Susan Lindsay

*POETRY *FACILITATION *CONVERSATION *WRITING *DESIGN THINKING - WELCOME to Posts from these perspectives on relevant subjects. Susan Lindsay's second collection of poetry Fear Knot was published by Doire Press in 2013. Doire also published her debut collection Whispering the Secrets in 2011.

Drawing on thirty years experience as a facilitator she conducts Conversations mediated by poetry and read for the 2011 Poetry Ireland Introduction Series. Susan was a founding co-editor of Skylight 47, 'possibly Ireland's most interesting poetry publication'. She has recently been working on a book relating her journey as an apprentice verse-maker and mid-life move West to live on the Wild Atlantic Way. Her workshop Having a new Conversation- About Dreaming took place at the 2015 Cuirt International LiteratureFestival. Previous New Conversations about - Faith, Confusion and Beauty, were held in her neighbourhood over a number of weeks twice yearly.

Recently returned to live on the East coast of Ireland, Susan is available for poetry readings, to give talks or to facilitate New Conversation Workshops - for events, teams, or for organisations - and can be contacted by mail at, via direct message on Twitter @susanhlindsay or on Facebook

Friday, 8 September 2017

BOSOM PALS Editor Marie Cadden Launch by Moya Cannon Thurs 14th 5pm UHG

Add captio
of this very special project
from which all proceeds go to
Breast Cancer Research in Galway.
More on radio podcast right.

Marie Cadden is the author of Gynaecologist in the Jacuzzi from Salmon Poetry and co-editor of the poetry paper Skylight 47.
While 'living with cancer', she has put together an inspiring and exciting of collection of poems from fellow scribblers who have also written about their own experiences in relation to the disease.

Moya Cannon, poet member of Aosdana, born in Donegal, lived for years in Galway and now in Dublin, will launch this publication.

Gynacologist in the Jacuzzi  see more at
Moya Cannon see
Skylight 47  Issue 9 to be  launched November, 2017.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Business is Poetry and Poetry My Business. I'm taking to air... Fri Ist Sept on Dublin City FM 103.2.

with Don Harris 

of Talkback Ireland

12.30pm    Dublin CityFM 103.2

Friday morning,  1st Sept 2017 

 Talk to you there...


Photo:  Patricia Piccinini's Skywhale, Galway 2015

Sunday, 19 March 2017




Having A New Conversation – About … 

The extra dimension poetry brings, becomes as much valued for itself as for what it contributes to the conversation in these facilitated workshops. It brings new perspective to the topic and a holding ground for the discussion, with the added benefit of providing a way into discovering poetry - or a way into further enjoying it with others.

No previous experience of poetry, or the topic under discussion, is needed. About - Faith, for those of any, or no, religion and About - Continuing in Confusion; About - Beauty & its
Possible Obligations; About – the Stuff of Life
and About Love, Loss or Death are other possible topics. Having a new Conversation – About Dreaming was the topic at the Cuirt International Festival of Literature in 2015.

Susan Lindsay

has been a professional facilitator for over thirty years. She graduated in Social Science at Trinity College, Dublin (1975) and practised as psychotherapist, trainer and consultant to organisations until her retirement in 2013. She was invited to read for Poetry Ireland’s Introductions Series in 2011 and was a founding co-editor of the poetry broadsheet Skylight 47. Her poem Gather in was included in the Irish Edition of The CafĂ© Review, Oregon US., 2016. A third Collection of her work is promised  from Doire Press in Spring, 2018.

Versevent  Spring, 2017

Facilitated conversations mediated by poetry in a variety of settings including for teams in organisations.

‘Join In    A New Conversation
 In Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow and in Co. Galway

Bookings & Enquiries

Mob +353 86 1671524.
Tweet @susanhlindsay


Fear Knot
Susan Lindsay’s poems are sometimes enigmatic, often startling. She is a poet acutely aware of the complexities of language, the levels of meaning a poem can have. When I read one of Susan Lindsay’s poems for the second time I always discover something quietly subversive lurking there which I missed first time around. Fear Knot is a daring collection of poems. A triumph.- Kevin Higgins

Whispering the Secrets                                                    
The voice of experience wrought in lines that are lucid and direct…. this testimony of a survivor is suffused with joy and passion and a clear eyed appraisal of what it means to be mortal. - Paula Meehan

…a book of courage and resolve. She writes of the “Fifth Province”, of confrontations and renewals, of dreams and shifting identities. … Lindsay writes poems of deep emotional control which communicate an affirmative celebratory mysticism. – Paul Perry

That was gorgeous. Beautiful writing. – RyanTubridy, 2005, The Tubridy Show,RTE Radio 1, on win for Carol of Our Times.

