Saturday, May 30, 2009

Successful Launch of 'The Ordinary Miracle'

From lt. to rt.: John McHugh; Sheila McHugh; Mary Lavelle-Burke; Ronan Halpin; Mark F Chaddock; Anne Shannon; Dr. Edward King

I have had a truly wonderful week. The launch of 'The Ordinary Miracle, my first book collection of poetry, by The Heinrich Boll Association at The Cyril Gray Memorial Hall by kind permission of Vi McDowell, was a great success. It was a lovely occasion with a celebratory atmosphere.
I am most grateful to everyone who attended and thoroughly enjoyed reading a few poems and meeting people. My good friends Edith and Seamus Geraghty travelled over from Belmullet - thanks guys!
Now, after attending The Force 12 Writers Festival at Belmullet in mid-June, I am starting on my tour of readings at County Mayo libraries; first date - Ballina library on 19th June at 8pm. I am looking forward to seeing the newly built library and have had wonderful co-operation from the Head Librarian, Barbara Varley.
Once more, thanks to all those who attended the launch.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Powers that Be

Well, the Gods must truly be smiling on me this week. Not only am I thrilled to be launching my poetry book 'The Ordinary Miracle' on Achill island tomorrow evening, but The Mayo News have kindly published another poem of mine titled 'Communion' from the book collection in this week's Poetry slot on p24. It is a poem that has great meaning for me as my mother passed away eight years ago. I hope you like it.

COMMUNION by Mark F Chaddock
i.m. of Annie Josephine Cleary/Chaddock

Whenever you came back to Ireland
you had to touch water
whether ocean, or lough, or river,
a rite performed in reverential silence -
as though coaxing some memory your ancestry shared -
of which I had no part;
one cupped hand gently immersed,
then the slow, precious lift,
the shake of clear, sparkling droplets,
and that smile that almost
broke into a laugh:

What was that feeling I couldn't divine, Mother?
Was it the Salmon's pulse beating at the Nation's heart?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Radio Interviews & Book Launches

I knew it was going to be a whirlwind week; I just didn't know how much I would enjoy myself. On Sunday I drove over to Castlebar from Achill Island to be interviewed on live radio - CRC local radio's 'Weekly Edition' - by Edith Geraghty regarding the launch of my new book The Ordinary Miracle; and to read a few poems. It's always good to be in Edith's company and all went well despite a phone call in the middle of the interview - no, there was no phone-in set up - someone had forgot to unplug the phone! We had a laugh over that one - afterwards.

Doing a lot of walking on Dooega beach here on Achill island at present, muttering to myself and getting funny looks off dogs. Not to worry, I haven't finally flipped, (well that's my claim). As 'Achill Island's Poet-in-Residence' I'm rehearsing my reading for my booklaunch Wednesday evening - so you see it's all normal behaviour, really. So be kind and come along - and stop throwing bananas at me - they bruise!
Have a good week.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Scoil Acla '09 Festival

Scoil Acla Summerschool Festival runs from 27th July to August 2nd this year. Various classes and cultural events are on offer including dance workshops, sean nós singing, musical instrument lessons. In addition there is a Creative Writing course, readings and music recitals.
For further information contact:

Tel: Diarmuid Gielty: 098 43107
Annabelle : 098 47353

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Force 12 Writers Festival

I shall be attending Mayo County Council's Force 12 Writers Festival this year as I have for the last few years. It provides an excellent opportunity for any aspiring writer to participate in a variety of free workshops, hear readings by well-known writers, and meet people from writers groups throughout Ireland.
So, why not come along. It is running from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th June in Belmullet, Co. Mayo. For further details and a booking form contact: Mayo County Council Arts Office at 094 9024444, ext. 7558 & 7560 or by e-mail:

Sunday, May 17, 2009

News/Event: Launch of 'The Ordinary Miracle'

It is going to be a busy week. Edith Geraghty has kindly invited me to appear on her 'Weekly Edition' programme on Castlebar CRC radio this Sunday, 5-6pm to talk about my forthcoming poetry book launch and read a couple of poems. Edith works tirelessly and selflessly to promote other artists and art, as well as being involved with various community groups up in Belmullet, Co. Mayo. In addition, if that weren't enough, she is the Artisitic Director of Phoenix Theatre Works Community Theatre Group, and a poet, actress, playwright and radio presenter. She is also a lovely person.
My book 'The Ordinary Miracle' will be launched by The Heinrich Boll Association at The Cyril Gray Memorial Hall, Dugort, here on Achill Island on Wednesday evening, 27th May, at 8.30pm.I shall read from my book and signed copies will be on sale.
The book can also be purchased from: (click on image to preview book and purchase)
By Poetry Mark F Cha...

and further online bookstores at
For further information contact me at:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Art for All!

