Sunday, July 27, 2008

Jean-Philippe Goude

I went searching for Jean-Philippe Goude who is credited with the music on the Bosch animation below. It was worth it, check out his website at

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bosch Animation

If you are a Bosch fan there are some nice compilations of his work on Youtube. You might also search for Bosch animations while you're there; there are two or three worth seeing. This is one of two posted by "visualartslab" which I like, I particularly enjoyed the soundtrack.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Increasing Poetry Readership

When I passed up Manchester United on television to give a poetry reading in the back room, the barman commented, as he pulled his chair closer to the screen, that it was easy to see that I was a poet. I bit my lip; there’s not many things I enjoy more than settling down in front of a good game of football.

But this view of poets, (and similarly for practitioners of other art forms), is extremely common and one that will have to be addressed if we are not to witness the continued shrinkage of the poetry sections in bookshops, readings on radio, indeed its perceived relevance to society in general.

It’s not that there isn’t a fondness for poetry; there is, maybe even more than previously but it’s losing out to other forms of entertainment in the media and no one is going to come to the rescue if those involved don’t.

Elsewhere on this blog I suggested that Poetry Ireland, (since it will take such a central organisation), organise a Poets Corner in Dublin (maybe the first of many throughout the country) where everyone/anyone can stop for 15 minutes to listen and buy poetry. I would suggest that a meeting of interested parties be set up to discuss the initiative and organise as big a kick-start as can be mustered.

Secondly. I was for a time involved in the organisation of poetry competitions for students. I discovered that the prospect of publication in a well-distributed book had greater appeal than prizes and drew in greater numbers of entries. I firmly believe that it is in the student years that readers can be won over to poetry. Is there a possibility that Gallery Press, Dedalus Press, Salmon Press and all the other poetry presses in Ireland, with or without Poetry Ireland, could pool their resources to produce such a publication? It would be very saleable in schools and colleges, seriously crank up their visibility and would be an investment in their own futures.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Bit about Mee

A recent RTE "Arts Show" featured the American playwright and author Charles Mee.

It was an absorbing interview. I found myself in agreement with his views and will, when I get time, look deeper into his work.I also admired his approach to his own work. He described his borrowing from Greek drama and welcomed all comers to do likewise with his material.He welcomed writers to pilfer from his website (see where he has posted the scripts of his plays.

So if you're looking for ideas for a play where better to start.Wonder would similar work for poets?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hidden Irish Treasures

Fore, Co Westmeath came to the fore,(couldn’t resist), on radio last week. The conversation widened out to unknown treasures (destinations worth visiting) around Ireland.

Certainly Fore is beautiful and, like Dysert O’Dea, unexploited. To my mind Clonmacnoise has lost its charm, thanks to the powers plonking a visitor centre on top of it. Same at Mellifont Abbey. How nice it was to be able to walk casually and unaccosted into these wonderful places without having to pay. It gave me a sense of pride my country's heritage. Now I feel cordoned off from it, and the admission charges are an imposition on what was, to me, part of the landscape's grandeur like Ben Bulben's escarpment.

No, I’m not against visitor centres, let’s have more of them, but not barring the way into what used to be ours.

So here are a few alternatives which to the best of my knowledge don't charge at the door: Kilmacduagh Abbey near Gort, Monasterboice in Louth, Inis Murray in Sligo, Holy Island on Lough Derg, Jerpoint Abbey in Co Kilkenny, Ballintubber Abbey in Mayo, Abbeyknockmoy in Galway and Duiske Abbey in Graiguenamanagh.

Finally, as a Roscommoner, I can also recommend a visit to Roscommon's 12th century abbey and castle and to the museum in the Square as a very nice way to fill in a day.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

poetry on the wall

So, just as I’ve finally got round to pasting all the pictures and photographs that have inspired me over the years onto the walls of my work- room, guess what? The wallpaper’s beginning to fall.

But that aside, to look at the walls is to look at a history of my writing. So there’s Goya and Bacon, Kahlo, Monet, Reichter, Wyeth etc. There’s photographs of war victims next to O’Keeffe’s flowers, a baby being thrown from a burning house beside a holy well and the galician maskers that were the subject of a chapbook that was published some years ago in Galicia. The title of that small book is Felos aínda serra which was published by AMASTRA-N-GALLAR. It contains some wonderful mask illustrations by Charles Cullen and the translations into the galician were done by Sonia Vila Aragunde. There is a photograph elsewhere in this blog of the masks. I’ve yet to see the Felos in real life; it is an ambition.

Google the word peliqueiros in the images search to see what I’m talking about. If you can look at them in black and white they make a radically different impression than they do in colour; this is the way I saw them. And so the poems are dark, much in keeping with the most likely origins of the masks.

My head is an egg shell:
intact, hollow;

abandoned on the ground,
weather leaves its stains.

On the outside I smile that smile
which passers-by notice less and less;

and all I can do
is keep widening it;

wider and wilder,
eventually grotesque.

They flee;
I am left alone.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Cloverhill Church

We had spent the day touring around Mayo and Galway and were now nearly back in Roscommon town when the driver slammed on the breaks and reversed. He took out his camera for the first time that day and took a photo of Cloverhill church at the end of a yew-lined road. I had passed it a hundred times over the years and missed the beauty. It was a useful lesson for a poet, it doesn’t have to be grand-scale to be stunning; Georgia O’Keeffe would have told me that.

I remembered that just as I was about to write about Skellig Michael. Nothing small-scale there, one of the most spectacular places on the planet and a world heritage site. Worth mentioning that this is a good month to go as the puffins will have left Skellig by August.

I was going to post a video from Youtube with this post but it can't be done so I recommend strongly that you check out the video, Georgia O'Keeffe's Flowers; it's worth it. Instead, for a badly needed bit of colour, I'm putting in the Laburnum filling my bedroom window in May; I think Georgia would approve.