Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Roscommon Anthology is in the Shops

The Roscommon Anthology was launched on Thursday night by Vincent Woods in the majestic King House, Boyle. A great night, with readings by featured writers: Jane Clarke, Mary Turley McGrath, Brian Leyden, John Waters, Gerry Boland and myself; Elaine O’Dea read a Margaret Cousins’ piece, and singer, Cathy Jordan, gave the most beautiful renderings of Percy French songs. We are indebted to County Roscommon Library Services for hosting the event.
The reaction to the book was fantastic. The artworks by Roscommon-associated artists really lifts the publication, the accompanying literary map is a work of art, the biographies add an extra level of interest to the content.
The celebrations now move to Dublin. Radio producer, writer, Seamus Hosey, will launch the anthology in the Uppercross House Hotel, Upper Rathmines Road this coming Thursday, Nov 28th, at 6.30pm. There will be readings by some of the anthology writers, including Patrick Chapman, Kevin Hora, Kieran Furey and myself. A special treat on the night will be an appearance by Noel O’Grady. We are very grateful to Roscommon Association Dublin for sponsoring the Dublin launch.
The book is now available in selected shops including, in Dublin, Alan Hanna’s, Books Upstairs, The Winding Stair and Connolly Books. Distribution will become wider, check for outlets countrywide or order directly from the website.
Here’s the wonderful Noel Grady performing.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Missing Guinness Ad

Back in Feb 2012, I was bemoaning the fact that I couldn't find a particular Guinness ad that I used to see in the cinema back in the eighties. I spent hours trying to find it. There was Joe McKinney dancing while the pint settled, there was the pub clock ticking as the rowers transported a barrel of Guinness over Galway Bay, Louis Armstrong telling us "there is all the time in the world", and the white horses galloping in the waves. When I keyed in surf that's the one I got, but I was looking for a Hawaiian beach circa 1980. I was looking for the quintessential summer experience: sea and sand, sexy girls and sun, glorious heat and azure seas. And surfing. Surfing was still a rarity in Ireland back then;  the ad was a two-minute dream vacation. And the music! I had the ghost of that guitar still playing somewhere in my head and I had a longing to hear it again; for the sun and the bright light and blue rolling ocean and, I suppose, two minutes from my youth.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Mountain

First I saw a goat, a prehistoric creature with colossal spiralling horns,
coarse matted hair and yellow eyes.
A herd of goats trailing down a gorge
was her hair, ragged streams divining routes down her back,
a cloak of autumn-gold tussocks
with swirls of inlaid bronze bracken blazing in the sun.
Her face was a graphite sheen; eyes: crags in a waterfall,
nose: a darkened  boulder with cold glittering cheeks on either side.
Close by, a rowan’s red mouth was chortling;
a cloud had torn itself to rags escaping the clutches of a hawthorn;
above us hail stones were ripening for a fall.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Left Field Self-Portraits

I think the process of writing good poetry is very similar to painting in non-conventional styles, in some ways there is more in common here  than there is with prose-writing. The more radical the approach the more interesting. Here is a selection of self-portraits that stand out; artists that can do these, I think must have that poetry thing. Indeed I think dwelling on any of these for a while might well inspire a poem.
Schiele in typical Schiele fashion

Francesco Parmigianino's Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror; I love the hand.

Tintoretto seeing himself with rheumy eyes

Dali company-keeping with bacon: Soft Self-Portrait with Fried Bacon

Escher Self-Portrait 1919 Woodcut

 Crespi Self-Portrait

Courbet (forgot his mobile)

Difficult to decide which Kahlo, but this has some of her trademarks

Francis Bacon looking pensive. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Roscommon Anthology Launch Dates

A Celebration of Roscommon’s Writers

What have Oscar Wilde’s father, Douglas Hyde, Oliver Goldsmith, John McGahern, Turlough O’Carolan and John Waters got in common? Put a Ros before the common and you’ve got it. They are all writers connected with County Roscommon. 
They, along with 25 other Roscommon connected authors, will feature in a new book to be published this month. The book will be illustrated with artworks from artists with Roscommon connections. A colourful Literary Road Map of County Roscommon is also being published as a companion document. The book entitled THE ROSCOMMON ANTHOLOGY was edited by two natives of Roscommon town, Michael and John O’Dea. The foreword was written by Prof Mary McAleese, ex-president of Ireland and a woman of Roscommon ancestry. The book promises to surprise many people with the great literary heritage that County Roscommon possesses.
The Anthology will be launched at 7.30pm on Thursday 21st Nov in King House, Boyle. Roscommon Libraries will be hosting the event, and Vincent Woods will be launching it.
There will be a Dublin launch at 6.30pm on Thurs, Nov 28th in the Uppercross House Hotel, Upr Rathmines Rd, and a Roscommon launch at 6.30pm on Friday 6th Dec in The Bank of Ireland, The Square, Roscommon.
And you are definitely invited!