Saturday, 18 March 2017


  • Susan, Thank you for the workshop yesterday. I was amazed at how just a couple of poems could stimulate such a variety of reflections, comments and inputs. A far cry from poetry classes for the leaving cert!   I was ... struck by how the whole event lingered on after we had all departed. ... Dave
  • Hi Susan, ... You certainly have not lost the gift of how to facilitate a good session. It showed... no matter what the topic, the possibility for people to become more aware exists. Michael     
E-Mails after Conversations on Dreaming at Cuirt International Festival of Literature, 2015. More below.*
Doubt, Faith & Confusion?

Facilitated by Susan Lindsay 

For those of no religion or any religion, who love poetry or think they know nothing about it.
Four Tuesdays April 11, 18, 25 & May 2, 2017
Kilcoole Community Centre   7.30 – 9pm
Co. Wicklow

In Doubt

I want to hear about faith
about the way you put your feet
on the floor
each day and rise.    Whispering the Secrets (Doire, 2011)

Susan Lindsay is an experienced facilitator. A third book of her poetry is forthcoming from Doire Press in Spring, 2018. More biography in further Posting belong.

BOOK: Mob.086-1671524  PLACES LIMITED.
€15 a night, €48 in advance for four. Concession: €12 or €40. 


         Comments received from confidential questionnaires issued to participants
After two workshops given at the Cuirt International Literature Festival, Galway 2016
- in Roisin Dubh pub and GMIT library 
AND at the conclusion of the first of a weekly, now monthly,
ongoing Conversation in a local community in Kilcolgan, Co. Galway

4.       Overall:  What aspect/s of the workshop particularly appealed to you, or worked for you?
·         Theme, different poems, different: participants; nationalities; voices; perspectives but having a mediator/facilitator “in charge”.
·         All was good
·         Experience of contrary opinions
·         Particularly last poem, ’If the Philosopher is Right by Mary Oliver
·         Group discussion’.
·         Exposure to new poems; opportunity for discussion, how listening is an on-going practice.
·         “I enjoyed the non-threatening group discussion. The depth of the conversation that arose from people in the room – especially on ‘State of Ireland'( comment on this poem disputed in a comment about what did not appeal by another respondent).
·         Hearing different points of view.
·         Safety to express different ideas and opinions.
·         Open conversation.
·         Existential aspect of poems.
·         The social aspect.
·         New to poetry and fascinating to hear poems being dissected and analysed.
·         Loved hearing everyone’s perspective (to) diversity, just great!
·         Joined reflection and sharing.
·         The mix of gender in the conversation.
·         People sharing different opinions, stimulating, different views

In Ashes, Having the Conversation – About Faith                                                    
Questionnaire responses from Spring 2013                                         

What worked/appealed particularly?
  •  Exploring others’ ideas, thoughts
  • When a theme was being really explored – the different interpretations/perceptions which open my eyes.
  • The poetry.
  • The Structure was great and kept us on track …
  • Variety of opinions. Faith as an intro to other concepts. Listening to all. Easy flow back and forth. Listening and feedback. Inclusion of the poetry. Conversation aspect and respect. Hearing other people’s ideas, beliefs.
  • Very sensitive to all participants and giving me the opportunity – when wished – to talk. Testament to (facilitator) that people felt sufficient trust to talk honestly.
  • The flow was great, input relevant and very thoughtful and meaningful.
  • Nourished. Important that it was around faith.
  • Loved the use of symbol.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Immaculate Does Not Describe the Conception of the Children in Tuam: A Word To Fathers.

The tragedy of the ‘single’ mothers and their children - those who made it to happy adoptive homes, those who faced great challenges and trauma as they grew and those who died whose bodies have been discovered in what is described as some kind of tank– is rightly the focus of our attention, grief and rage this week. Occasionally we are reminded that these women, scourged further by being described once as ‘fallen’, are not the only parties to the conception of the children but carried the consequence and blame. Those children have fathers.

I find myself wondering about those fathers. 

