Irish American Writers & Artists

May 9, 2017

5.4.17 IAW&A Salon: Sensational Gathering of Poets, Actors and Singers

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 3:28 am

By Karen Daly

Maureen Walsh Hossbacher and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, IAW&A’s inimitable sister act, produced and co-hosted a sensational early May Salon at Bar Thalia. They gathered a distinguished group of poets, actors and singers, adding new talents to our roster and bringing out a lively crowd.

IMG_9294       Maureen Walsh Hossbacher and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy. Photo by Tom Mahon.

First of the night’s wonderful poets and new presenters, KC Trommer is a prizewinner (Academy of American Poets and the 2015 Fugue Poetry Prize) and author of a chapbook The Hasp Tongue (Dancing Girl Press). Tonight she read new poems that will appear in her next collection, including “Fear Not, Mary” and “When We See.” KC says she chose work that “speaks to the current political moment and are concerned with women’s agency and about how we can work together to create real change.” KC, pictured at right, will be the featured reader at the Queens Central Library on May 21 at 2 pm. For more information, please go to


In her first Salon, Kelly Sullivan, (at left) a poet, fiction writer and teacher of Irish literature at New York University, read from her chapbook, Fell Year, published just last month by Green Bottle Press Kelly’s poem’s included “Mount Desert Island, Maine.”  Her knowledge of Irish art is revealed in  “Anatomy School for Artists” which depicts the great stained glass artist Harry Clarke in Dublin in 1913. Kelly’s recent work has been published in SalmagundiThe Hopkins ReviewUnderwater New York and The Clearing (UK). For more information about her poetry and fiction as well as her academic work on Irish writers and artists, at

dsc_0011.jpg                                   Tom Mahon

With his usual panache, Tom Mahon read from his story “Going After Bigfoot.” A young man helping his brother-in-law catch a fugitive before he crosses the Canadian border learns that the wanted man is large, irrational and dangerous. Though frightened, the young man aids his incompetent relative because he needs the money. Tom gave away copies of his children’s book Little Bigfoot created when his son was young and was fascinated with the myth of Bigfoot.

10409068_10152923703471225_7181618541252853921_n-1A new member of IAW&A, and first time presenter, actor and writer Matthew Maw is a native of Belfast and a graduate of NYU’s Irish Studies program. Currently experiencing the joy of being processed for a green card, he eloquently explored the theme of the immigrant as ‘stranger.’ First he read Kipling’s “The Stranger Within My Gates” and then Shakespeare’s masterful pro-refugee speech from his work Sir Thomas More. Matthew says he chose the two pieces to demonstrate that “the traditions of humanism, empathy and understanding will always win out over bigotry.” Matthew is pictured at left.


Another newcomer to IAW&A (this was her second performance) Ailbhe Fitzpatrick is another multi-talent: a singer, music producer, pianist, documentary filmmaker and fluent Irish speaker. Ailbhe sang two emotional songs: the ballad “The Parting Glass” and the 18th century folk song, “Mo Ghile Mear” (“My Gallant Darling”) by Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill, a lament for a loved one in exile.

aidbhe                                           Ailbhe Fitzpatrick


Madeline Artenberg, at right,  began creating and performing poetry at the famed Nuyorican Poets Café in the 90’s.  She has been writing, performing and studying ever since, and collecting prizes and accolades for her work. In her Salon debut, her work dealt with women’s relationships and empowerment: between a wife and a Sultan (in the sensual “The Sultan’s Wife”) a daughter and mother in “After Death” and a woman poet and a blind man. In addition to her poetry in print and online publications, Madeline co-authored the play The Old In-and-Out, which was produced in New York in 2013 and is based on her poetry and that of Karen Hildebrand. She will be featured next in the show at the Cornelia Street Cafe on May 19, What Were the ’60s REALLY Like?  More information at

We’ve been eager to have Rosette Capotorto back after her appearance at last year’s Salon with the Italian- American writers group. A poet and author of Bronx Italian, she is a two-time recipient of the Edward Albee Fellowship Award. Rosette’s work has appeared in The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture, and in Curragia: Writings by Women of Italian Descent.  She read her poems “Mother of A Priest” and “Broken Windows,” which documents Hoboken’s renaissance.rosette.jpg                                Rosette Capotorto. Photo by Christopher Booth.

Jack DiMonte and Guen Donohue reprised their stellar roles as Stanley Kowalski and Blanche DuBois in a scene from Thom Molyneaux’s new play Tennessee’s Waltz. Their meeting, years after the events in A Streetcar Named Desire, took a metaphysical twist. Thom appreciated the audience response and promises to reveal another section soon at IAW&A.

    Thom Molyneaux, left.  Jack DiMonte, Guen Donohue. Photos by Tom Mahon.

As one of the famous Irish Tenors, Karl Scully has performed all over the world. He’s performed in the operas Carmen, Cosi Fan Tutti and Lucia De Lammermoor, and in the film Nora, he played the legendary John McCormack. Karl feels very much at home at IAW&A, where is becoming a legend himself with his glorious voice. He closed the show with “My Lagan Love” and with the Malachy McCourt anthem, “Go, Lassie, Go.”

karl.jpg                                 Karl Scully.  Photo by Cat Dwyer.

Speaking of Malachy, the next Salon will launch his newest book, Death Need Not Be Fatal, with stories and song. Don’t miss it.

That’s Tuesday, May 16, 7 pm at The Cell, 338 West 23rd Street, NYC



April 11, 2017

4.6.17 IAWA Salon: Fabulous night at the Thalia: Heartfelt poetry, superb acting and original music

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 12:14 am

By Karen Daly

Photos by Gordon Gilbert, Jr.

