Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lucky Thirteen

One of the best pieces of news for Irish poetry this year is the return of Force 10; Issue 13 is out now.

In the past I always enjoyed its mix of the written and the visual, local and national, its non-pretentiousness and liveliness, its generous size (the new issue has 160 pages).

So thanks to those that have made it possible and good luck to Dermot Healy and all involved, I hope the force remains with us for a long time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

All -Ireland Poetry Day

How do I know I need to mix more? When just about every poet I’ve ever heard of has a gig but myself.

And that’s close enough the case on the Poetry Ireland supported all-Ireland poetry day on Oct 2nd. They are supporting a reading in every county in Ireland. It’s very impressive. A huge number of poets are involved and that’s great to see.

I especially like the poetry of John F Deane (reading in Dublin), Ger Reidy (Mayo), Gabriel Rosenstock (Roscommon), but there are numerous poets worth hearing all around the country and looking at the list I see that I am out of touch with some of the newcomers to the scene. Co Donegal is hosting an Oíche fhílíochta as is Leabharlann na Ceathrún Ruaidh, agus beidh fílí Chiarraí ag léamh san Daingean. The big Galway event includes mayors of city and county reading personal favourites and a particularly strong musical component with Judith Mock and John Feeley performing.

All in all it’s a tremendous effort. Lets hope the events are well advertised and the suppport they deserve arrives.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Needing Something Different

I look along my poetry collection needing something I can’t quite define in the same way one sometimes has a desire for a taste: something different, something exotic; a drink? And then I find “The Stinking Rose”, a beautiful, exotic and highly original collection of poems by multi-award winning poet Sujata Bhatt. It was published in 1995, (can it be that long ago?), and is one of six collections published so far by Carcanet.

Now it’s on its way to my bedside table and will take up residence there for about three months. Here, for an example of that difference, are the opening few lines from the title poem:

The Stinking Rose

Everything I want to say is
in that name
for these cloves of garlic-they shine
like pearls still warm from a woman’s neck.

My fingernail nudges and nicks
the smell open, a round smell
that spirals up. Are you hungry?

Friday, September 5, 2008


Recently I’ve been thinking of the love poems I won’t be writing. But I do find my ‘would be’ words in the writings of others. When it comes to love, it’s hard to beat Kahlil Gibran.

“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation”

“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. And if they don't, they never were”

“Love and doubt have never been on speaking terms”

“And think not you can guide the course of love. For love, if it finds you worthy, shall guide your course.”

On the other hand there’s the love guru, Woody Allen, who came up with this,

“I was nauseous and tingly all over. I was either in love or I had smallpox”

For poignancy: “I miss you a little, I guess you could say, a little too much, a little to often, and a little more each day.”

I don’t know who said that, but I know.