About Billy Ramsell

I'm a poet, occassional reviewer and occassional translator from the Irish language. My book Complicated Pleasures was published by the Dedalus Press in 2007. Since 2003 I've co-run Forum Publications, an educational publishing company.

Reading at PoetryFest, Irish Arts Centre, New York City

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Review of ‘Il sogno d’inverno dell’architetto’ on Poesia

 

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Billy Ramsell, “credo che uno scrittore possa imparare molto dalla musica”

 

This summer saw the publication, in Italian translation, of my second collection, The Architect’s Dream of Winter. It was a dream come true to see this book, ably translated by Lorenzo Mari as Il sogno d’inverno dell’architetto, make its way into the world.

And I’m delighted  to see it reviewed here, on the popular Poesia website, by esteemed writer and critic Giovanni Agnoloni.  Mr Agnoloni has graciously translated the opening of his review, which reads as follows:

Billy Ramsell’s poetry, in this excellent collection marvellously translated into Italian by Lorenzo Mari (who is also the editor of the series of books “L’altra lingua”), proceeds on a bordering territory consisting of several splinters of contemporary world, projected onto the stylistic level and, mostly, onto that of contents. It is a fragmented and syncopated chant of a modernity filled with technology, a reflection of a world broken up in numberless facets, but also produced by the re-elaboration of the legacy of the great Twentieth century masters of Irish poetry (above all, William Butler Yeats). Their contemplative spirit breathes here, filtered by the author’s sensitivity, through gashes opened onto metropolitan solitudes soaked with jazz notes or hurlers’ movements, with their loose solfeggio and rattling sticks beating the time of a totally intimate prosody.

Billy Ramsell moves around the poetical forms with ease, combining his verses with brief prose pages, through which he goes deeper into the meanders of the intrinsic paradoxes of our time. The poet seems to have interiorly recorded and then reproduced on an imaginary stave the disconnected notes of the background noise of our historical season, filled with often-aborted attempts of computerised communication, but also with lyrical outbursts that seem to consume their intensity right upon being conceived. And not for a limit of their own, but because even regret and lyrical yearnings are luxury, when everything around proceeds so fast. Yet, that brief moment remains, emitting, in its quasi-instantaneousness, a longing for eternity that tends to persist, at least in intimate memories, as the effect of a music interpretation lasting – in the external world – just the time of a performance.

 

The full text, in Italian, along with an interview Mr Agnoloni conducted with me during his recent trip to Ireland, can be found here. My thanks to Giovanni, to Luigia Sorrentino, curator of the Poesia site and, as always, to my translator Lorenzo Mari.

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Giovanni Angoloni, writer, critic, translator and Fiorentina fan.

Reading at the University of Tours, France

Last month saw a highlight of my writing life as I read at the Université Francois Rabelais, Tours, France, as part of the Printemps des Poètes.

It was a privilege to read to such a discerning receptive audience and to hear my poems read in French versions by arch-translators Fanny Quément and Guillaume Cignal.

My thanks are due not only to these wonderful  translators but also to all at the university who made this event possible.

 

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With translator Fanny Quément.

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With translator Guillaume Cingal

Pushing it! Poetry for Beginners at West Cork Literary Festival

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I’m delighted to be leading this year’s Poetry for Beginners workshop at the West Cork Literary Festival, in Bantry, County Cork. The workshops run from the 16th to 20th of July and here’s a hint of what lies in store:

You’ve started to write poetry. You’ve been assembling coherent lines and stanzas, wrenching music from sentences and syllables. You might even have been lucky enough to see your work in print.

This workshop is designed to help you take the next step.

We’ll learn not to rest contented with a poem’s earliest configuration. Instead we’ll keep pushing things, playing with shape and meaning in the hope that a text’s full potential might be unlocked.

We’ll use as our exemplars not only contemporary poets like Alice Oswald and Jorie Graham but also canonical figures like Wordsworth and Donne, as well writers and artists like Schoenberg, Kafka and Picasso.

We’ll utilise a variety of techniques, from rhyming to dreaming, to let our poems reveal their intentions.

We’ll work together in order to push ourselves, and our compositions, somewhere genuinely unexpected.

Other fine workshops are being lead by Eimear Ryan, Sineád Gleeson. Dave Lordan and Martina Evans among others.  So if you’re in or near West Cork this summer (and really there are few better places to be) why not consider booking now for what promises to be a fine week of writing and relaxation!

Il sogno d’inverno dell’architetto

It’s a pleasure that my book The Architect’s Dream of Winter has been just been published in Italian translation, as Il sogno d’inverno dell’architetto. It’s out from Casa Editrice L’Arcolaio in Forlì, near Bologna. It’s a truly special privilege to be translated in such an extended fashion.

My deepest gratitude is extended to all at L’Arcolaio for their exquisite production values, to Alberto Masala for his erudite introduction and -especially- to Lorenzo Mari for his patient, painstaking translation. Thanks are also due to Literature Ireland for their generous support. 

I look forward to promoting this wonderful object, hopefully both in Ireland and in Italy, once spring is finally with us.

 

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The Poetry Review, Winter 2017

I’m delighted to see my poem ‘Two Boys’ published in the latest edition of The Poetry Review. Also included are new poems by Jen Hadfield, Mark Waldron, Kayo Chingonyi, Dave Margoshes, Richard Georges, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Carrie Etter among others. My thanks to editor Emily Berry.

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The Elysian: Creative Responses

 

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I’m delighted to report that The Elysian: Creative Responses, edited by myself and Professor Graham Allen is now available from its publisher New Binary Press. This anthology, which meditates on Cork (and Ireland’s) tallest building features some very gifted contributors:

Included are poems, stories and essays by Paul Casey, Patrick Cotter,  James Cummins, Madeleine D’Arcy, Cal Doyle, Julie Field, Fergal Gaynor, Matthew Geden, Kevin Griffin, Sarah Hayden, Paul Hegarty, Danielle McLaughlin, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Mary Noonan and Rachel Warriner among others.

 

It was a privilege to work on this project with Graham Allen and to launch it this month along with his new book Holes: Decade 1 in Cork’s Granary Theatre. Special thanks, too, to New Binary Editor James O’Sullivan