A great audience for the April Salon at Bar Thalia  was rewarded with wonderful poetry, skillful comic performances, exceptional music and three Salon debut presentations.

Cormac OMalleyCormac O’Malley, at right, returned to the Salon with poems by his father, the militant Irish nationalist and literary character Ernie O’Malley (1897-1957). When O’Malley lived in the US in the 1930’s, he wrote romantic, nostalgic poems about Ireland including “Picturesque Connemara,” “County Mayo” and “Mary Anne Jordan.” Other works reflected the struggle for independence and those who did not survive it. They include “Ghosts,” “Friends Shot in Gaol” and “Mountjoy Hanged, 1921.” Cormac will launch his books Modern Ireland and Revolution, Ernie O’Malley in Context and Western Ways: Remembering Mayo Through the Eyes of Helen Hooker and Ernie O’Malley with the First Irish and IAW&A members at the Maple Cafe, 938 Maple Avenue in Hartford on Friday, April 28, 9pm.

mauraMayo native Maura Mulligan read two poems about Ireland’s beauty. “Dawning of the Day” evokes the morning mist on Minaun Cliffs. She composed it during her writer’s residency at the Heinrich Böll cottage on Achill Island, where she worked on her memoir, Call of the Lark. “Evening in Dooagh” was inspired by a windy evening in the village of Dooagh. Maura founded Nollaig na mBan NYC, a group of artists dedicated to celebrating Celtic holidays to fundraise for The Dwelling Place of NY – a transitional residence for homeless women in NYC. The next event, celebrating Bealtaine will take place on Sunday, April 30th at Ripley Grier Studios, 520 8th Ave at 3:30 p.m. For more information,

Maria Deasy and Sarah Lafferty gave wonderfully comic performances as a less-than-loving mother and daughter in Dyin’ for It by Dublin born playwright Derek Murphy. As the man of the house is upstairs fighting for his life, the women fight over the merits of being kidnapped and tortured overseas vs. staying home in Ireland and being kidnapped and tortured. Their argument is prompted by the Taken movies starring Liam Neeson.

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Maria Deasy reads the movie reviews, while Sarah Lafferty,  playing her daughter, waits.

Bernadette Cullen read two beautiful, topical poems: “Conversation in Black and White” and a piece that contrasted the words of Emma Lazarus inscribed on the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…”) with the US response to the tragedy in Syria. Our audience responded with tears to this moving work.

Bernadette Cullen, Freddie White

The fabulous Freddie White sang three original songs — “Some Stupid Song” and “Last Man Standing” from his latest CD Prodigal Songs and “That Loving Touch” from his Better Days CD. For more about this singer/songwriter/musician, go to where you can find listings for his upcoming performances.

Salon newcomer Ailbhe Fitzpatrick brought her many talents to New York a year and a half ago. A singer, music producer, pianist and documentary filmmaker from Dublin, she demonstrated her beautiful voice by singing the Patrick Kavanagh poem “Raglan Road” set to the music of “Dawning of the Day” by Luke Kelly and Patrick Kavanagh. As an encore, Ailbhe sang the traditional ballad “Red Is The Rose. Hear her again at the first May Salon.

Ailbhe Fitzpatrick, left.  Sheila Houlihan

A great Salon supporter, Sheila Houlihan  was delighted with the reception of her first-ever attempt at writing a poem. Her autobiographical poem, “When I Was A Child” highlights the popular music that formed the soundtrack her life. Of Elvis, she writes

Those hips didn’t lie. New sounds and rhythm of his guitar.

Passing fad. Devil’s music, said the critics.

Yet its pulse spoke to me…


Another poet new to IAW&A, Indiana born Miranda J. Stinson moved to Brooklyn in 2016, after a year in Ireland. Miranda shared some of her work, including “Trench Cello,”  “My Father Thought the Bomb Would Drop on Minnesota,” and a beautiful love poem  called  “Sorcha.” Miranda, pictured at left,  works in publishing and will be participating in the New York Rose of Tralee selection night on April 30, 2017.

Producer of the Irish American Film Festival, Ed Patterson has written a screenplay called Separation Anxiety. Ed calls it “a love story of a middle-aged couple on their anniversary…” though they’re not quite loving when we first meet them. Maria Deasy played Ed’s wife, and Sarah Lafferty the babysitter in the engaging segment we heard tonight.ed, etc

Ed Patterson, Maria Deasy and Sarah Lafferty.

Salon producer John Kearns presented a brand-new song whose title he came up with during John Munnelly’s Songwriting Bootcamp at the Irish Arts Center. John had the crowd singing along to “They Wouldn’t Call Them Crushes If They Didn’t Hurt Your Heart.” The song tells four stories in which the narrator develops feelings for a woman — a coworker, a bartender, a fellow student, and a singer — but the relationship doesn’t work out.

John Kearns, left.  John Munnelly

Then John Munnelly himself closed the show with four songs from his soon-to-be-released acoustic EP Expanding Universe or XU. They included “Kings and Jesters,” “Angels Tears” “ Expanding Universe” and “Hallelujah (Encore).” John recorded them in Brooklyn with a trio of acoustic guitars, vocals and an upright bass. A graphic artist, John is handcrafting each CD cover. Watch this space for the XU release show and come support a Salon favorite.


March 28, 2017

3.21.17 IAW&A SALON: 3 Playwrights. 3 Poets. Killer Fiction and Soulful Music

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 6:29 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Cat Dwyer

That’s a recipe for a stimulating IAW&A Salon at The Cell. Even post-St. Pat’s, there’s no let-up in talent or audience enthusiasm. We were particularly happy to welcome two new presenters, Meredith Trede and Freddie White and to hear a fine tribute to Jimmy Breslin.

