Poetry International Rotterdam 2014

Myself with poets Adam Dickinson and Daniel Falb

Myself with poets Adam Dickinson and Daniel Falb

I had a fantastic time last week at the Poetry International festival in Rotterdam.It was a treat to participate in the programme in honour of Seamus Heaney, in the translation
presentation and in  the poetry cafe.  The festival, as always, was an absolute model of its kind. It was exhilarating to encounter for the first time  poets like Adam Dickinson, Daniel Falb, Norbert Hummelt and Habib Tengour. And also of course to reacquaint myself with the work of Peter Gizzi and Julian Talamantez Brolaski.  Kudos to Bas Kwakman and his team who somehow manage to up their game year after year.  Here’s a list of nineteen things I learned over the course of my stay…

Review in Colony: Issue 2

Jessica Traynor

Jessica Traynor

I’m delighted to see that my collection The Architect’s Dream of Winter has been reviewed in the second instalment of Colony Journal.  The reviewer -poet and dramatist Jessica Traynor- has this to say:

Billy Ramsell’s second collection has been six years in the making. The poet’s methodical approach is reflected in a book that feels thematically coherent from the outset; almost like a concept album. There’s an allegorical beast lurking beneath the surface of this collection, a beast made of wires and cables and QR codes we read without realizing. It rears its head occasionally to remind us of its presence, but for the most part we’re lost in the surface language, lulled by its musical rhythms and surprisingly delicate imagery. This is an immersive collection, one that teaches you its language before ejecting you, leaving you with a heightened awareness (or perhaps suspicion) of the world in which we live….There is a weariness to the humanity in Ramsell’s poems, but it endures nonetheless. This book is essential reading for those ready and willing to risk a clear-eyed engagement with our world as it is, and as it may be in the future.

It gives you a bit of hope to get a positive notice, a sense of connecting and being heard. And that’s even more so when -as in this case- the reviewer expends the time and energy to engage with what you’re doing or trying to do.

And Colony’s second issue, featuring no less than 34 artists across 8 different disciplines, surely establishes it beyond doubt as one of literary Ireland’s most vital organs…