhafan.org
I've been watching a flock of some 150 Whooper Swans in river meadows at Tibberaghny, by the River Suir. The poem below will be published along with 2 more new poems, Otter, and Black-throated Diver, in Acumen No. 9.
WHOOPER SWANS IN JANUARY
They are too white for winter.
That is to say, there is no frost
in their white feathers, no ice.
And that bright stain of buttercup –
their have dipped their bills in Spring.
Photo courtesy Paddy Dwan
A brief extract from an article in Raceme No. 8, by Kerri ni Dochartaigh, 'On Mark Roper's recent work':
"I am reminded of lines of his that I have copied out at the front of my journal: 'We are held by what cannot be held.' ... At his finest Roper is ethereal, observant, at ease in the liminal - taking us by hand 'into the kingdom of dark', the moth-light of evening."
Raceme, c/o Matthew Barton, 19 Birchall Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 7TW, UK.
TUESDAY 12th NOVEMBER
Lovely to hear Olivia O'Leary read my poem 'Dolphins' on RTE Radio One's Drivetime today:
They slip through the surface below the cliff,
two adults and a child,
rolling and folding their longed-for lengths.
We watch with two minds
this vison of fin
framed in all we now think of as loss.
Already they seem belated, shadows
of former selves,
apparitions rising from ruin.
Foam flares from their breaking backs
like words erased
as soon as they’re uttered.
They rise and fall, as if trying
to mend the water.
The sea, in their wake, appears to heal.
from EVEN SO, Dedalus Press, 2008
The poet Edward Power died on 22nd October. Here's a link to my tribute to his life and work:
SUNDAY 20th OCTOBER, Christ Church, Church Road, Tramore, Co. Waterford, 3 pm.
POETRY & PIPES: A Recital with Eric Sweeney to celebrate the restoration of the 1876 Telford Church Organ.
FRIDAY 18th OCTOBER, St. Patrick's Gateway Centre, Patrick Street, Waterford, 8 pm.
IN HIGH PLACES: Music and Words from the Comeragh Mountains. With sean-nós singer Ann Mulqueen, singer and accordion player Breda De Paor, internationally acclaimed uillean pipe player David Power. In High Places is a unique collaboration between musicians and a poet, based around the mysteries of the Comeraghs. For this special event Mark will read extracts from Comeragh: Mountain, Coum, River, Rumour. This will be combined with the songs and playing of Ann Mulqueen and Breda De Paor, alongside the playing of the uileann pipes by David Power.
FRIDAY 11th OCTOBER, The Book Centre, Waterford, 6 pm.
I'll be reading Hayden Carruth's beautiful poem 'No Matter What, After All, and That Beautiful Word So' at 'We haven't had an earthquake lately ,,,' , the Well Festival's annual reading of favourite poems. Carruth's poem is 'about' listening to the calls of wild geese in the night. Over the course of the poem the speaker works his way out of the confines of his consciousness into an awareness of the blessing of what lies forever beyond it.
THURSDAY 10TH OCTOBER, University Hospital Waterford, 6 pm.
I will be launching 'That's How The Light Gets In,' an Exhibition of paintings by Ann Brennan, Blawnin Clancy, Aidan Dunne, Ciara Gormley and Mary Tritschler.
A new poem 'Murmuration' was shortlisted for the 2019 Bridport Prize.
SUNDAY 18TH AUGUST, St. Michael's Church, Dun Laoghaire, 8 pm.
I will be performing with organist and composer Eric Sweeney.
Further Info: email@example.com
SATURDAY 17th AUGUST
Beautiful article by Paddy Woodworth in the Irish Times, about my work with with the photographer Paddy Dwan, especially the book on the Comeragh Mountains.
My poem 'After The Fall' can be found on Giovanna Iorio's Poetry Sound Library, a map of the world on which poems spoken by poets from all over the world can be accessed. Use the alphabetical index on the right of the map:
Lovely to see Michael Viney pick Comeragh as one of his books of the year for 2018:
"The uplands and valleys of Ireland’s southeast inspired a gifted partnership for Comeragh: Mountain, Coum, River, Rumour (Whimbrel Press). Waterford photographer Paddy Dwan and poet Mark Roper spent five years on this, the third of their books devoted to the character, culture and natural history of the region. In richly textured images and prose, they portray this comparatively unsung upthrust of Munster, glacially sculpted and bathed in an often dramatic light. In this landscape, Dwan’s moments with birds are also exceptional, from crossbill and buzzard to kestrel and cuckoo. Roper fell into a ravine and broke his neck, but went on to follow the story of the mountains, woven with the local lives of those who know them best." Michael Viney, The Irish Times, 1/12/2018.
COMERAGH: MOUNTAIN, COUM, RIVER, RUMOUR
The following venues and dates have been confirmed for Readings with Slide Shows from the new book:
FRIDAY 2nd NOVEMBER, 7 PM,
Ballymacarbry Community Hall,
Ballymacarbry, Co. Waterford.
TUESDAY 6th NOVEMBER, 7 pm,
Clonmel Library, Emmet Street,
Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.
FRIDAY 9th NOVEMBER, 7 pm,
The Tudor Artisan Hub,
Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary.
WEDNESDAY 14th NOVEMBER, 7 pm,
Rathgormack Community Centre,
Rathgormack, Co. Waterford.
THURSDAY 15th NOVEMBER, 6.30 pm,
Dungarvan Library, Davitt's Quay,
Dungarvan, Co. Waterford.