Gary Cahill opened the evening with his short-short story “Responsorial”a taut, edgy, dark tale of Irish-American revenge for a decades-old IRA killing, and the sorrow that lived on in a Hell’s Kitchen denizen’s broken heart. Gary is a member of the Mystery Writers of America New York Chapter and International Thriller Writers. Catch Gary reading from his crime novel-in-progress on Saturday, April 15th at 7:00 pm at the KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th Street.

Brent Shearer, who says he’s now a “blaggard living on the lower West Side,” started out as a reporter for a local New Jersey newspaper, where he became smitten with the great journalist Jimmy Breslin. Brent read a fine essay about Breslin who died last week. As Jimmy put it in his last column, “Thanks for the use of the hall.”

Gary Cahill, left.  Brent Shearer

In her first Salon visit, Meredith Trede read from her recent collection of poems, “Tenement Threnody” poems in voices from Inwood, her childhood New York City neighborhood. Called “wonderfully evocative persona poems of Irish-American tenement life,” they are the latest in her prize-winning body of work. Find it at  Meredith “appreciated the friendliness and enthusiasm” of Salon goers.

We benefitted from Marcia Loughran’s recent Lenten vow to try to produce a poem a day. She read two of her resulting poems “Birds, Trains, Birds” and “Take Two” in which she reminisced about going to movies with her father. Marcia also shared her signature “messay” or mini essay, about the journey of her stolen credit card. Her chapbook, “Still Life with Weather” said to be “full of music” is available at

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Meredith Trede, left.  Marcia Loughran


John Kearns, pictured at right,  read a short scene from his play, Sons of Molly Maguire. Mine owner and prosecutor Franklin B. Gowen declares that the accused Molly Maguires have offended the majesty of the law, stand in the way of progress, and must be hanged as an example to others. When undercover detective James McParland enters, he tells Gowen that he shares his goals and is disgusted that the Molly Maguires call themselves Irishmen. We’re happy to announce that our Salon producer and host’s play will be staged in Dublin in May

In Thom Molyneaux’s Tennessee’s Waltz, Stanley Kowalski meets Blanche DuBois some years after Streetcar Named Desire. The result was a scene that was serious, funny and mysterious. Jack DiMonte and Guenevere Donohue brought Stanley and Blanche to vivid life.

THOM.jpgHost John Kearns thanking actors Jack DiMonte and  Guenevere Donohue and playwright Thom Molyneaux


Poet, playwright and man about Greenwich Village, Gordon Gilbert, Jr. read the lyrics to a song he created in the style of Bob Dylan, “When Her World Caught Fire.” He followed with a short love poem, “Forever In-Between” and a light-hearted piece titled “An Old Lover Stays Over.” Gordon, pictured at left also hosts spoken word events at the Cornelia Street Café.

Dublin born playwright Derek Murphy presented two scenes from his comic play Inside Danny’s Box, which he calls “a love story of sorts, set in Ireland.” Actors Sarah Lafferty and Zack Gafin had remarkable chemistry in that love story.


Sarah Lafferty, Zach Gavin

Guenevere Donohue’s original song “The Spirit Rises” is her soulful take on the spirit of rebellion, and the positive effects of self-sacrifice, challenge, and change.

Guenevere Donohue, Freddie White

Speaking of soulful, Cork-born musician Freddie White has been a vital part of Ireland’s music scene since the 1970s and has been recognized throughout the world for his multiple talents. Tonight he sang two original songs form his recent CD “Prodigal Songs.” Freddie’s exquisite rendition of “The Parting Glass” was a perfect end to our evening.

See you next time, Thursday, April 6, 7 pm at Bar Thalia.

March 15, 2017

3/2/17 – First IAW&A Salon of March an Engaging Mix of Regulars & Newer Presenters

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February 28, 2017

2.21.17 IAW&A Salon: Hearing fresh new voices, poets and storytellers

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 10:29 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Cat Dwyer


We welcomed new voices at the IAW&A Salon at the Cell on February 21 and they in turn appreciated the warm reception. Pat Lavin thanks us for having “a great, supportive audience” and says she was honored to “share the stage with such exceptional talent.”

Gordon Gilbert, Jr., pictured at left started off the night taking us from the political – with excerpts from his satirical piece titled “Dee Jay T and the Deplorables in the Battle of the Bands” –  to the sublime, with a love poem “Contemplating A Distant Love,” in recognition of Valentine’s Day just celebrated

lavinIn her Cell debut Pat Lavin read “I Am Crimson,” invoking red images in nature and life, dedicating the poem to “our bruised little planet.” Unsurprisingly, Pat’s favorite color is red and she says, “…the poem wrote itself! I sat down at my computer, blinked, and when I opened my eyes…there it was on the screen.”  A Certified Hypnotherapist, journalist and writer whose work has been published nationwide, Pat works with creative people to overcome blocks and free the imagination. For more info, see Pat Garrett Lavin on Facebook.

Distinguished actress Rosina Fernhoff performed a scene from The Conversion of Alice B. Toklas by Carol Polcovar. In this one-woman play, Toklas steps out of the shadow of her late love Gertrude Stein and talks about her dream to become a Catholic. Rosina has performed this role at The Fresh Fruit Festival where she won the Outstanding Actor Award and she hopes to recreate the role this year or next.

 Rosina Fernoff, left.  Amy Barone

Another first time presenter, Amy Barone read poems from her yet-to-be published first full collection, We Became Summer, as well as work from her latest chapbook, Kamikaze Dance. Her work is inspired by the essence of place, music and her adopted homes of Milan and New York City.

