Friday, December 28, 2007

Irish Literary Revival

I’m greatly impressed by the “Irish Literary Revival” website, (a new discovery for me), which contains the texts of out-of-print books by Sara Berkeley, Patrick Chapman, William Wall, Nessa O’Mahony, Philip Casey and others.
It’s an excellent resource for readers and authors alike. Only in existence since 2006, I imagine it will expand greatly over the coming years. Check it out:

Monday, December 17, 2007

Slimming for the Beach

Thanks to Philip Casey for plugging this blog on his own blog "Slimming for the Beach". Here's the link:
Saw Philip on Friday night at an 80th Birthday Symposium celebrating the poetry of Pearse Hutchinson.Interesting to hear, at one point, many of the poets in attendance described as belonging to a subculture that produced a less hard, less academicized brand of poetry than that which followed.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dylan Thomas......sort of

While surfing for readings of poets, found this on Youtube.

Tennyson reads "The Charge of the Light Brigade"

Amazing to hear Tennyson’s voice. Sassoon, Kipling, Dylan Thomas, Yeats, Betjeman, Graves, Edith Sitwell, Plath, Ginsberg and many more can all be heard at But Tennyson - just doesn’t seem possible.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hawthorns on the mountain

Isn’t the windswept hawthorn the most perfect representation of the mountain weather in Barnesmore, Donegal. Gnarled, grizzled, stunted, they protrude from the moss-coloured slopes like the skeletons of prehistoric birds struck flightless at their moment of take-off. They are crusty old codgers caught in photogenic poses between the grey-lichened outcrops of granite and the moving outcrops that are the sheep on the mountain, and the tangling, cloud-coloured, gushing streams. They make for the best of neighbours.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Wonderful Goya

"First Light", Brian Eno and Harold Budd


Amazing how inspiration can be cultivated from visiting other forms of art. I’ve turned to music: classical, eg Bach, electronic, eg Eno, Sigur Ros; painting, eg Bacon, Goya; photography, eg McCullin, Minihan.
When you feel you’re open to inspiration it’s worth checking the arts listings. Last night it was jazz in JJ Smyths: a Bill Carrothers composition entitled Peg unlocked a long- standing difficulty with a particular poem. So thanks to him, and a very enjoyable gig from the Kevin Brady Trio.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Midland Town

John Minihan is one of Ireland's finest photographers. I've written a series of poems based on his images from his book " Shadows From The Pale ". You will find no truer photographic representations of Irish life, 60's - 80's than these. I thought I had the poems ready to publish 2 years ago. Now, 2 years on, I see they're not there yet.
Anyway if you can get a hold of this collection, do and while you're at it also buy Samuel Beckett - Centenary Shadows. If you've loved a Beckett photograph, it was probably one of John's.
Here's one of the poems, already published in The SHOp:

Mrs Clancy - pulling a pint,
asking John Quinn about Kate Nealon’s
accident the other evening outside Lawlors -
when Tadhg Foley comes in,
says “How’s Tadhg. A pint Tadhg ?”
“Hello Mrs Clancy”

“ Here y’are John.” She takes the silver.
“She had to leave the bike in Mulhalls,”
“William Featherstone’s gone over, Missus.”
“Not the first time, Tadhg” she says.
“No, nor the last either” says Tadhg
with a bit of a chuckle.

“Mike Deegan has the rest of it in anyway”
says John. “And how’s Breege ?” she asks;
“A lot better than yesterday, but she’ll hardly be right.”
“I suppose not.” says Mrs Clancy
climbing up on her stool at the end of the bar,
“I suppose Maeve will have to do.”

“Wasn’t Maggie Deegan related to the Nealon’s”
quizs Tadhg. “ She was, and Brennans in Clooncraff.”
Terry Watchorne comes in. “How’s Terry.
A pint Terry ?” Climbing off the stool,
over to the tap, lifting her arm, she says
“Wasn’t that awful about Kate Nealon.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


In 2005 a chapbook of poems “Felos ainda serra” was published by AMASTRA-N-GALAR . These were poems I wrote in response to the photographs of Galician Carnaval maskers, felos, taken by Emilio Araúxo. Today I found a newspaper reference to the collection on the net, but, you guessed it, I don’t have a word of Galician.

Here’s one of the poems and, above, one of Emilio’s beautiful photographs

This evening I will leave my mask and crutch,
go to the well, immerse myself
till there is no chill;
till water, moss, sky and I are all one marble.

So when you find me, my love, this smile,
my limbs and fingers will be milk-white;
rosaries will be hanging; petitions,
stuffed between my jaws, fluttering in the wind.

And the reason will hang: a faint quivering
of atoms in the air around you,
an SOS in a register just beyond audibility;
and the mask’s smile: a mouth full of soil.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sabne Raznik

I would like to direct you to “Leather-Clad Muted Blue Star”; this is my friend, Sabne Raznik’s blog. It can be found at Information about her collection of poems, Following Hope,including excerpts and reviews can be found at So call in.

The SHOp

Came across an honourable mention of myself in the NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW
(july '07). It was in a review of the irish poetry magazine,TheSHOp, by Pat Jourdan and can be found at The SHOp is a tastefully produced magazine that features very fine poetry, and is well worth seeking out. (But then , I would say that; wouldn’t I)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A symposium to celebrate the work of Pearse Hutchinson will be held in Trinity College Dublin on the 14th and 15th of December this year. Very many aspects of the poet's work and interests will be covered in a very full programme. Check it out.

For those not familiar enough with his work, on Fri 14th there will be readings from Pearse’s work by Michael Augustin, Sujata Bhatt, Eva Bourke, Harry Clifton, Louis de Paor, Paul Durcan, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Ciaran O’Driscoll, Alan Titley, Martín Veiga, Macdara Woods, Vincent Woods, myself and others.

A well overdue celebration.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Friday, June 8, 2007

Poems about Love

On days like this trees shine,
leaves spill light,
the garden is a flood,
rooftops full-flowing weirs.
I am swept along.

You, who collects sunlight
on the spatulas of your fingers
(it clings to you like pollen),
curl a hand upward,
to loosen out your hair;
Oh, I wish my eyes were barrels.

When you pass

cups miss mouths,
ladders slip,
buckets crash down,

cars veer,
cyclists swerve,
drunkards sober up,

poles and policemen collide,
business men miss kerbs,
schoolboys drool.

Me? I’m just your wing mirror,
enjoying the devastation
behind you.

My mother’s china cracked
because of that blue;
a brittle blue.

Your eyes are blood-shot :
bolts of lightening
crack your gaze.

Sitting at this round sky’s
centre I can gauge
the universe’s balance.

Your irises;
for an hour, two, three,
I am Galileo.

I watched the film on her face;
settled into that landscape

of shadows flitting, as images
scudded across the screen.

I could spend a lifetime
beneath that sky;

grow old like a fisherman
whose eyes are burnished

from watching weather;
his face tattooed from living it.

He thinks I do not notice;
he never once looked at the screen.

But wrapped up snug in his feather down gaze
I was electricity,

played the film on my face
so he could read inside me,

and then, if he liked what he saw,
he would be mine.

When I am sleeping
you come
softly over these stones;
I turn deeper.
You slip words into my ears,
liquid syllables,
sickles sliding down.

Night-time turns drunk;
longing for more,
your tongue to enwrap me;
I turn deeper.
You trickle down dreams;
our limbs braided,we slip into one.