I’m delighted to be adding two new poets to the Irish section of Poetry International this week. From different generations and aesthetic backgrounds, they are united by their internationalism, their jagged lyricism and by the intense dedication with which they approach the craft.
As Vincent Woods writes:
Always formally adventurous, Macdara Woods is one of a small group that Eva Bourke has termed “The Dublin Bay Poets”: with Pearse Hutchinson, Paul Durcan, and Leland Bardwell he brought news and noise of the larger world ringing into the pages and pubs of 1960s and 1970s Dublin, and shaped his own style that can look with equal ease to the glory of Gaelic poetry, the best of the Beats, and a few centuries of European poetry.
Michael S. Begnal, meanwhile, remarks how
The mainstream paradigms and poetic models are insufficient for Alan Jude Moore. His second collection, Lost Republics (Salmon Poetry, 2008), was largely written in Moscow and takes up themes such as empire, emigration, and belonging. Walking past the Kremlin at night, the speaker of ‘Snow Trucks’, though alone and alienated, nonetheless has the feeling that
before the city begins
its transfer to the morning,
all my drunken friends are waking
in pale banks of light.
Strasbourg (Salmon Poetry, 2010) “marks a return to Dublin” in regard to theme and place, as the cover blurb explains. It is where he really does begin to push the boundaries of form. The work in this book is sometimes paratactic and makes use of concretism (e.g., the poem ‘Spire # 1’ has words arranged vertically) and typographical experimentation. ‘Sweny | Druggist’ (which incorporates all of the aforementioned techniques) makes an overt allusion to James Joyce’s Ulysses in its title.
My poem ‘Wake’ features in Nick’s Coffee Company, Ranelagh, as part of the Ash Wednesday Series
I’m delighted to have been quizzed by the ever-dynamic Dimitra Xidous as part of her Ash Wednesday Series. The series of interviews, which takes its lead from the great Leonard Cohen, has already featured Sarah Clancy, Christodoulos Makris, Doireann Ní Ghrírofa among others.. My contribution begins like this:
I think of poetry as a vast, infinitely adaptive scheme of echoes between words, one largely but not exclusively extra-semantic in nature. You know how a plucked string will cause a passive one to resonate in sympathy? Well I think of words exhibiting a similar tendency toward harmonic likeness; generating a comparable system of chimes. Rhyme is an obvious example of such sympathetic echoing.Rhythm and metre too. But there are other subtler acoustics.
Check out the rest of my interview -and the others in the series- here. The series concludes with a reading in the Ranelagh Arts Centre on March 5th, to which I’m very much looking forward
This year’s Cork Spring Poetry Festival kicks off today and promises to be one of the best yet. It features Paul Muldoon, Maurice Riordan, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Macdara Woods, Leanne O’Sullivan, Matthew Geden and many others. It happens mostly in the Cork Arts Theatre (the ‘Cat Club’ to us locals) on Carrol’s Quay by the Christy Ring Bridge. I’m reading with Amy Grestler at the last event on Saturday night at 10pm. Here’s looking forward to an inspirational few days.
Thanks to the lovely Suzanne Roberts I’ve been gifted these photos of my time at Sierra Nevada College. I was there teaching for a week last month, teaching on their MFA programme’s Winter Residency. It proved quite the experience: flying into Reno, travelling up 7,000 feet toward the shores of Lake Tahoe, one of North America -and indeed the world’s- largest Alpine lakes.
At one of the lake’s many spectacular coves
The college itself resembles a Swiss ski-lodge, with its tasteful wood facaded buildings that blend into the forested landscape.
I’d like to thank my students (Laura, Laurie, Todd, Curtis, Robyn, Sarah and Shane) for their efforts over what was a most inspiring week. And also of course the great Lee Herrick, who co-taught with me for several days.
The Sierra Nevada College Poetry Contingent
It’s an experience from which I’m sure I take away far more I gave, one from which I return with freshly-minted memories and friendships.