Mary Deady ended the Salon’s first half by singing two songs in her exquisite voice. Each was a love song, of sorts. The West Cork ballad  “The Blue Handkerchief” is about a young couple.  In “Times Like This” from the Broadway musical Lucky Stiff, a woman yearns for that most faithful companion, a dog.

Mary Deady, left. Olivier Sublet and Maria Deasy

Maria Deasy and Olivier Sublet starred in a scene from  Derek Murphy’s play currently in development, Dyin’ For It, a dark comedy all about dying and deciding not to.  Murphy’s play Appendage just completed a successful at Theatre for the New City in the East Village.

Nina Sokol’s poems have appeared in such journals as Miller’s Pond and The Hiram Poetry Review. Tonight she read from her poetry collection Escape and Other Poems, which was published by Lapwing Publications, a poetry press in Belfast. A resident of Denmark, Nina will be making an audio version of her work in connection for The Missouri Review and promises to return when she visits New York.

                        Nina Sokol, left.  Aimee O’Sullivan

Aimee O’Sullivan’s Salon introduction was a powerful short poem/monologue about the struggle in equality and sexuality between men and women. Aimee says she was “somewhat influenced by Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth” in creating this work, with its reoccurring theme of regality.

Host John Kearns’s latest episode from his nearly completed novel, Worlds, is set in late 1970s suburban Philadelphia. Frustrated about how her house looks, Janey Logan goes out shopping for new shoes. When a pair of blue heels catches her eye in the window of Florsheim’s, she enters the store to find that the mother of her son’s friend now works there. Embarrassed as the woman helps her try on the shoes, Janey decides that she can’t make such a frivolous purchase while her friend is struggling to make ends meet. In an act of kindness, she puts money aside for the woman’s son. John’s happy to announce that his play, Sons of Molly Maguire, will be staged on May 10th and 11th at Dublin’s Liberty Hall: Sons of Molly Maguire, a drama by John Kearns

                      John Kearns, Maura Mulligan

Rúile Búile on the Bus” describes Maura Mulligan’s recent experience as a passenger in a broken-down bus in the Lincoln Tunnel. It’s an Irish term meaning confusion or chaos. Maura was returning home from IAW&A’s transatlantic Salon with Belfast. Not only was the bus stopped, scared passengers started the rumor that the driver was a terrorist. Calming herself by recalling the Belfast art: images of hats and lines of poetry, Maura blocked out the rúile búile on the bus. Maura Mulligan is author of the memoir, Call of the Lark and teaches Irish language and céilí dancing and enjoys performing sean nós (old style) dancing. She is founder of Nollaig na mBan NYC – a group of artists dedicated to supporting a women’s shelter – The Dwelling Place of New York: Check her soon to be updated website:

Salon newcomer Gerry Maguire’s poem “Phil McDonnell’s Fire,” written 15 years ago, recalled carefree nights in a small community nestled in the foothills of Cuilcagh Mountain in west County Cavan. Phil McDonnell acted as teacher, priest and friend to a rambunctious group of teenagers. In his glory days, strangers arrived at his house eager to have their fortunes told and “darkness” lifted from their lives. He entertained them with music, songs and stories. Through emigration, Phil’s fireside grew quiet, with only an occasional visitor. Gerry gifted him with this poem when Phil was in a nursing home, blind and melancholy, with no one to entertain – and he loved it.

                           Gerry Maguire, left.  John Skocik

Singer/songwriter/musician John Paul Skocik closed the full night by trying out some engaging new material in progress. Finishing with “The American Dream,” an important tune about what we assume we are entitled to and learning what really matters.

Two reminders: Next Salon will be Thursday, March 2 at Bar Thalia.

Don’t forget St. Pat’s for All Parade Sunday, March 5.

February 7, 2017

2.2.17 IAW&A SALON: History on tap at Bar Thalia, plus poets, and at least one saint

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 9:15 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Gordon Gilbert, Jr.

History — actual, mythological and personal — was on the agenda at the early February IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia. In addition, we had several poets, at least one saint and possibly some sinners.

Singer/songwriter/artist John Munnelly, armed with his poetry instead of his guitar, showed another facet of his creativity. He read three short poems: “The Great God of Battle (Lies),” “The Revenant” and “I Am from Dirt.” John also read the lyrics to his latest single, “Nowhere Without You.” To hear the sweet love song, and spend a few imaginary minutes in Antigua, see his video and be sure to share the link



John Munnelly. Photo by Christopher Booth.

In the history department, Patrick Mahoney gave us glimpses of some of the fascinating characters in From a Land Beyond the Wave: Connecticut’s Irish Rebels 1798-1916, just published by The Connecticut Irish-American Historical Society. Pat, a PhD student, co-authored this volume together with Neil Hogan, to tell the story of the Connecticut Irish who joined and supported Ireland’s fight for independence.

You can meet the authors at the book’s launch on Friday, February 24, from 5 pm to 9 pm at the Maple Cafe, 938 Maple Avenue, Hartford. Pat Mahoney and Neil Hogan will read, along with other guests. They’ll be followed by a traditional music session, led by John Whelan and Jeanne Freeman of the Connecticut Academy of Irish Music. All traditional musicians are welcome to join the session. Producer Ed Patterson invites everyone to the event and he promises a lively night of books, music and craic.

