Friday, June 10, 2022

Photo: Michael O’Hanrahan 

MOLLY Twomey is a 26-year-old poet who was raised in Lismore and now lives in Cork city. Her debut poetry collection, ‘Raised Among Vultures’, was published by The Gallery Press last month. She runs a monthly online poetry event, ‘Just to Say’, sponsored by Jacar Press. She will soon commence her new role as a Marketing and Developing Officer for Grafitti Theatre.  

Life in a Day 

ON a Saturday in Lismore, I’ll wake before 8am, have coffee and read until I’m inspired to write. I’m reading Kim Moore’s ‘All the Men I Never Married’. Then I’ll tip away at a poem for about two hours. I’ll have three different types of cereal with peanut butter and honey. I usually go to Dungarvan with my father to visit my grandmother Ann. She’s brilliant, I’m so fond of her. Dad and I might doss around or meet my aunt Miriam for coffee. We’ll go back to Lismore, and I’ll have toast with beans or eggs and some sort of vegetable. I might go for a walk with my mam (and a brother if they’re feeling it) on the Castle Farm or down Lady Louisa’s Walk, I might also lift weights or use the stationary bike – but not for too long. As a family, we love ‘The Indian Ocean’ in Dungarvan, so we occasionally get takeaway. We’re a chill family, but some of us have been known to get competitive during a game of ‘30 Seconds’. I’m a big fan of sleep so I’ll be in bed around 11pm after more cereal. 

What school did you go to? 

Blackwater Community School in Lismore. I had some good times there, but I was highly self-conscious, and it stopped me from being myself.  

What teacher do you remember most vividly? 

I was in first year when Ms Doolan met my dad at a parent-teacher meeting and told him how amazed she was about an essay I had written about Clonea. She was so kind to us, and my dad was beaming after it. I also loved Mr Dolan and Ms Murphy, all English teachers. Ms Lane, a music teacher, was great too. I was a swat in disguise.  

What advice would you give your 15-year-old self? 

Don’t put up with it if someone is being mean to you for no reason. It’s okay to not fit in, to not have the right look or say the right thing. Also, to hang in there, go easier on your mam and yourself. You’re not as weird as you think you are. Stop asking Lucy for all the answers in French, it’s not her job to help you and you’re not learning anything. For God’s sake, wear your retainer.  

How do you relax? 

My favourite time of the day is the morning with coffee and a poetry book. I also like watching feel-good movies with my boyfriend, we just watched ‘Paddington 2’. It was class. I’m also a sucker for a good gig. I went to see Percolator and The Pretty Happy in Cyprus Avenue recently; it was life-changing.  

What is your favourite film and piece of music? 

I’m a huge fan of the Pillow Queens and go through phases of liking different songs the most. I’m currently into ‘Try’ and ‘Be by Your Side’ from their latest album and thanks to my housemate, I am now obsessed with Harry Styles. Movie wise, I’ve a weak spot for ‘The Road to El Dorado’. My brother and I used to watch it a lot as kids. I’m also weak for ‘Hotel Transylvania’ 

When was the last time you cried? 

Good question! Near Ballydehob, a month or so ago, I won’t say why but what a lovely place to cry. 10/10, I would cry there again.  

What has been your happiest moment of recent times? 

Having my family and friends gather to see me read at the Cork International Poetry Festival. I read alongside Kim Moore, whose poetry I adore. The Munster Literature centre put me up in the Maldron in Shandon and paid for my meals. I felt like a queen.  

Do you pray? 

No, but I still say, ‘God bless you,’ when someone sneezes or when they’re leaving, hanging up or going to bed. I don’t know why, I think it’s protective, what I mean to say is, ‘stay safe,’ and ‘don’t get sick or unwell’. 

What is your biggest fear? 

The loss or consistent pain of a loved one, there are only a few people I’m close to but that means I’m very close to them and treasure them a lot. The idea of something or someone harming someone I love is heartbreaking and so terrifyingly out of my control.  

What is your most treasured possession? 

My phone, I suppose. It has everything, doesn’t it? I’m constantly checking my bag/ pockets to make sure it’s there. The thought of losing it makes me so anxious.  

What is your favourite thing about Waterford? 

Clonea is where my best childhood memories are. My parents have a mobile home and I met one of my best friends there. It allowed me to meet so many interesting people and to reinvent myself without preconceptions of who I might be.  

If you could change one thing about Waterford, what would it be? 

I’d love a few more late-night cafés and cultural hubs and not just in the city. I’m excited for the Greenway to extend, I think that will be great for small towns. Lismore is blooming now, there’s a gorgeous new bakery, Vinilo, and a thrift store, Out of The Clozet. The Castle Arts has an amazing exhibition on called ‘Girls girls girls’. I’d like to see more events and collaborations between artists and local businesses but I think that will come with time. 

In conversation with Dermot Keyes 

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