On Saturday Kilkenny writer Nuala Roche was awarded first prize at Dromineer Literary Festival for her poem ‘Yoga at Heritage Council HQ’.
This year’s judge was poet Colette Bryce, award-winning author of four poetry collections.
Nuala’s work has featured regularly in the Kilkenny Arts Office Poetry Broadsheet. Two of her poems were selected for this year’s Broadsheet which was launched at Kilkenny Arts Festival by Paul Muldoon and Broadsheet guest editor Kimberly Campanello.
“The Broadsheet has been a great incentive for me to keep writing, along with the professional development literature courses that Mary Butler has developed at the Arts Office. After mentoring sessions with a poet last year, I decided to focus on pushing my work out into the world - submitting to journals, competitions and publishers.”
Ten years ago, it was a Kilkenny Arts Office bursary that led to Nuala attending a Poetry Workshop in Dingle, facilitated by Colette Bryce – “That was a terrific opportunity. Colette had recommended some poets to me and said it was an exciting time as I was finding my voice. I had been a bit disappointed because I thought I was further along on that journey. In hindsight, she was so right and it’s a neat turn of events for me that she judged the Dromineer competition. I admire her work very much.”
Next spring Nuala will launch her first publication - a collection of STEAM (steam, technology, arts, and maths) poetry. “My computing degree is Software Development and I was more interested in the ideas around computing than writing code; especially in relation to how people interact with technology and users’ experience with often poorly-designed software. Programmers talk about writing ‘elegant code’, meaning code that is simple, concise and functional so there are parallels with poetry. That is what the poet aims for – an elegant solution to each line in the context of the overall programme, i.e. the poem!”
Nuala is a long-standing member of Women in Technology & Science (WITS) and has upcoming plans for a research trip to Bletchley Park – site of the World War II code-breakers, many of whom were women. “The National Computing History Museum is on the Bletchley site and I will be looking for insights to rework some unfinished poems. There will be short explanations of technical terms accompanying some of the poems in the collection so I will also looking as to how best to present this information in a compelling way.”
In May Nuala performed an excerpt from her first play at Hatch, a works-in-progress evening at Visual Carlow. The play, Over There, will be produced in 2017.
Yoga in the Heritage Council HQ
(formerly the Bishop’s Palace)
I’ll wager I’m not the only woman
in the last six hundred years to spend her
lunch-hour in the bishop's bedroom, striking
a Downward Dog. Feet planted square to hands,
arse in air, face to tower-house wall, its
medieval window preserved in steel,
sealing echoes from the Middle Ages:
a bishop's cry of alarm — night terrors.
His glistening noggin under the four-
poster, the furtive look through the fringes
of his brat-cloak. From the hearth a cow face
moons at him, her steam-breath warming the floor
but in her dolorous expression he
soon detects a womanly sorcery.