Pat Mahoney, left.  Cormac O’Malley

Cormac O’Malley, an author and son of Ernie O’Malley (militant nationalist, author, art critic and historian) read from his father’s renowned memoir, On Another Man’s Wound. The lyrical passage describes the rustic landscape that Ernie cycled through while he was on the run in the IRA. Cormac talked about Ernie O’Malley’s life with the IRA in the War of Independence and later in the Irish Civil War. Captured and seriously wounded, he went on a 41-day hunger strike, avoiding execution because he was too weak to stand trial. Cormac O’Malley has edited has Modern Ireland and Revolution: Ernie O’Malley in Context, pubbed by Glucksman/Ireland House. Leading Irish and Irish-American academics in examine O’Malley’s life relating to literature, modern arts and photography in Ireland, his role in the War of Independence including its depiction in the movie The Wind that Shakes the Barley.

 Jack DiMonte shared his fascination with the history of the Great American Songbook, singing two ballads composed by Harry Warren: “This Heart of Mine” and “I Wish I Knew.” Warren, a lesser-known but most prolific songwriter wrote many of the best-loved and best-known songs from the 1920s through the 1950s, primarily for Hollywood, including the score of the movie 42nd Street.

100_5942 Jack DiMonte

Actor and writer Nancy Oda shared the legends of the goddess Brigid, forerunner of St. Brigid, who is celebrated on February 1st. A harbinger of spring, symbolized by milk and dairy products, Brigid is a triple Celtic goddess. She represents the fire of inspiration, fire of the hearth and of the forge. Thus she is a patroness of poets, writers, mothers, and artisans, who are well represented in IAW&A.

Nancy Oda, left.  Bernadette Cullen

The poet Bernadette Cullen read two poems. The first poem was a meditation on Andrew Wyeth’s haunting painting “Christina’s World,” in which she says I have not moved. Bernadette calls “Requiem” “a poetic narrative on the political climate in this country in the wake of Trump’s election.”

Salon producer and host John Kearns reports that his novel, Worlds, an Irish American family story, is nearly finished. In 1890s Philadelphia, young Seamus Logan makes suggestions to his boss about how he can improve his construction company’s tough business.  After his boss fails to take his ideas seriously, Seamus wanders the streets of South Philly and decides to stop into Boyle’s Tavern to see a friend who has encouraged Seamus to go into business for himself.

Ed Patterson, in addition to producing the Irish American Film Festival, is a writer. Tonight he sampled his new screenplay, about a suburban couple going out to celebrate their anniversary.  In the process they  discover who they’re not and rediscover their own love. We look forward to hearing more and seeing where the story ends.

John Kearns, left.  Ed Patterson

Raised by Nuns and Drunks is the title of Kathleen Vaughan’s memoir-in-progress. Kathleen and her family arrived from Co. Cork when she was a year and a half old. When she was five, after her mother died, she and two of her four siblings were placed into the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Home, an orphanage in the Bronx. “It will be only for six months,” said her overwhelmed father. Seven and a half years later Kathleen went home. Tonight, she read an excerpt describing an indelible incident that took place during a relatively rare weekend visit home to 11 Hillside Avenue.

Kathleen Vaughn, left.  Brent Shearer

Brent Shearer, who dubs himself NYC’s oldest unemerged writer, presented his short story “Skirts Up, Jeans Down, Butts Bare” to a mixed audience response. He was happy with the reaction of the Thalia’s bartenders, noting that he has “followed in the footsteps of the McCourts for whom diversity and inclusion are core values.” He adds that “the community Malachy and others created performed its essential function well…” at the Thalia.

Marcia Loughran shared a good-natured ode to the IAW&A Salons, plus her poem about a New Yorker visiting LA in January.  Her chapbook, “Still Life with Weather” said to be “full of music” is available on Amazon and Barnes and

Marcia Loughran, left.  Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt brought a very full night to a close with his usual words of wisdom, humor  and song.

Mark your calendar:

Next salon will be Tuesday, February 21, 7 pm at The Cell.

St. Pat’s-for-All Parade on 3/5 on Concert on 3/3. For full details, go to


Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy spreads the word about St. Pat’s-for-All.

Photo by Christopher Booth.




January 25, 2017

1-17-17 IAW&A Transatlantic Salon with Belfast Artists

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 12:27 am

by John Kearns
Photos by John Kearns, Sile B. Fee, and Bronagh Lawson

On Tuesday January 17th, Irish American Writers and Artists held a special event — a transatlantic salon in which New York and Belfast artists shared their work via Google Hangouts.  Bronagh Lawson hosted the artists in Belfast and John Kearns hosted in New York.


Bronagh Lawson

Bronagh Lawson is a visual artist/ curator and art blogger who has been tracking the emerging Belfast art scene since 2010. Bronagh is a long-term collaborator with Suellen Semekoiski from School of Art Institute Chicago, looking at Art and its impact on healing violence.  Her 2016 exhibition,  The Ebb and Flow of East Belfast was exhibited at as part of the 1916-2016 Commemorations supported by British Council and An Roinn Ealaion Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, the Department of Arts and Gaeltacht. Bronagh’s work based on the experience of visiting every church in Belfast for a service to is to be completed in October 2017  for the 500 anniversary of the Reformation.

John Kearns opened the proceedings with his poem, “Transmigration of Soul,” about how Irish and African music traveled across the Atlantic to blend into the American music of rock ‘n’ roll. The poem, an excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, was a finalist in the 2012 James Hearst Poetry Prize and was published in North American Review.


A Ruth Gonsalves Moore photo

From Belfast, Ruth Gonsalves Moore, winner of the Taylor Art Award for 2014, presented 10 photographic images including from the series Bethel,  A glory to her, Inheritance, and Angels and Ordinances. Interested in faith and worship practices, Ruth works from an insider/ outside position speaking to female sensibilities, around “dress” and dress codes


Anthony Roberts

In New York, Anthony Roberts shared poems that are snapshots of a worldview of a Soldier and a Citizen questioning the responsibilities of both. There is an old curse, “may you live in interesting times.” The silver lining is that interesting times often produce interesting poetry.