Art is not something that is exclusive to some people and not to others. Art is, of course, the end product of creative expression. Each of us has access to our own divine creativity. But, in order to access it we must first 'unblock' from the negative programming preventing us from doing it. This then allows creative energy to flow unhindered.
In my own case it has been a long journey of self-doubt and placing artists on pedestals (my cultural conditioning). Art, in my family, was something that only happened to other people. What finally unblocked me was meditation. Quite an intensive few months of meditating (Eastern style) twice daily. Then, having accessed my creativity and 'purified' to a degree, creative enegy was free to flow unhindered.
Eight years later, I have been published in local newspapers; poetry anthologies; published five books of poetry; studied Fine Art Painting at a local IT College; read poetry around my County; been a member of two writing groups; written and had a play performed; published two books of photographic images; am in the process of a Creative Writing course with Lancaster University; writing my first novel, and a number of other projects.
Not bad for somebody only active in art for the past eight years. But I don't tell you this in order to boast, but to point out that if I can do it, anyone can. As i said previously, each of us is an artist yet to unfold. it is within each of us. We just have to get past the negativity, the lack of self-belief, the often clumsy remarks by other people that make us contract rather than expand.
In my experience, the key was to follow a path of spiritual practice; meditation is a well known way of accessing creativity. Often, creativity flows unhindered when we reduce our 'mind-chatter', the incessant commentary of our egos. There are many ways to do this and there are many books available on the subject if you wish to follow that course.
The only real and consistent way to make art is to do it. That may sound like a cop out, but it isn't. You can think about art forever, fantasise about art all your life, but unless you actually turn up regularly and make a start you aren't producing art. So, just do it. It isn't cast in stone. It can be edited, altered, thrown away and started again, but the point is to get started. Even if it is only to find out what doesn't work. This may lead to what does work, what seems worth pursuing, it allows reflection. A blank page or canvas doesn't.
So, Art doesn't exclude. People do that. Art, Creativity, is a gift everyone has. And the beauty of it is that the more you let go, the more Art turns up to meet you.

Best Wishes for all our Art.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Can Photography overlap with Painting as an Art-form?

Is photography art? This is an interesting question. For many people, the answer would be in the negative (no pun intended). I have spoken to people who have looked at me aghast when I have referred to photography as an art-form. Perhaps the difficuly is similar to deciding what is, and isn't, poetry. Or art itself. Or whether something is worth doing.
Photography is 'Painting with light'. We let an image made of light into our camera and capture it. It may be a 'snapshot', taken quite quickly with little consideration for composition or exposure, colour saturation or contrast, or many other things. It is simply a record of a moment. Another photographer, or maybe even the same one at another time, might spend time deliberating a landscape; deciding the best time of day to visit; the best season; the best viewpoint to capture the image from; what focal length lens to use; colour or black and white; and pre-visualise the possible results. Then wait. Perhaps many hours, maybe making return visits. Until everything comes right, until a worthwhile image emerges, a few captured moments. Is this art? Many people might argue that all photography is is a record of a moment in time. It is that, of course. Isn't all visual art (and I include sculpture here) an image frozen in time? Are photographs capable of being regarded as visual art? To decide this we may have to go back to the definition of art.
Over the past few years, after studying art and becoming interested in abstract expressionist painting, particularly Jackson Pollack images, I began to take photographic images like those above, and realised I was executing a form of abstract expressionism through the medium of photography. I have continued to be drawn to making these two-dimensional images through the medium of photography, and enjoy immense creative satisfaction from making them. I can only explain it as satisfying my artistic urges from what I learned from what have been traditionally, painted' images, and applying that knowledge to photography.
Is photography art when the intention is to create an aesthetic image as opposed to a scientific, journalistic, or snapshot image? We may be getting closer. And we seem to be leaning more toward the feeling that, yes, photography is an art form and can overlap with painting.
(To be continued)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Winter landscapes

This winter I looked forward with eager anticipation to capturing some images of my local mountains, the Corraun hills, on film/file. As I can literally take the shots from my own front door, which is exactly where these two images were taken from, this was never going to prove too difficult. All I had to do was wait for a decent fall and point my lens east to the Irish mainland (I live on an island) over Achill Sound, make a reasonably pleasing, dramatic composition, and SHOOT! Here are the results which, I am quite pleased with.
One has to be careful that snowy landscapes do not end up seriously underexposed. This is easily acieved with todays modern digital cameras which tend to do it all for you. In the old days with conventional film we would have to take a reading off 'middle grey' which meters were calibrated for - a 'grey card' was used if you were really serious which you carried with you as an essential part of your kit. Nowadays, so much can be corrected at the editing stage in a digital darkroom, including brightness, contrast, colour saturation, hue, among many other things.
So, here are my images after a heavy snowfall, taken with the 300mm telephoto end of a zoom lens and tweaked just a little in my 'darkroom'. I hope you like them.