Skip to main content

Poet in Residence

This blog is by way of introduction to me and is also intended as a channel of communication during my term of residency in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown/IADT. Think of it as the virtual office of the residency, feel free to drop in, post an idea, a response, or conduct relevant business. Check this blog first to find out what’s going on, when the next workshop is, or join in the discussion and/or the other literary excitements that may blossom on this little patch of the cyber planet.

Some information about me: I’ve published seven collections of poems with The Gallery Press. These are: Marginal Zones (1984); Talk, Talk (1987); Ways of Falling (1991); The Ledger of Fruitful Exchange (1995); Bring Everything (2000); Selected Poems (2004); Nonetheless (2004). I've lived most of my life in Dublin, with longish spells in Holland and Italy. Am married to another poet (!), Enda Wyley, and we live in the city centre with daughter Freya (born May 2005) and a mad West Highland terrier who is barking outside as I write this, looking for his breakfast. I'm also the current editor of Poetry Ireland Review, the quarterly poetry journal of the national poetry organisation. You'll find a link to Poetry Ireland, in the links column on the right. Until 2003 I was director of the Irish Writers' Centre in Parnell Square, but have now opted for the fruitful wilderness of freelance-dom. Help!

As resident writer for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown/IADT I'll be running workshops, presenting a series of readings, and performing various other writing-related tasks which will be detailed here. The first workshop will be for IADT students and will take place between September and Christmas, most likely on Thursday evenings at 5 pm. Full details to be posted later. The workshop will draw on poetry, since that's what I do, but we'll venture into all kinds of other territories since the skills and excitements and surprises of all forms of writing are connected. What you learn from a poem can be applied to a filmscript, what you learn from a story can likewise be brought to bear on the next poem. Sample texts and participants' work will also feature in the blog.

Since the residency is partly based in an institution with a variety of artistic flavours I'm particularly interested in a collaborative project that mixes up poetry with one or more of the audio/visual arts. I have a couple of ideas but would love to hear from anyone who might be interested in coming aboard for preliminary discussions. Again, if something does come out of it, details will be posted here.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The rustling of the silk

Back after a long absence with three versions of a poem from the Chinese, for our edification, followed by a moral quandary.

The first is Ezra Pound’s.

Liu Ch’e

The rustling of the silk is discontinued,
Dust drifts over the court-yard,
There is no sound of footfall, and the leaves
Scurry into heaps and lie still,
And she the rejoicer of the heart is beneath them:

A wet leaf that clings to the threshold.

Much has been written about Pound as a translator or mediator of Chinese poetry into English. He didn’t speak Chinese, so his versions don’t have scholarly pretensions. In the Cathay poems he relied on the notes that Ernest Fenollosa compiled in Tokyo, and was quite happy to use the Japanese designation Rihaku for the Chinese poet Li Po. Arthur Waley, whose own translations of Chinese poetry were hugely influential, objected to many of Pound’s versions, though it’s hard to see how his version of, say, ‘The River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter’ improves on Pound’s. Pound’s great gift as a p…

John Riley

John Riley’s early death — he was murdered by two muggers at the age of forty-one — combined with a history of publication by small presses and a talent that doesn’t lend itself to easy categorisation have tended to keep his work on the margins, admired by the few but generally unknown. This is a pity, because Riley was one of the finest poets of his generation. In his lifetime he published three collections, Ancient and Modern with Grosseteste Press, which he founded with Tim Longville in 1966, What Reason Was, and That is Today, published by Pig Press in 1978, the year of his death. The now out of print Collected Works (Grosseteste Press) came out in 1980. Carcanet published his Selected Poems, edited by Michael Grant, in 1995.

I had always been impressed by the few poems I came across in anthologies like A Various Art, edited by Andrew Crozier and Tim Longville. The impression I had of an extraordinarily gifted poet was borne out by the Selected Poems. I first came across this in …

Songs of the earth (1): Yannis Ritsos

The Meaning of Simplicity
I hide behind simple things so you’ll find me; if you don’t find me, you’ll find the things, you’ll touch what my hand has touched our hand-prints will merge.
The August moon glitters in the kitchen like a tin-plated pot (it gets that way because of what I’m saying to you), it lights up the empty house and the house’s kneeling silence– always the silence remains kneeling.
Every word is a doorway to a meeting, one often cancelled, and that’s when a word is true: when it insists on the meeting.
(Translated by Edmund Keeley, published in The Greek Poets: From Homer to the Present, Norton, 2010)
Yannis Ritsos’ output as a poet was enormous. He published more than a hundred collections of poetry, and often wrote with great speed, sometimes producing three collections in a single year. Such protean fluency can interfere with the reception of a poet in his own culture, and it can also inhibit or distort the reception in translation. How do you choose? How much o…