Geraldine O’Kane

Geraldine O’Kane, originally from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, is a poet, creative writing facilitator, arts administrator, curator and mental health advocate. She is part of Poetry NI, a multimedia platform offering opportunities and resources for poets in Northern Ireland. She recently received an Artist’s Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) award from Arts Council of Northern Ireland. She is working towards her first full collection. Her pamphlet “Quick Succession” is available to purchase via Pen Points Press.

Geraldine is co-host Purely Poetry monthly mic nights held in The Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast. Her poetry is mostly inspired by observation, addresses the issues society would prefer not to talk about, and is firmly seeded in the oral tradition of storytelling. She specializes in micropoetry.  Her work has been published in anthologies from Community Arts Partnership, The Galway Review, Poethead, the Poetry Super Highway, The Incubator, and elsewhere. Her work can be found at and

maureenMaureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher read an amusing memoir entitled ”Tables” that traced her culinary adventures from the less than ideal environs of her mother’s kitchen to the gleaming steel and tile domain of a professional cooking school.


The afternoon crowd in New York


The evening crowd in Belfast

John Kearns opened the second half with his poem, “Valentine Avenue, Bronx, NY” about a miserable seeming February 14th in the Bronx, which ends with a helium heart rising above the ugliness.


Work of Gerry Gleason

Gerry Gleason enjoyed sharing selected art works from a career spanning over forty years by Google Hangouts with the Irish American Writers and Artists of N.Y.C.. He was also happy that the image of the painting, “Raining Dollars N.Y.C” could be finally seen digitally in the city that inspired the image in 1993.


Mary Lannon read an excerpt from her novel-in-progress, Tide Girl.  The dystopian novel satirizes a corporate, pornography-soaked world that is a little too close to our own.


Colm Clarke

Colm Clarke is an artist based in Belfast creating actions, sonic scores and situations. Colm develops his work as a tactile strategy with collaboration, humor and interventions. Colm is a member of Queen Street Studios and Bbeyond performance collective.  Colm Clarke presented recent project HOME AGAIN – a project in two parts focusing on a film and radio broadcast working with pigeon fanciers and asylum seekers that reside in Belfast. He is interested i the pigeon clubs as social spaces and the enormous distance these birds navigate in their flight back to captivity and as a counterpoint to this interviews and radio program in collaboration with asylum seekers to tell their own story and journeys.


Accompanied on guitar by Adam Bilchik, violinist and singer-songwriter Adrianna Mateo concluded the salon with three songs:  “Coney Island,” “August Sun,” and another inspired by show tunes.  It was a rousing and beautiful end to our second transatlantic salon!  Adrianna’s most recent single is available on iTunes, Google Play, and YouTube.

Hopefully, this is was the first of many events in which we can share our work with our friends in Belfast!

See you at our next IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on Thursday, February 2nd!  We will be welcoming guests Patrick Mahoney and Cormac O’Malley with their new books about the Irish in Connecticut and about Irish rebel and writer Ernie O’Malley.

Here is the 2017 IAW&A Salon schedule.



January 9, 2017

Planes, Cars, Tuk-tuks, and Shank’s Mare: Travelling on with Irish American Writers & Artists at  their first salon of 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 2:30 am

by Maureen Hossbacher
Photos by Mark Butler 

Rich Stone

The first salon of the year was a well attended gathering of both familiar and new faces.  Let’s start with the new — first time presenter Rich Stone, who read his clever and entertaining short story “Beyond Superman” about Max the philosophy professor who, after his car breaks down, finds himself wandering in the desert near Las Vegas, where he encounters several not quite human entities with some interesting answers to the eternal question “Is there a God?”

marciaMarcia Loughran

Also wandering — this time down Mott Street — was poet Marcia Loughran, in her “messay”  entitled “Parable of the Tawdry Fish.”   Having arrived too early for a brunch date in Chinatown, she wanders into a New Year’s Day mass in a church with a less than stellar choir.  The choir may have sung off key, but Marcia’s new year’s message was right on pitch, including her lovely poem “Momentary Sighting.”  Loughran’s award-winning poetry chapbook Still Life With Weather  is now available on and Barnes &

John McDonagh

Monologist, political activist and radio personality John McDonagh, in the flesh, accompanied by a virtual Malachy McCourt (cardboard cutout) was on hand to preview an upcoming 2-man play that John is developing which will feature stories from some of Malachy’s memorable broadcasts over his 40-year radio career.

djD.J. Sharp

The scene: a police station; the date: February. 25, the day of Tennessee Williams’ death some years prior at a hotel in the precinct.  In this segment from his one-man show focusing on the life and work of the great playwright, actor and dramatist D.J. Sharp, in character as world weary Detective Tommy Gillespie,  recalls the details of that fateful but otherwise routine night and his impression of Williams, whom he once met in a bar.


Vivian O’Shaughnessy

Visual artist and poet Vivian O’Shaughnessy brought a little warmth to the chilly evening  with her recitation of “Pocket” :   . . . mmm / sanctum of love / warmth . . . from which we cherish / bygone times / the present.

Tim O’Mara                                

Novelist Tim O’Mara shared with us the pleasure of writing book dedications, introduced us to two dedicatees in the audience (his wife and daughter) and then read an excerpt from his 4th and latest Raymond Donne crime novel, Nasty Cutter (dedicated to his brother and available now from Severn House, in hard cover and on Kindle).



