Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Launch of Gunpowder Valentine: New and Selected Poems by Paul Perry

A FINE CROWD gathered last evening, upstairs from and just out of earth of the Portugal - Uruguay World Cup match, to hear Paul Perry read from Gunpowder Valentine, his just published New and Selected Poems that draws on three previous collections and his translations from the Lithuanian of Jurga Ivanauskaite. 

Accompanying the poet on the night was renowned whistle player / flautist – and Kila dynamo – Colm Ó Snodaigh. The largely improvised 'conversation' between poems and tunes was warmly appreciated by an audience that included a considerable number of poets and writers (Michael O'Loughlin, Judith Mok, Philip Casey, Meave O'Sullivan and Alan Jude Moore among them), as well as former and current students and members of the poet's family.

Gunpowder Valentine includes a perceptive Introduction by Siobhán Campbell and is available now direct from Dedalus and through the usual outlets.


Picture: Paul Perry reads from Gunpowder Valentine: New and Selected Poems, accompanied by Colm Ó Snodaigh on whistle. Photo © Pat Boran.
 


Thursday, May 08, 2014

Launch of 'On Water' by John O'Donnell, May 7th, 2014

A packed Little Museum of Dublin last evening for the launch of On Water, the third collection of poems (and first in a decade) by poet John O’Donnell.

A senior counsel who lives and works in Dublin, O’Donnell attracted large followings from both the legal and literary worlds, as well as general readers and a considerable number of admirers from print and other media. Alongside these were many colleagues from The Arts Council, Gary Coyle, the artist who contributed the much-admired cover image for the book, and family and friends, a number of whom had travelled from overseas to attend.

Introducing the book Niall MacMonagle called O’Donnell “an Irish poet who takes you places … a poet with a global reach” and praised On Water as the poet’s finest work to date. O’Donnell then gave a short reading from the book, which included a poem dedicated to the late Caroline Walsh, Literary Editor of The Irish Times.

The reading was followed by a surprise performance by singer Maria Doyle Kennedy with husband Kieran on guitar, adding to the sense of a special and truly celebratory event in a venue that had no few visitors vowing to return on a more leisurely occasion.

(All photos copyright © Pat Boran)





Friday, March 07, 2014

If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song launched at GPO, Dublin, 05 March 2014

A fantastic and slightly unreal night on Wednesday (5th March, 2014) for the launch in the GPO of If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song. Dozens of contributors to the book joined us for what was really a thank you to them and to the various organisations and individuals who helped to make the book possible. (April, of course, will see some dozens of events for the public, each using the book as a starting off point in what will essentially be a month-long celebration of poetry in the city, put together by the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Office under their Dublin: One City, One Book annual celebration.)

Last night, though, was for the poets, and none failed to feel the hand of history on their shoulders or its whisper in their ears as they gathered to celebrate poetry in a building with such huge resonances for poets and citizens in general. Renditions of Patrick Kavanagh's 'If Ever You Go To Dublin Town' and 'Raglan Road' topped-and-tailed a warm welcome from the GPO's Barney Whelan, and introductory remarks from co-editors Gerard Smyth and Pat Boran, as well as brief readings of their poems by ten of the contributors, among them Macdara Woods (on Aston Quay), Paddy Bushe (on the statue of Daniel O'Connell in O'Connell Street outside and reading the original and his translation of the middle Irish poem 'Moladh Bhinn Éadair'/'In Praise of Howth Head'), Enda Wyley (on the streets of Dublin 8), Gerry McDonnell (on The Adelphi Cinema), Enda Coyle-Greene (on Hawkins Street), Noel Duffy (on the Royal Canal) and Brendan Kennelly, whose appearance drew a spontaneous round of applause, reading his poem 'Raglan Lane'.



Above, Brendan Kennelly reading at the launch. Photos by Michael Boran. For more photos, see (and like!) the Dedalus Press Facebook page here.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Launch of Billy Ramsell's 'The Architect's Dream of Winter'


A great night in Cork's very welcoming Crane Lane Theatre on 21 November for the launch of Billy Ramsell's second collection of poems, The Architect's Dream of Winter. Preceded by short readings by poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa, together with guitarist Stephen Moore, and Conor MacManus reading from his hilarious prose memoir, Ramsell was in fine form and, as ever, delivered the poems from memory with a sense of engagement and passion that is hard to resist.

Introducing him on the night was poet Paul Perry who has kindly allowed us to publish here his introductory remarks.

***

Billy Ramsell’s second collection of poetry has been crafted with a steely and implacable patience. While his contemporaries are producing books every two or three years, here is a poet who has waited six years to deliver his second book - a book which in its holistic execution looks less like a sophomore offering, and more like the completion of a mature vision.

What
The Architect's Dream of Winter does is to detail and chronicle an extraordinary time in our history - a digital revolution no less, and how it impacts on an individual consciousness - the architect of the title perhaps - with a technical bravura, which is at the same time wry, poignant, and fabulously rich in its various lyric textures.

With an introductory epigraph from Racter, an artificial intelligence computer program that generated English language prose at random, we know we are in the hands of a poet who has both something serious to say about the nature of communication and composition and wants to have some fun doing it.

In that sense, Billy Ramsell’s concerns are both personal and at the same time global; there is from the opening salvos a playful suggestion of the digital high-jinx to come and what might be at stake too.

What struck me most on a first reading of The Architect's Dream of Winter is how beauty survives in a digital world, a world where we are told to ‘connect ourselves via the ports’ and then ‘relax’.

