Unlaunched Books

Unlaunched Books podcast is a weekly virtual festival, masquerading as a podcast. Every Thursday we introduce new books of poetry to readers and listeners isolated by the current pandemic. We talk to poets, festival directors, readers and critics about the books they would have been expecting to launch this spring and summer… 



In our eighth and final episode of the series, John, Seán and Victoria reflect on the process of making a pandemic podcast and read one poem that has stuck with them lately. They also hear from academic Caroline Magnennis about the online month-long conference she is hosting for BAIS, and poet Julie Morrissy picks her Poem in a Pandemic.

Poetry pamphlets, the increasingly-popular short-form poetry format, are where much exciting new work is emerging: in Episode 7 we talk to three poets, Susannah Dickey, Micheál McCann and Audrey Molloy, about the process of publishing their new pamphlets. Film-maker and audio archivist Éamon Little remembers recording the poet Francis Harvey at Cúirt, while poet Vona Groarke talks memorably about Emily Dickinson in the “Poem in a Pandemic” slot.

The podcast went visual this week, with thanks to Culture Ireland and their #IrelandPerforms initiative: you can watch Unlaunched Books, with poems read by poets who featured on the podcast, here.

In Episode 6, John talks to Paddy Bushe about his new books, Peripheral Vision and Second Sight, Hilary Copeland discusses the changed working conditions of the Irish Writers’ Centre and reads a poem by Emma Must, while poet Rachael Allen talks about Elizabeth Bishop in the “Poem in a Pandemic” slot.

In this week’s podcast, Seán talks to Linda McKenna about her first collection In the Museum of Misremembered Things, Rozz Lewis reports on her pandemic project The Holding Cell and its National Poetry Day Feature, while Pádraig O Tuama chooses a WB Yeats poem as his “Poem in a Pandemic”.

In Episode 4 (23/4/20), Sinéad Morrissey talks to Seán about Found Architecture, her new Selected Poems, Patrick Cotter makes the case for a generation of Cork-based poets influenced by John Montague’s presence at UCC, while Nidhi Zak chooses a Rilke poem as her ‘Poem in a Pandemic’.

Episode 3 (16/4/20) features Róisín Kelly talking about her first collection Mercy with Victoria, while novelist Sara Baume chooses her ‘Poem in a Pandemic’ and Liz Kelly talks about the winner of this year’s Irish Times/ Poetry Now prize in ‘The Curator’s Take’. Liz reads from Eiléan Ní Chuileanáin’s “Love” from The Mother House (Gallery, 2020 ) and also a personal favourite, Leanne O’Sullivan’s  ‘A Healing’ from The Mining Road (Bloodaxe Books, 2013).

Episode 2 (9/4/20) features Tom French discussing The Sea Field with John, who describes the poems as seeming to aspire “not so much to being right or wrong, as to being perfect”, an idea Seán and Victoria discuss, before introducing Martina Evans’ choice in the ‘Poem in a Pandemic’ slot, and another cancelled event in ‘The Curator’s Take’.

Episode 1 (2/4/20) features Colette Bryce talking to John McAuliffe about her new book, The M Pages, and reading from its title sequence, what John calls “a memorable, weighty piece of writing, which bears comparison with another of the great elegies of this century, Denise Riley’s A Part Song.” 

Seán Hewitt and Victoria Kennefick discuss Colette’s new book, while Selina Guinness explains why a poem from 1923 speaks directly to her experience of the pandemic now, and in our “What Might Have Been” slot, Maureen Kennelly talks about a planned event at Poetry Ireland which she has had to cancel, and explains why she had wanted to put it together… 


Guest poets & links to books

“We know you moody, silent, sensitive, / Quick to be offended, slow to forgive, / But to your discipline the heart / Submits when we have fallen apart / Into the isolated personal life.” WH Auden, 1932

Audrey Molloy at Southword Editions

Susannah Dickey at Bad Betty Press

Micheál McCann Green Bottle Press

Éamon Little’s documentary on Francis Harvey

Vona Groarke at The Gallery Press

Paddy Bushe at Dedalus

Sinéad Morrissey at Carcanet

Linda McKenna at Doire

Róisín Kelly at Bloodaxe

Tom French at The Gallery Press

Martina Evans at Carcanet

Colette Bryce at Picador

Colette Bryce website


Alice Oswald Woodberry Poetry Room

Colette Bryce Poetry Archive

Andrew Scott on George Herbert The Poetry Exchange

About Us

Seán Hewitt is a poet, reviewer (at the Irish Times and elsewhere) and an academic at University College Cork. His (unlaunched) debut collection is Tongues of Fire (Cape, 2020)

Victoria Kennefick is a poet and teacher, based in Kerry. Her pamphlet, White Whale (Southword Editions) came out in 2015.  

John McAuliffe is a poet, reviewer (at the Irish Times and elsewhere) and editor, a curator of literary event series (Literature Live 2004-March ‘20; Poetry Now 2002-07), and Professor of Poetry at the University of Manchester. His new (unlaunched) book is The Kabul Olympics (Gallery).


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