Judith Glynn

On a flight from NYC to San Francisco, novelist and travel writer Judith Glynn experiences an attitude adjustment when she strikes up a conversation with a generously tattooed heavy metal guitarist half her age.  The essay, entitled “ Seatmates by Design” charmed the audience. For more of Judith’s adventures, real and imagined, check out her book-length nonfiction taleThe Street or Me and her novel A Collection of Affections.


John Kearns

Salon host, John Kearns, debuted a new song inspired by his recent trip to India.  “Tuk Tuk Trip” has fun with the comical aspects of riding in an auto-rickshaw through the congested streets of Delhi and describes the beautiful Muslim and Hindu sights seen along the way.

gordGordon Gilbert

Gordon Gilbert presented two of his most recent poetic monologues, both of which deal with getting older:  “All My Aches & Pains”, in which he personified the subjects as unwelcome guests, and “OK, So I’m an Addict!”, inspired by spending time with family. A familiar presenter at IAW&A salons, Gordon also hosts spoken word events at the Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village.

Sarah Fearon

Sarah Fearon, having frequently killed us with her comedy routines, tonight intrigued us with excerpts from a story titled “You Must Pay the Rent.” The protagonist, Sally, is a real estate agent traveling through the magical labyrinth of the real estate world in New York. This work in progress guarantees its readers a lot of inside dope, as, in addition to her regular appearances at comedy clubs, Sarah was recently named one of our City’s top 25 RE agents.

guen2Guenevere Donohue

The salon was brought to an uplifting close by the multi-talented Guen Donohue who delivered a heartfelt rendering of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, a fitting selection as the new Administration in Washington DC approaches.  She followed the recitation with the moving and seasonally relevant Jackson Browne song, “The Rebel Jesus.”


Performing “The Rebel Jesus”

The snow held off until midnight, when most of the salon audience members were, presumably, safely home, via their various modes of transport, if not already tucked in their beds.

mariaMaria Deasy made an announcement about the Women’s March on NYC on January 21st

Please note the early start time of our next salon at 3:00PM , on January 17, at the Cell theatre, 328 West 23rd Street.  This will be a special collaborative afternoon shared with presenters in Belfast, Northern Ireland, who will appear live via video hookup.

A very happy, healthy, productive, satisfying New Year to all!


December 30, 2016

12.20.16 IAW&A Salon: Our Holiday Classic: A time for music, gifts, poetry and reflection

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 2:01 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

The popular Christmas Salon took place on Tuesday, 12/20 in the elegant upstairs space at the Cell. Salon producer and host John Kearns greeted an SRO crowd and welcomed Shane Cahill, Vice Consul General of Ireland in New York. John congratulated IAW&A board member Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, just back from Ireland where she and Brendan Fay received a 2016 Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad for their work as the co-chairs of St. Pat’s For All.


Jack Di Monte, left,  John Kearns

Versatile singer Jack Di Monte kicked off the celebration with “The Christmas Song,” universally known by its first words “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” Jack gave it a bossa nova feel, and the crowd spontaneously joined him. In a more somber mood, he paid tribute to the great musical performers lost in 2016, choosing to sing Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem.” Calling it a song of hope in opposition to chaos and despair, Jack notes the famous line that alludes to the Liberty Bell, among other things, “There is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in.”


Poet/professor Bernadette Cullen, pictured at right, gave a sensitive reading of Russian poet Joseph Brodsky’s Nativity poem, “Flight into Egypt (2)” translated by Seamus Heaney.

That night, as three, they were at peace.

Smoke like a retiring guest

slipped out the door.

Continuing the nativity theme, Bernadette read two of her own poems.

More poetry, this time in tribute to the Irish poet John Montague, who died recently, was read by writer/ filmmaker of Emerald City, Colin Broderick, together with actor and former Irish boxing champ John Duddy. More about Montague at

                 Larry Kirwan, left, Colin Broderick

In honor of the season, IAW&A president Larry Kirwan sang Phil Ochs’ song “Ballad of the Carpenter” and spoke about IAW&A’s role in encouraging artists. In an eloquent reminder of what we stand for, IAW&A Board member and actor Maria Deasy read our mission statement, which includes the sentence. While avoiding party affiliation and endorsing no candidates for public office, IAW&A is outspoken in defense of artistic freedom, human rights and social justice. Find the mission statement in its entirety here:

Christmas Salon, Cell, 12/20/16

 Urban Librarians Unite Executive Director Christian Zabriskie and Board Chair Lauren Comito with Mark Butler

This year, we donated to three groups whose work fits with our mission. They are Urban Librarians Unite, a library advocacy and support group,; The Dwelling Place of New York, a transitional residence for homeless women, and Friends of Firefighters, which provides counseling and wellness services to active and retired NYFD members and their families,

In addition to these gifts, each year we present the Frank McCourt Literary Prize to graduating seniors of the Frank McCourt High School.

Christmas Salon, Cell, 12/20/16

Karen Daly, left, Sr. Joann Sambs of The Dwelling Place of New York
                       Eamon Loinsigh, left, Mark Byrne

Author Eamon Loingsigh introduced his brand new novel, Exile on Bridge Street, the second book in the Auld Irishtown trilogy, following the well-received Light of the Diddicoy, both pubbed by Three Rooms Press. Then actor Mark Byrne gave a dramatic reading of a section of Exile, which James T. Fisher, author of On the Irish Waterfront, calls “…this gripping tale, soaked in the Irish immigrant dockworker experience and laden with real life legends from a vanished world.” Find Eamon at

 Richard Butler, left, as Lulu,  John Skocik as Cazz

Mark William Butler and company brought the holiday fun with two songs from his play, Ugly Christmas Sweater, The Musical. The amazing Richard Butler as Lulu the evil Christmas Fairy sang “The One and Only Me” and John Skocik brought to life Cazz, the virtuous ugly Christmas sweater with “A Chance to Fit In.”

