Monday, September 14, 2009

Brian Henderson

This short film on Brian Henderson directed by Shane Dignam was posted on YouTube. Brian Henderson is an Irish artist who made a name for himself very early in his career. A member of Aosdana, he spent a number of years in New York and became very familiar with the art and music scenes there. These have influenced him.
His work reflects his open-mindedness: abstract, he works free-form, very much following his own lights.

Though now back in his home town Dublin, I suspect his escape from Ireland helped to free him from the limitations of the smaller scene that existed here in the seventies and eighties. His current exhibition continues in the Taylor Galleries on Kildare Street till Sept 19th.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

17 syllables

and that's where the similarity with haiku ends, written on a bad day:

Heart, empty hangar
but for a step-ladder
and a bucket of oil.


Tranlations from 3 Japanese masters. Love the delicacy.

No sky
no earth - but still
snowflakes fall (Hashin)

Come out to view
the truth of flowers blooming
in poverty (Basho)

Walking on dishes
the rat’s feet makes the music
of shivering cold (Buson)

More at

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Heights of Passion

It’s a long time since I read Wuthering Heights. The recent ITV mini-series was excellent, it portrayed the passion between Heathcliff and Cathy about as well as I think it could be done.

The obsession and violence, violence to gentleness, love. I think passion comes straight from our spiritual selves, that slew of forces we normally skate above, unleashed. And so I think the psychic connection between the two is a phenomenon that does exist. I also think the violence that one would expect should be abhorrent is an essential part of the experience. Having freed the beast that is passion, both see it as part of what is their shared and very naked entwinement of a life, and very much part of how they can feel what they share. Intense shows of affection and loving become very close to violence. To be less is not to be experiencing life at all. (Well that’s my stand on the matter.)

What’s interesting is that Emily Bronte had such a handle on it. But she had a short life, 1818–1848, which never got old enough to be a tired life or a cynical one. She had the isolation to free up her imagination, the environment to be acquainted with people and nature that were far from tamed, the experience of her older brother’s lack of discipline and his dying, a father who encouraged their imaginations and left them to their own devices. And if they were away from the hurly-burly of city life maybe it was a case of still waters run deep.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

All-Ireland Poetry Day 2009

1st October. Poetry events all over the country. For a county by county guide go to

I would like to think that this day would be used to tap into a new audience for poetry, hopefully it will. Certainly many fine poets are on the road, Ciaran Carson, Peter Fallon, Vona Groarke, Francis Harvey, Theo Dorgan, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill; too many to name. And there are readings at times that may attract a different clientele. It would be nice to see evening readings in those areas where the current listings are for working hours. I myself would have liked to get to something in the Dublin/Kildare area but the times don’t suit.

And it would be nice to see more readings by established poets alternating with open mike sessions; to give all enthusiasts (and their families and friends)a day out. In this regard I like Leitrim’s offering which takes place in The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon: Dermot Healy earlier on, later in the day there's local poets and music, and that's a attractive mix.Kildare's Q&A for 2nd level schools is a nice touch, (I've always believed the greatest potential for growing a poetry audience is in 2nd level schools), and Galway’s poetry competition with theme 'EYRE SQUARE' for the residents of the county hits the point of the day squarely.

That bit extra – you can’t beat the West !