by John Kearns
Photos by John Kearns, Sile B. Fee, and Bronagh Lawson

On Tuesday January 17th, Irish American Writers and Artists held a special event — a transatlantic salon in which New York and Belfast artists shared their work via Google Hangouts.  Bronagh Lawson hosted the artists in Belfast and John Kearns hosted in New York.


Bronagh Lawson

Bronagh Lawson is a visual artist/ curator and art blogger who has been tracking the emerging Belfast art scene since 2010. Bronagh is a long-term collaborator with Suellen Semekoiski from School of Art Institute Chicago, looking at Art and its impact on healing violence.  Her 2016 exhibition,  The Ebb and Flow of East Belfast was exhibited at as part of the 1916-2016 Commemorations supported by British Council and An Roinn Ealaion Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, the Department of Arts and Gaeltacht. Bronagh’s work based on the experience of visiting every church in Belfast for a service to is to be completed in October 2017  for the 500 anniversary of the Reformation.

John Kearns opened the proceedings with his poem, “Transmigration of Soul,” about how Irish and African music traveled across the Atlantic to blend into the American music of rock ‘n’ roll. The poem, an excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, was a finalist in the 2012 James Hearst Poetry Prize and was published in North American Review.


A Ruth Gonsalves Moore photo

From Belfast, Ruth Gonsalves Moore, winner of the Taylor Art Award for 2014, presented 10 photographic images including from the series Bethel,  A glory to herInheritance, and Angels and Ordinances. Interested in faith and worship practices, Ruth works from an insider/ outside position speaking to female sensibilities, around “dress” and dress codes


Anthony Roberts

In New York, Anthony Roberts shared poems that are snapshots of a worldview of a Soldier and a Citizen questioning the responsibilities of both. There is an old curse, “may you live in interesting times.” The silver lining is that interesting times often produce interesting poetry.


Geraldine O’Kane

Geraldine O’Kane, originally from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, is a poet, creative writing facilitator, arts administrator, curator and mental health advocate. She is part of Poetry NI, a multimedia platform offering opportunities and resources for poets in Northern Ireland. She recently received an Artist’s Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) award from Arts Council of Northern Ireland. She is working towards her first full collection. Her pamphlet “Quick Succession” is available to purchase via Pen Points Press.

Geraldine is co-host Purely Poetry monthly mic nights held in The Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast. Her poetry is mostly inspired by observation, addresses the issues society would prefer not to talk about, and is firmly seeded in the oral tradition of storytelling. She specializes in micropoetry.  Her work has been published in anthologies from Community Arts PartnershipThe Galway ReviewPoethead, the Poetry Super HighwayThe Incubator, and elsewhere. Her work can be found at and


Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher read an amusing memoir entitled ”Tables” that traced her culinary adventures from the less than ideal environs of her mother’s kitchen to the gleaming steel and tile domain of a professional cooking school.


The afternoon crowd in New York


The evening crowd in Belfast

John Kearns opened the second half with his poem, “Valentine Avenue, Bronx, NY” about a miserable seeming February 14th in the Bronx, which ends with a helium heart rising above the ugliness.


Work of Gerry Gleason

Gerry Gleason enjoyed sharing selected art works from a career spanning over forty years by Google Hangouts with the Irish American Writers and Artists of N.Y.C.. He was also happy that the image of the painting, “Raining Dollars N.Y.C” could be finally seen digitally in the city that inspired the image in 1993.


Mary Lannon read an excerpt from her novel-in-progress, Tide Girl.  The dystopian novel satirizes a corporate, pornography-soaked world that is a little too close to our own.


Colm Clarke

Colm Clarke is an artist based in Belfast creating actions, sonic scores and situations. Colm develops his work as a tactile strategy with collaboration, humor and interventions. Colm is a member of Queen Street Studios and Bbeyond performance collective.  Colm Clarke presented recent project HOME AGAIN – a project in two parts focusing on a film and radio broadcast working with pigeon fanciers and asylum seekers that reside in Belfast. He is interested i the pigeon clubs as social spaces and the enormous distance these birds navigate in their flight back to captivity and as a counterpoint to this interviews and radio program in collaboration with asylum seekers to tell their own story and journeys.


Accompanied on guitar by Adam Bilchik, violinist and singer-songwriter Adrianna Mateoconcluded the salon with three songs:  “Coney Island,” “August Sun,” and another inspired by show tunes.  It was a rousing and beautiful end to our second transatlantic salon!  Adrianna’s most recent single is available on iTunesGoogle Play, and YouTube.

Hopefully, this is was the first of many events in which we can share our work with our friends in Belfast!

See you at our next IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on Thursday, February 2nd!  We will be welcoming guests Patrick Mahoney and Cormac O’Malley with their new books about the Irish in Connecticut and about Irish rebel and writer Ernie O’Malley.

Here is the 2017 IAW&A Salon schedule.