Poetry Ireland Introduction Series |10| Michael Dineen

Michael Dineen is a poet from Cork based in Dublin. He has been published in Southword, The Shop, The Penny Dreadful, Weary Blues and Abridged. As well writing poetry he is a keen marathon runner, gig goer and traveller. He can be found on twitter @mdurandel

Can you give us some general background info about you are – where you’re from, age, any interesting tidbits?

I am 30 years old from Cork, living in Dublin for about 4 years.

I studied English and Philosophy and following a stint teaching secondary school have found myself working in Data Mining. This is a field that is on the borderlands between Statistics and Computer Science – the stuff that allows Google to know who you are and what you are likely to do. In practice it’s less nefarious than it might appear but overall it’s a really exciting field to work in.


So I guess that I have a mix of a logical clockwork mind that also happens to be a grab bag of sense perceptions and intuitions.

What made you turn to poetry?

To be honest, I’m not very sure. In terms of immediate causes I started writing seriously when I was doing a Masters in St Andrews. I think that the long nights, cold weather and living away from home conspired to prompt me to take my writing more seriously. I still find that I write a lot when I’m feeling slightly stranded away from home. [pullquote] the things that you can slip into a poem that are not so easily or prettily said elsewhere [/pullquote]

But that’s really only the proximate cause… I’ve always been interested in words and love the feel of a well made phrase on the tongue. I love the link between language and logic – the things that you can slip into a poem that are not so easily or prettily said elsewhere…

I’m not sure why I do write, it’s just something that I’ve always found myself doing.

What has the Poetry Introduction Series meant for you?

I think it’s helped me to take my writing a little more seriously. While writing isn’t and shouldn’t be about public validation you do write to be read or heard. It’s given me a sense that that there are receptive ears and readers out there.

What do you hope to explore through your poetry?

That’s an interesting question. I think that I am hoping to explore something of the quality of lived experience. I love the formal qualities of poetry but think it’s at its best when it brings together the tactility of verse with the feeling of lived experience. Pretty traditional I guess!

Do you think poetry is for a niche audience or do you think social media is opening it up to new possibilities?

No, I don’t think that poetry is for a niche audience. Everyone may not engage as regularly with poetry as they do other media but that doesn’t mean that its audience should be limited. People may not engage with poetry as a formalised school of writing but lyrics move people. I think that the renaissance of the spoken word scene has been really exciting and challenges the notion that poetry is stuck in a formal cage. Poetry is always changing.

What do you hope to have done with your poetry in the next five to ten years?

I do hope to publish a collection. In that regard I’m torn between the punk rock ethic of publishing your 3 minutes 30 seconds of truth and an impulse to make sure everything is as good as it can be. In practice I’m also a little lazy in pushing stuff out there! The Introductions Series has been an encouragement in that regard.

What contemporary Irish poets are you impressed by?

I’m really impressed by the other Introductions 2015 poets. In the spirit of Father Ted and the lovely girls contest though I won’t name any names!

Apart from that I like Sarah Hughes and Dave Lordan quite a bit. In the realm of more ‘traditional’ verse Kerry Hardie is great as is Theo Dorgan.

Do you think Ireland is starting to move away from the “typical Irish Poetry” and move towards something more contemporary? Where do you see yourself in terms of that movement?

I think so. There’s a real weariness with poems about potatoes, mammies and church. When I head out to open mic events that’s not what I hear people reading and speaking about. In that regard I hope that I am doing my little but to fill out what it feels like to be alive in Ireland in 2015.