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Maps and Mapmakers

Why is a map of a city so evocative? It is, after all, in many ways a reductive representation, reducing the din, excitement and variety of the urban experience to a dry sketch, an outline plot, an aid to navigation or administration. It offers, maybe, an illusion of control: you gaze down at a city captured in its entirety, enjoying the bird’s eye view, as if you might swoop down into a park or street and bear off an exotic snack or trinket. For all its apparent dryness and strict functionality a map holds a pure appeal to the imagination. To look at a map of a city you don’t know is to inhabit it virtually, dreaming your way from Avenida 25 de Mayo to Avenida Scalabrini Ortiz, from Prinsengracht to Sarphatistraat or from the Riva degli Schiavoni to Piazza San Marco. Technology has intensified this experience, so that we can test a city before we visit it, using Google’s street view to survey the restaurants near the hotel and scope out our evening stroll, swinging round through thre…
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Interview with a General

Interview with a General was broadcast on RTE Radio on Sunday 15 October and is now on the drama website in case anyone wants to listen

This evening's radio-play is a contemporary recapitulation of an ancient drama from sixth-century classical Greece. It was Aeschylus, the father of European theatre, that first told the story of the opportunistic warlord who sacrifices his daughter for strategic advantage; and it is poet Peter Sirr, himself a professional translator, who has transposed the original setting of the Agamemnon to the slaughter-house of modern Syria.
Des Cave played the General,  Deirdre Monaghan ... his wife Clara Liz Fitzgibbon his daughter Anna Cathy Belton ... Ellen the journalist. Sound supervision was by Tom Norton.

The play was produced by Aidan Mathews.

Krakow debut

Peter Sirr to Debut Listowel Award Winning Play11 October 2017

Rehearsed Reading of Peter Sirr's first stage play Krakow, Sunday 15th October at 7pm. Winner of the Eamon Keane Full Length Play Award.

Siamsa Tíre supports a national writing platform and hosts a Rehearsed Reading in association with Listowel Writers Week on Sunday 15th October at 7pm. Winner of the Eamon Keane Full Length Play Award, Krakow is the first stage play by acclaimed Irish writer/poet Peter Sirr.  For this Rehearsed Reading, Neil Flynn directs a top cast of Irish actors – Gerard Byrne (Malachy, Fair City), Geraldine Plunkett (Mary, Glenroe), Moya Farrelly (This is my Father) and Peter Hanly (Braveheart). More


Krakow, Rehearsed Reading, Siamsa Tíre, Tralee, Sunday 15 October pm

This is my first play for stage, so I'm very much looking forward to seeing how it goes...

In Search of Poetry: Richard Murphy

What is the cost of poetry? Or rather, what is the cost to oneself and others of a life of dedication to a lonely art? Which perfection, in the Yeatsian formula, do you choose, the life or the work? The title of Richard Murphy’s new book suggests a reflection on the art of poetry from a master practitioner now approaching his 90th birthday, but the book is much more personal and intimate than that. Part journal, part working diary, part memoir, all from the early 1980s, it charts the initiation and development of the sonnet sequence that would make up The Price of Stone, the poet’s much praised 1985 collection. Each poem in what became a 50 sonnet sequence ventriloquises a building that has a resonance for the poet. This in turn means that the poet becomes the addressee, the biographical subject matter displaced into the consciousness of a roof-tree, restaurant, industrial school or ancestral home. They are free to address and accuse the poet so that the sequence also functions as an …

To Mark Anthony in Heaven

Another I couldn't resist

William Carlos Williams

To Mark Anthony in Heaven

This quiet morning light
reflected, how many times
from grass and trees and clouds
enters my north room
touching the walls with
grass and clouds and trees.
trees and grass and clouds.
Why did you follow
that beloved body
with your ships at Actium?
I hope it was because
you knew her inch by inch
from slanting feet upward
to the roots of her hair
and down again and that
you saw her
above the battle's fury--
clouds and trees and grass--

For then you are
listening in heaven.

What Gets Lost

I couldn't resist this one, by the brilliant poet, essayist and translator of Borges, Neruda, José Emilio Pacheco, Herberto Padillo, Eugenio Montejo and others.

Alastair Reid
What Gets Lost

I keep translating traduzco continuamente entre palabras words que no son las mías into other words which are mine de palabras a mis palabras.

Y, finalmente, de quién es el texto? Who has written it? Del escritor o del traductor writer, translator o de los idiomas or language itself? Somos fantasmas, nosotros traductores, que viven entre aquel mundo y el nuestro between that world and our own. Pero poco a poco me ocurre que el problema the problem no es cuestión de lo que se pierde en traducción is not a question  of what gets lost in translation sino but rather lo que se pierde what gets lost entre la ocurrencia -sea de amor o de desesperación between love or desperation- y el hecho de que llega a existir en palabras  and its coming into words. Para nosotros todos, amantes, habladores as lovers or users of…