Christmas Salon, Cell, 12/20/16

Author and playwright Honor Molloy’s  vivid reading of her glowing piece Sixpence the Stars,” fondly known as “Duh Lickle Arrr-anges,”an excerpt from her autobiographical novel Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage, has become an IAW&A Christmas tradition. You can find it here: hear that Honor’s play, Crackskull Row, will be produced at the Irish Repertory Theatre in the spring. Honor is pictured at left.


We had music and musical collaboration, including the talented cellist Leah Rankin who played “Julie-O” by Mark Summer, and an Irish holiday medley featuring Pachelbel’s “Frolics.”  Singer, songwriter, musician Cathy Maguire sang, “Off to Join the World” by Cowboy Jack Clement.

Goodbye cruel circus

I’m off to join the world…

Noting that while Malachy McCourt couldn’t join us on Tuesday, it wouldn’t be a holiday Salon without his favorite song, Cathy led us in “Wild Mountain Thyme.”

Leah Rankin, left, Cathy Maguire and Leah Rankin

The McCourts were represented by Siobhan McCourt in her first IAW&A reading. Saying that the McCourt brothers were “a hard act to follow,” Siobhan charmed us with “Santa’s Present” by Alphie McCourt, whom we mourned this year. You can find his stories on I-tunes, read by the man himself.

John Munnelly, left,  Siobhan McCourt

Closing the Salon on a high note, Leah Rankin joined John Munnelly on his composition “Angels’ Tears” and Cathy Maguire joined them for “Happy Christmas” from the CD Together for Christmas, A Contemporary Celtic Christmas Collection. For John’s music, videos and appearances, go to  John’s also a visual artist whose commemorative #1916 Signatories Portraits are available. For further info, contact him at

 Special thanks to our presenters, hosts, members, supporters, committee members, volunteers and the hard-working staff of the Cell for contributing to a fantastic IAW&A year.

 Happy New Year!  Mark your calendars for the first Salon of 2017 on Thursday, January 5th at 7pm at Bar Thalia.




December 6, 2016

12.1.16 IAW&A Salon: Sharing new work, enjoying new music

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 6:07 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Mark Butler 

Before we get to the Salon rundown, please note two intriguing Irish literature events this week.Tonight (Tuesday, 12/6) Honor Molloy and friends will present Voices Carry — Irish Women Writing, a program of dramatic readings from memoir, novels, poetry, and drama at the Irish Arts Center.  We hear it’s sold out.

Irish composer Stano’s unique film In Between Silence, where we really exist is playing now until 12/13 at the Barrow Street Theatre. The film collects intimate stories by leading Irish writers, including Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright, Joseph O’Connor and Paula Meehan. ( For tickets:


Our early December Salon at Bar Thalia was a casual night when members comfortably shared a number of works-in-progress. Storytellers, fiction writers, and singers were on the program.

John Kearns, left,  photo by Christopher Booth.  Brendan Costello.

Salon producer and host John Kearns quieted the chattering non-salon crowd with a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. In this segment, the aging Sarsfield Logan, S.J., meets the young priest whom he suspects will be his replacement to teach his favorite course.

More fiction from Brendan Costello Jr., IAW&A board member and writing instructor at City College. The scene from his novel-in-progress reflected a character’s ambivalent feelings toward his father in the grim irony of the father’s passing. Brendan promises to share something lighter next time!

Brendan’s former student, Kristen Daniels read a part of her story tentatively,  and intriguingly titled Irish Anonymous. She’s developing it in a workshop class at City College and plans to expand it into a novel.

Kristen Daniels, left.  Bernadette Cullen

Bernadette Cullen read a small section from what she calls “a forever work in progress” in which she evokes a family beach outing on a hot July Saturday.

Sampling her program at IAC, Honor Molloy read “The Bride,” not a work in progress, in fact, a story written in the 1950’s by  Maeve Brennan. “The Bride” is an Irish-born maid working for a Westchester family. The story is set on the eve of Margaret’s marriage and she is terrified.

img_6132 Honor Molloy

Jazzman and author Jon Gordon told stories from his book project “Finding the Miraculous.” In one story, Jon was on a jazz cruise, wishing for shooting star and miraculously seeing one.

Salon Thalia, 5/5/16

Jon Gordon. Photo by Cat Dwyer.

In the music department, Mark William Butler shared a funny new song, “What It Is” from one of his latest writing projects, Cubikill, The Musikill, a corporate horror movie parody. Check out Mark’s work at and


Mark Butler. Photo by Christopher Booth.

Singer Clare Horgan, visiting from Ireland, showed her range with two songs, one a sean nos song about Skellig Rock on St. Michael’s Day, and the other a ballad. Learn more at   Musician/singer Adrianna Mateo sang two of her originals: “August Sun” (better to burn than keep feeling numb) and the haunting “Come with Me to Coney Island.” More at

Clare Horgan, left, photo from her website. Adrianna Mateo. Photo by Cat Dwyer.

We’re gearing up for the grand Holiday Salon at the Cell on Tuesday, 12/20 with such wonderful talent as Leah Rankin, Jack DiMonte, Honor Molloy, John Munnelly, Cathy Maguire, Eamon Loinsigh, and surprise guests. Plus, after-party and plenty of good cheer.  Mark your calendars!

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