Friday, June 27, 2008

Roscommon Anthology

Well, today marked the first day of real work on a Roscommon Literary Anthology. A number of meetings, some useful contacts made, and names to follow up on. A member of Roscommon Library for the first time in ** ( not tellen) years and the map ahead is becoming clear. Clearer too for having verbalised the whole plan to a number of people and got their initial and very positive reaction. The list of possible authors takes firmer shape in my head, and lists are materialising in my hands. It’s exciting.

A bit of good luck too: met by good chance an avid collector of Roscommon books, documents, ephemera etc. A lot of this material can be seen at It’s a very interesting website which I’m looking forward to exploring and at first glance can recommend strongly to anyone with a fondness for the county.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Window with a view

With June comes the most spectacular skyscapes. The sun vies with angry graphite clouds for show-time. For a moment a mushroom with a white heart like a nuclear explosion dominates the sky. The sun breaks through, as quickly disappears again. South Donegal, Donegal Bay, Sligo, even Mayo, (Nephin in the far distance), opens and closes. Wispy grey showers sweep along Ben Bulben’s shoulders.

There is a broad window on the west side of the house which is full of this ever-changing panorama from dawn till dusk. It is breath-taking.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dublin's Poets Corner

There used to be free outdoor poetry readings outside the Scottish Poetry Library just off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh each afternoon during the Summer season. I think they were open readings, at least that’s how I remember them; its a few years ago now. Anyway they were, to my mind, a very attractive addition to the joys of Edinburgh summer afternoons.

I remember thinking, when Poetry Ireland was based in Dublin Castle, that similar readings could have been quite successful there or, since then, on the Grafton St corner of Stephen's Green.I know free summertime readings in themselves are nothing new, it’s the location that’s important. I also think that over the Summer season a number of poets might give their time to man/woman a stall of publications for sale while the readings were in progress. It could rotate between the different publishing presses or different bookshops.

Sponsorship from Dublin City Council(since Dublin's tourism is all about its writers), a colourful canopy over the books, a built up reputation as Poets Corner, etc etc.(Maybe it has been suggested and shot down already). It needs an organisation like Poetry Ireland to set up, then I would volunteer.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Johnson's Cabinet Still Full

“I believe that this War, upon which I entered as a war of defence and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest…………………………………………………

I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops, and I can no longer be a party to prolonging those sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust.

I am not protesting against the military conduct of the War, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed………………...………”

Words written by Siegfried Sassoon in his “A Soldier’s Declaration”, a statement he penned as “an act of willful defiance of military authority”. How tired would he be by now of the “political errors and insincerities” that continuously stream through the media and which have cost the lives of millions since his death in 1967.

Mention of this reminds me of Robert Bly’s “Johnson’s Cabinet Watched by Ants”; it can be read at