Writing Against the Dark – what we ignore will never forgive us.

With so much that is frightening and unknown in our everyday lives, does poetry have a role? In this series of workshops we will look at how poems can challenge, comfort and speak truth. The value of our voices. We will seek inspiration in the everyday, from the planet where we live and our place in the cosmos. From our human experiences, both comforting and troubling. In what we can’t ignore.

The course is designed to be both encouraging and supportive but at the same time to challenge participants to extend their skills. Workshops will involve reading of contemporary poems, writing exercises and prompts, and opportunities for feedback on participants work.

Workshops will take place on Zoom, Tuesday evenings 7.00pm to 9.00pm. Start date 27th September, for 8 weeks. Last workshop 22nd November. Cost £150. Payment by bank transfer or PayPal.

Contact me at moyradonaldson@yahoo.co.uk to book a place – or if there is anything you would like to ask, please just get in touch.

Did you know that a white Chrysanthemum symbolises truth? Or Lily of the Valley the return of happiness? This workshop will look at the meanings ascribed to flowers and explore some ‘flowery’ poems, providing prompts for creating your own posy of poems.

Date – 9th August 7.00 – 9.00pm via zoom.

Cost £20 payable via PayPal

Message me if you would like to join this workshop. Suitable for everyone.

To celebrate the one year anniversary of Bone House, anyone who orders a copy of it, or of Carnivorous, will receive a free copy of The Horse’s Nest or Snakeskin Stilettos. Just let me know which you would prefer. Books can be ordered through the website. This offer will run until the end of the month.

Happy Easter everyone!

Now that we have moved into the new year, perhaps it’s the right time to think of signing up for some workshops. I’ve been facilitating this series for Macha Productions over the last couple of years via zoom and have had some great feedback from participants. If you would like to jump start your poetry and develop new work, this is an opportunity to do that in the company of other poets. Designed to be both supportive and encouraging – the link is below – or if you would like some more information – just get in touch


It is always lovely to have a poem in an anthology. To see a piece of work in the context of others on the same theme. I’ve been lucky enough to have poems in two new anthologies from Dedalus Press. A Different Eden is a gorgeous book, containing Ecopoetry from Ireland and Galicia, edited by Keith Payne, Lorna Shaughnessy and Martin Veiga. It reflects a growing awareness of the fragility of the ecosystems we inhabit and a vision of a better future.

Local Wonders is an anthology of new poems from poets all over Ireland, recording and celebrating precious place and things, with a focus on what we love in these uncertain times.

I have attached a link below if anyone would like to purchase either of these books. I think they would make great Christmas presents – or is it too early to use the C word!


Three days ago, news reverberated through the equestrian community that four horses had been killed in a horrific road accident in Scotland. The lorry they were travelling in had broken down, just half an hour away from its destination at Blair where the horses were due to be competing this weekend. Sitting on the grass bank at the side of the road, the owners watched helplessly as a truck slammed into the back of the horse lorry. Two of the horses were killed outright and two had to be euthanised at the scene.

As someone who has loved horses my entire life, I could only too easily imagine the devastation the owners of these horses must be feeling. The close bond that a rider feels to the horses they ride is very special. These riders and horses had been working together for years, building trust and a common purpose – trying their hearts out for each other. There is something innocent about a horse, something pure. The thought of their suffering is unbearable to those of us who know and love them. I can’t get the images and imagined sounds of this accident out of my mind. It has moved me to tears. At the same time I’m watching images on the news of the horrific events and terrible suffering of people in Afghanistan. So many awful things in the world – I question if the death of four horses should be taking any of my attention in the face of our human losses and global horrors. But somehow it does.

This poem from Ada Limon came to mind. A poem that I first read during lockdown, when I was feeling jaded about poetry. It gave me the same feeling I had as a teenager when I found a poem that cut through to my heart. Maybe it’s ok to cry about horses.


May 20, 2014

Six horses died in a tractor-trailer fire. 
There. That’s the hard part. I wanted
to tell you straight away so we could
grieve together. So many sad things, 
that’s just one on a long recent list
that loops and elongates in the chest, 
in the diaphragm, in the alveoli. What
is it they say, heart-sick or downhearted? 
I picture a heart lying down on the floor
of the torso, pulling up the blankets
over its head, thinking the pain will
go on forever (even though it won’t). 
The heart is watching Lifetime movies
and wishing, and missing all the good
parts of her that she has forgotten. 
The heart is so tired of beating
herself up, she wants to stop it still, 
but also she wants the blood to return, 
wants to bring in the thrill and wind of the ride, 
the fast pull of life driving underneath her. 
What the heart wants? The heart wants
her horses back.