The highlight of Katie’s year so far was visiting Aras an Uachtarain in April with a group from the Irish Writers’ Centre. President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina welcomed each of the writers in person. A published poet himself and a man of great erudition, the president gave a rousing speech in support of writers and independent bookshops. There was tea and a tour of the house, which is beautiful.
In other news, Katie will be this year’s judge for the Yeovil Poetry Competition (UK).
She enjoyed visiting St Dominic’s Secondary School for girls in Belfast to give a poetry reading in February, hosted by poet Maureen Boyle, who teaches English at the school.
Katie was delighted to have a poem selected for the Poetry Jukebox project, which is in Belfast, curated by Belfast poets Maria McManus and Deirdre Cartmill.
Katie gave an illustrated talk entitled “A Writer in the Family” at the RHA in March. This was part of the “Expert Workshop” series run by Eneclann, the Family History genealogists.
She is pleased to have two new poems in the forthcoming issue of “The Interpreter’s House”.
In April she was the subject of Sophie Grenham’s lovely “Writer’s Block” series for the online version of “The Gloss” magazine.
Katie recently gave the launch speech for a new exhibition of photographs entitled “Ghostlight” by poet/photographer Mark Granier (on view at DLR Lexicon, in the library during May).
Katie was the recipient of the 2017 Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry. She travelled to St Paul, Minnesota in April to accept the Award.
“She has always been a poet of the body, including the body in love, the maternal body, and, sadly, the mortal body. Donovan’s collections avoid the now usual kinds of well-made Irish poetry – the lyric, the elegy, the pastoral. Instead we hear urban talk, echoes of popular music, sometimes in tones and situations borrowed from the American idiom of the Blues…For the intensity and conviction of her poetry, in recognition of the great range of both her craft and her subject matter, and appreciation of her ongoing dedication to the witness and vocation of the writer, the University of St Thomas and the Center for Irish Studies are honored to present Katie Donovan with the twenty-first O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry.”
Katie was delighted to see “Off Duty” (Bloodaxe) on the shortlist for the Irish Times/Poetry Now Award, 2017. The winner was Paddy Bushe. Also shortlisted were Paula Meehan, Tom McCarthy and Macdara Woods. She enjoyed being in such company.
Katie has had fantastic responses from readers and writers alike since the publication of “Off Duty” in 2016. The launch in Dublin’s Hodges Figgis, was packed out, and Mary O’Malley gave a wonderful launch speech. The Belfast launch in the cosy No Alibis bookshop in November was a very special night, hosted by poets Maria McManus and Maureen Boyle (who gave Katie a terrific introduction). Katie was delighted to read to a full house in Tallaght in October as part of the excellent Red Line Festival.
Two radio interviews later (BBC and RTE 1), Katie has also been interviewed by poet Nessa O’Mahoney as part of the Attic Sessions podcast series. She is proud to have a poem in both “Inside History”, an anthology dedicated to Eavan Boland edited by Nessa and Siobhan Campbell published by Arlen House; and in “Washing Windows?” an anthology of poetry by Irish women published by Arlen as a gift to Eavan in December 2016.
In February 2017 Katie read to a packed house with the wonderful Bernard O’Donoghue at the Cork International Poetry Festival – always a pleasure – and in March she was featured at Poetry Now, reading with longtime friend and fellow Bloodaxe poet, Harry Clifton.
Katie was delighted to read her poems in June at the 2017 Dalkey Book Festival. This is her local literary bash and is now highly successful.
She gave a reading at the wonderful Books Upstairs in Dublin, along with poet friends Siobhan Campbell and Jean O’Brien (both of whom have published new collections recently).
In July Katie read at the John Hewitt Summer School with the immensely talented English poet Denise O’Riley.
In September she read at the Shorelines Festival in Portumna Co Galway with fellow Bloodaxe poet, Leanne O’Sullivan.
She took the stage with the fabulous Mary O’Malley at the 40th Clifden Arts Festival.
In November she linked up again with Siobhan Campbell, and also Jane Clarke (author of the acclaimed poetry collection “The River”) to give a reading at the gorgeous Rathgar Bookshop – the last, as the bookshop then went up for sale. A very emotional occasion.
Katie features in a new venture by Bloodaxe Books entitled “In Person: World Poets”, a Book/DVD anthology of poetry by a selection of Bloodaxe poets, published in 2017.
To round off a busy year, Katie had a poem included in an anthology of poems inspired by Ovid’s “Metamorphosis”. Edited by Nessa O’Mahony and Paul Munden, the book is entitled “Metamorphic” and features a wide variety of voices.
This powerful new collection combines Donovan’s unflinching insight into our human foibles with her exceptional descriptive gift. The years of her husband’s throat cancer are charted in poems by turns tender, harsh and darkly humorous. Donovan voices the carer’s duty of being the one who watches, and contains, what is both a searing tragedy and a chain link of domestic chores.The title poems resists the classic definition of the grieving widow, instead capturing one of Donovan’s enduring motifs – the moment when the mask slips and the true human response is revealed.
Katie did a radio interview on Arts Daily, a BBC World Service magazine programme called Outlook, aired 12th October – if you want a listen go to http://www.bloodaxebooks.com/news?articleid=653
She was also interviewed on RTE 1’s Poetry Programme, by Rick O’Shea.
Katie’s fourth collection, “Rootling: New and Selected Poems”, which was published in 2010, is now available as an e book.
Purchase Rootling at amazon.co.uk
Comment from Holly Meyers on “Yearn On”, a love poem by Katie:
“I recently received your poem from my significant other. It was the most beautiful poem I have ever read…Thank you for being such a passionate soul and putting into words what others need.”