A BANDON mother of seven and grandmother of 11 is proof that you don’t need time to write – just talent and determination.
Margaret O’Driscoll, who also works as a carer, received hugely positive reviews for her first collection of poetry, The Best Things in Life Are Free, in 2016.
Her poetry has appeared in publications worldwide, with many of her poems translated into languages including Finnish, Polish, Bulgarian, Persian and even Punjabi.
She recalls how her journey started out: ‘I was invited to join a local poetry group almost six years ago and that reignited my passion for poetry writing. I felt inspired to write again and shared my poetry with family and group members.
‘At a later stage I then took the plunge to share on an online poetry group and was delighted with the response. Hodder Education UK reproduced my poem Friendship in an GCSE English literature exam revision publication.
‘I decided to self-publish my first collection in 2016, The Best Things In Life Are Free and it has received rave reviews. The book cover is my painting Butterfly On A Buddleia and I arranged the sequence of poems in the book in line with the passing year. The collection includes several poems with West Cork themes. It’s heartening to hear that it has inspired and uplifted people. I was awarded a full bursary to attend The John Hewitt Summer School in Armagh last year, it was my first time attending a writing workshop.’
Margaret has never been on a writer’s retreat or had a mentor or agent but snatches every chance she can to get pen to paper.
‘I have little time to dedicate to writing but try to snatch a chance in the morning, usually, or whenever inspiration strikes.
‘My inspiration can come from any source, a person, a place, an event, a conversation – anything, and I can feel inspired to write at any time, sometimes even in the middle of the night.
‘I like to stay true to myself and my writing style, I like classical rhyming as well as writing in free verse.’
Among the achievements she’s most proud of are to have four personal poems published on Our Poetry Archive’s Anthology of Contemporary Women Poets, 2017. Her favourite poets are Patrick Pearse, Patrick Kavanagh and Robert Frost.
‘Three of my pieces also appeared on A New Ulster’s anthology of women poets, 2017, The Hidden and The Divine, the poems depict the dark issue of domestic violence,’ said Margaret.
Several of her pieces are also set to be recorded by a classical singer based in California.
Copies of her book are on sale in bookshops in Bandon, Skibbereen, Clonakilty, and Macroom and are also available to purchase online from Lettertec Bookstores.