We’ve heard siblings, survivors, some of the mothers themselves. It almost seems sacrilegious to consider the fathers - their absence and protection so absolute. Yet, however often I get angry with men for their mostly unacknowledged position of privilege and the hardship they’ve inflicted on women - whether actively or by acts of omission – I know that many of those fathers were also young and given little, if any, choice in how to respond to hearing (if and when they did) of the consequences of their moments of passion or early love.

Did they recognise a surname and age and wonder?

There are still fathers alive, or those who wonder if they might have been one, watching those names of the deceased children of Tuam scrolling down our television screens on Monday night. Not many but there must have been some. Did they recognise a surname and age and wonder? Did they already know, freeze as they saw that their child had died, the body despicably disposed of.

Shame corrodes and can be impossible to acknowledge.

I used to work as a group psychotherapist and leader of workshops exploring issues of gender among others. Two particular challenges the men said they faced remain with me: little support or recognition for the question of ‘where to put it’ -that is how to deal with the intensity of their early sexual desire and how to deal with their sense of, often profound, shame. Shame for actions but also, frequently, times they’ve been humiliated and shamed by others. How shame corrodes and how impossible it can be to acknowledge.

To anyone who suspects or knows they are the father of one of the children born in Tuam or another ‘mother and baby’ institution I want to say: 
don’t pretend it didn’t happen. Do consider whether there is someone to whom you can tell your story. You may have run when you ought not to have, you may have betrayed your child and the woman who thought you cared, but perhaps you did care or you may simply have been callous and self-serving and your behaviour utterly unacceptable.

 Sadly, the sense of shame is likely to be greatest in those who were in the most impossible of circumstances and least to blame 

...because you do feel and know your part in what happened. So remember: fathers are important too, young men often not supported and in those days and times very few would have supported you to support your partner. It’s never too late to acknowledge your own story and actions. Shame needs to be given air. Ultimately acknowledgement heals.

Many of you could have been and are, to later children, wonderful fathers. 

You have a grief and sense of shame to bear too. There are those who want to hear but talk advisedly and select your audience carefully. The pain of women is so often overshadowed by the concerns of men that we won’t have much patience for you now; you haven’t got it for yourself.
Soon, I hope, one or another of you will be able to stand up and add your story to the unfolding narrative of our collective shameful past. 

We need present rather than absent fathers more than ever and fathers need to support each other – not to defend their failures and absences but to stand together, alongside their sisters, in common humanity and join in the acts of reparation for what, ultimately, is our collective shame.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Between Times: Advent

 I nearly miss it in a sudden rush to get things done.

The quiet low light and deep peace of early December that is Advent in the Christian calendar and my favourite time of year.  The rush is less about truly preparing for the festivities ahead than about panicking that I may not do so in time. Then I reassure myself: that my Christmas preparations have usually been last minute; if I’m going to panic it might as well be at the last moment - having first allowed myself to feast on quietude, low light and forthcoming solstice images of the sunlight entering the passage tomb at Newgrange.

It is not a recipe for a well-prepared Christmas time and the conflict is familiar at all times of year. 

Christmas reminds me of the inspiring Child in the manger of my childhood and the gathering of gifts, going to church and to grandparents on Christmas day and to the other side of the family the Sunday before. Then there was the total magic of first visiting Dublin’s Olympia theatre and seeing sparkling ballet dancers in the pantomime on Boxing Day - more regularly known in Ireland as St. Stevens’ Day. The conflict in my Irish identity begins early. I find the material rush and hype from mid-November antithetical to everything Christmas once meant to me.

I’m a natural contrarian. 

I’ve only to know I must do something to be equally sure there are a thousand reasons not to and while I like to dream of creating something wonderful, involving myself in the necessary actions to bring it about is altogether another matter. It’s not helped by wanting to attend:  to listen and connect - rather than get on with managing, doing and administrating.

One year I began my December alone in a cottage beside the sea and bare trees reading Harry Potter. 

That was a magical time. The sojourn informed an early poem written in response to a brief piece by the poet Paul Durcan that appeared in The Irish Times Magazine one Christmas. Despite it being a poem susceptible to evoking cringes, I enclosed it in a letter of appreciation I wrote to him and he was good enough to reply with a Christmas card wishing me a flurry of snow that did indeed appear on the big Day. A few years later I made it to having a permanent home across the field from that magical small house.

A Woman’s Prayer for New Year

After Paul Durcan

Waiting for the tides to turn, I am held by the soft touch of trees and blessed by holy water from the well in a fairy wood. I dance on the shoreline and swim in the deep.