TUESDAY 20th NOVEMBER, 7 pm,
St. Brigid's Hall,
Kilrossanty, Co. Waterford.
WEDNESDAY 21st NOVEMBER, 6.30 pm,
Kilmacthomas Library, Main Street,
Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford.
THURSDAY 25th OCTOBER, 8 pm, Christchurch Cathedral, Waterford
'The Requiem for Truth', a concert/performance by Stomptown Brass and Collapsing Horse Theatre Company.
During this show I will be giving a 5-minute reading, entitled 'The Truth and Puffins.'
MONDAY 22nd OCTOBER
A link to an article in the Irish Times about Comeragh:
SATURDAY 29th SEPTEMBER. 9.30 - 11 am,
KILMORE QUAY LITERATURE FESTIVAL:
Reading with Ruth Timmins. writebythesea.ie/programme-2018/
ALSO Launch of COMERAGH, MOUNTAIN, COUM, RIVER, RUMOUR, 7 pm,
The Vestibule, Theatre Royal, Waterford.
Guest Speaker Carrie Crowley.
TUESDAY 4th SEPTEMBER, 8 pm, LIMERICK:
Reading with composer and organist Eric Sweeney, and Anne Marie Kennedy, at Chez Le Fab Cafe, Arthur's Quay Park, Limerick. www.limerickwriterscentre.com
COMERAGH: MOUNTAIN, COUM, RIVER, RUMOUR:
has just been sent to the printer!
It is my third book with photographer Paddy Dwan, after THE RIVER BOOK and THE BACKSTRAND.
It will be launched at the Theatre Royal, Waterford, on Saturday 29th September, 7 pm, by Carrie Crowley.
TUESDAY 17th JULY, 8 pm, TULLAMORE:
A joint recital with composer and organist Eric Sweeney at the Church of the Assumption, Tullamore, as part of their International Summer Organ series. www.tisos.org/2018-series/words-and-music
TUESDAY 3rd JULY, 6.45 pm, CASHEL:
Reading at Cashel Library, with Grace Wells.
THURSDAY 14th JUNE, 7.15 pm, BELFAST:
Reading at the Belfast Book Festival, with James Harpur and John F. Deane. Venue: The Crescent. belfastbookfestival.com/whats-on/the-poetic-line-mark-roper
TUESDAY 12th JUNE, 2 pm, DUBLIN:
Reading for the students of the Carlow Universsity Pittsburgh MFA Programme at Trinity College, Dublin.
SUNDAY 10th JUNE, 7 pm, CARLOW:
Reading at the Carlow Arts Festival, with Jane Clarke, Maurice Devitt, Grace Wells and the Carlow Writers' Co-op. Venue: O'Hara's Festival Pavilion, St. Patrick's College.
FRIDAY 1st JUNE, 4 pm, LISTOWEL:
Reading at Listowel Writers Week, with Caoilinn Hughes and Brian Kirk, in the Listowel Arms Ballroom.
A new poem, 'OWL', has been awarded 2nd Prize in the RSPB Rialto Poetry Competition. The Judge was Michael Longley. 'OWL' will be publsihed in the autumn edition of Rialto: www.therialto.co.uk/pages
SUNDAY 6th May, 4 pm, STROKESTOWN:
Reading at the Strokestown International Poetry Festival, with Padraig Mac Fhearghusa and Mary Turley-McGrath. Programme available here.
FRIDAY 4th MAY, 6.30 pm, CARRICK-ON-SUIR:
Reading with Grace Wells at the Tudor Artisan Hub, 42 Main Street, Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary.
READINGS CONFIRMED FOR 2020
21st June Amergin Solstice Poetry Gathering, with Gerry Smyth.
POSTPONED, UNTIL 20-23rd JUNE 2021.
April 18th Poetry in Palmers Green, with Julian Bishop, Mimi Khalvati, Peter Phillips and Anne Stewart.
POSTPONED UNTIL 30th jANUARY 2021.
READINGS CONFIRMED FOR 2019
20th October Christ Church, Tramore.
18th October St. Patrick's Gateway, Waterford.
18th August St. Michael's Church, Dunlaoghaire.
28th March, Galway, Over The Edge.
11th August, Dunlaoghaire, with organist Eric Sweeney.
READINGS CONFIRMED FOR 2018
Staccato, Toner’s, Baggott Street, Dublin.
Cork International Poetry Festival.
Molly Keane House, Ardmore, Co. Waterford.
The Hub, Carrick-on-Suir.
Strokestown International Poetry Festival.
Listowel Writers’ Festival.
Carlow Arts Festival.
Belfast Book Festival.
Limerick, with organist Eric Sweeney.
Cashel Library, with Grace Wells.
Tullamore, International Summer Organ series, with Eric Sweeney.
Chez Le Fab Art Cafe, Limerick, with Eric Sweeney.
Kilmore Quay, Write By The Sea Festival, Reading and Workshop.
The Theatre Royal, Waterford,
Launch of Comeragh: Mountain, Coum, River, Rumour; by Carrie Crowley.
Granville Hotel, Waterford,
Archaeological and Historical Society Annual Lunch.
Reading from Comeragh, with slide show from Paddy Dwan.
Paddy Kehoe, RTE Website, 12.12.2017 www.rte.ie/culture/2017/reviewed-bindweed-by-mark-roper
Siobhan Campbell, Poetry Ireland Review, December 2017.
Catriona O'Reilly, The Irish Times, 13/1/2018 www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/poetry-competing-in-the-ghastly-attention