In silent prayer I wait for a compatible man who can bear the pain of touch. He will be a man of prayer and consideration who loves to have fun.

My laugher and shouts of joy at the sparkling stars and the morning sun on the rising tide will rouse him. He will not be afraid to hold my hand as, with listening and full hearts, we entrust ourselves to the ocean.

He will see the way at times when waves submerge me, carry turf when I’m weary of the burden of understanding. Sometimes he’ll proffer soothing touch and defer solutions and I will revel in the warmth of his shining light and be saved by the clarity of its beam touching land across water.

He will stay awhile before returning to his cave, more of a home now he’s free to come and go and I will savour solitude the more for knowing

he will return.

2016 has been all about taking my leave of that home on the shores of Galway Bay that verges on the Burren.

 The home that Gordon D’Arcy says in his gorgeous new book, The Breathing Burren (Collins Press 2016), is at the end – or head of a sleeping giant. I can’t remember which and my books are still, much lamentedly, in storage while I further make space for them so I can’t immediately check. But you can buy his book in most bookstores. It would make a great gift to give – to others or youself.  

The year has also been about taking my leave of so many of the artefacts of family history. 

I moved into the house the year after my mother died, my father had done so nine years earlier. It became the repository of so much. I lived there alone yet experienced it as the family home I formerly yearned. In my last days there it occurred to me it has been a kind of archetypal family home fulfilling the fissures of earlier desire and longing and having done so, leaving me free now to enjoy new terrains that appear more suitable for the next stage of my life.

As an apprentice verse-maker the process has seen me visited by Kali

The Goddess Kali is the destroyer  but also the other side of the Lord Shiva, the giver, of life inspiring one of the longest poems I’ve attempted.

Today, published in Spontaneity

I see that the poet Aoife Reilly, both a former fellow Skylight poet and a more recent incumbent of that first magic cottage, has a poem Spontaneous Love published in the new edition of the online magazine Spontaneity. There’s one of my own there too. I submitted The Line in response to an interview with Kate Dempsey talking about her book The Space Between from Doire Press  Doire also published my poetry collections Whispering the Secrets and  Fear Knot. 

You can read the poems Spontaneous Love and The Line in Spontaneity  

and follow the link to Kate Dempsey and enjoy the spectacular artwork and images and follow further Spontaneity links here at 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Open Letter to Deputy John Halligan and Others lobbying for change in the health services.

You might be most effective backing Consultant's Report and ensuring Government act on its recommendations.

The Consultant's Report that more staff, back-up and increased opening hours in the existing cardiac unit in Waterford rather than a new cardiac unit would most effectively improve the lives of Waterford citizens probably make sense and could be by far the most effective in bringing about change in the short term. This should be good news for public representatives who could now negotiate to ensure such relatively easy-to-implement actions take place immediately. The Independents are in a strong position, given their negotiating leverage in the current government.
Building units takes time and involves a range of possible obstructions down the road when your negotiating position may not be so strong. The National Children's Hospital project might be a warning.

Long term budgets for adequate service provision not capital projects should be paramount

On a recent course (Spring 2016) with FLIRTFM in conjunction with the community radio CRAOL Programme - Speaking Up For A Change for over 50’s - it became clear, talking with retired administrative and social staff and patients who had been at the coal-face of the HSE over a long time, that when administrators are asked to find cuts - and that’s pretty much every year - the first budgets cut are those for pay and services. This could be changed relatively quickly if we had the will. Buildings and capital expenditure budgets are less easy to cut but also are for projects that take much longer to provide.  The real outcome wanted is for access to good enough service.

Maximise what we have

In the conversation it became really clear that staff and adequate resources to maximise the use of the buildings and expensive machines and to make them work are what continually get cut. This problem could be solved most easily were the will there to do it - which there isn’t. We say we want improved community care and to maximise the use of hospital resources and then cut the budgets for every initiative put in place to make it work. We were talking about mental health budgets but it was clear the finding was true across the board. We need long-term ring-fenced budgets for this first and foremost. (The resulting programmes from the Speaking Up for A Change will be broadcast on community radio across the country over the autumn/winter season).

Deputies, do you want to cut the ribbon on a new unit or ensure your constituents get the service they are desperate for? 

You may be in a position to choose the best option to get them the service it needs. Deputy Halligan, it your case it will mean retaining your position to ensure whatever you can get agreed actually happens.