Here are hyper-textual conundrums, computerised terrain, servers, coding, monitors, systems, bugs, and discs and within and despite or in spite of all of the computer-speak is the sheer beauty and command the poet has over language - Quote

‘This butterfly is stitched for winter’

‘Remember lover you are made from data’

There are rhyming couplets, villanelles, ballads, and interactive hyper-text in this collection; there’s digital souls, humour and humanity, a dazzling array of poetic gifts and if as Kay Ryan says the poem is a suitcase that can never be emptied, than Billy Ramsell’s poems come not from the suit-case of a clown as Kay Ryan thinks of the source of her own work, but from the digital hub of a super-information highway, and whatever by-ways, lay-bys and boreens it might or in fact will take us down.

So what Billy Ramsell does is to take the dictum of the protagonist of Swiss novelist Max Frisch’s Homo Faber that ‘Technology... is the knack of arranging the world so that we don't have to experience it’ and turn it into something else, something more along the lines that technology is after all what makes us more human - of course I want to avoid as one critic put it the heresy of paraphrase, but I do want to alert you to the significant questions that TADOW asks, and they are namely - how do we live, how do we survive in a world which is mediated by digital technology, how do virtual environments enhance our experience of each other and our selves - or do they in fact diminish them?

These are poetic quandaries, but also philosophical questions of this fine collection which is brave, savvy and whimsical enough to announce in one poem - ‘I outsourced all my memories to machines.’

Now I don’t want you to get the idea that TADOW is not without fun, homage and history - look to the poems for the ‘aboriginal, liquid bodied’ Christy Ring, or the perfect fusion of man and machine in the reels of Pat McGlinchey.

Or look for the outrageously funny prose-poem Section 3: The Unseen Poem which ends with a set of ‘exam’ questions, one of which reads ‘The poet William M. Ramsell has never been to St Petersburg. Write a paragraph describing how this affects your understanding of the above piece.’

We’re still waiting for Alan Jude Moore, a long time Russian resident, who launched his fourth collection Zinger in Dublin last night to get back to us on that - but for now let me commend to you the two binary staples, the dna and source code, of the collection which are the literally breath-taking poems ‘They dance to keep from falling’ and ‘Ahead vast systems hunger’ - both rhapsodic, mesmerising and hypnotic in their cadence and typography - both poems containing a parallel italicised instruction where we are told that that our current session is timed to expire while at the same time the speaker of the poem reminds us of the ‘salt tang on the lips’.

It’s this ingenious incongruity, the physical salt tang together with the eponymous architect who has a screen clean as her own mind which makes BR a poet who people are reading and talking about.

Everybody I know who reads poetry reads Billy Ramsell. They know his presence as an editor, his commanding voice, both on the page and the sheer physicality of it in person; but there’s a subtelty to that robust presence, a tantalising jouissance in language, an essential and compelling gift we are lucky to be here tonight to share. 


© Paul Perry

The Architect's Dream of Winter is available from www.dedaluspress.com

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Launch Celebration for Coyle-Greene and Mathews Books

Great to see a capacity crowd at the Irish Writers' Centre on Monday evening last, 21 October, for the launch of new titles by Enda Coyle-Greene and Tom Mathews, a poetry audience defying the inclement weather and giving the two books a thoroughly enjoyable send-off.

Map of the Last is Skerries-based Enda Coyle-Greene's second collection of poems (see interview on this blog), the follow-up to her Patrick Kavanagh Award-winning Snow Negatives, also published by Dedalus, while No Return Game, also a second collection, is the follow-up to Tom Mathews' much-admired The Owl and the Pussycat and Other Poems.

Among those in attendance were poets Michael O'Loughlin, Iggy McGovern, Enda Wyley, Ray Givans and his wife Eileen, John McNamee, Philip Casey and Christodoulos Makris, painter Janet Pierce, Marion Kelly of the wonderful Parlour Review, and musicians (ex-Atrix) Hugh Friel and Chris Green, as well as friends, family and supporters of the two poets.

The books, of course, are available on the Dedalus Press website, or through good bookshops.



Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Enda Coyle-Greene, on Writing, and Reading, Poetry


To coincide with the publication of her second collection of poems, Map of the Last, later this month, poet Enda Coyle-Greene answers some questions on the writing, and reading, life.

How or when did you start writing poetry?

I can remember exactly when I started writing. I was in primary school, about seven or eight years old, and Mrs Ryan asked us to write a story about a haunted house. When she handed the stories back a day or two later, she went right around the room before telling me to stand up. I was a very quiet, shy child and thought I’d die of fright. But then she praised my effort for the language I’d used, and for the ‘style’ of the piece – I’ve never forgotten that word – and it was like one of those cartoon, light-bulb-over-the-head moments. I remember thinking, “I can do that.”  I’d been reading anything I could get my hands on since an even younger age, and always turned to the poems first in any new schoolbook. After that day I wrote stories, and increasingly, poems but never for a moment that that I was doing anything remarkable or special.

I just wrote. I had a couple of little poems published in school magazines etc. (a highlight was ‘Junior Press’!) I continued to write but kept the poems to myself.  It was only when I got into my early thirties and joined a writing group that I started to think seriously about submitting any of my work anywhere; even then, it was another few years before I actually sent anything out. I have my own reasons for that…      

What is it attracts you to poetry rather than to prose?

Its musicality certainly accounted for my initial attraction to the first poems I came across as a child and to my interest in poetry as an art form. I grew up in a home where music was part of the air we breathed.  My mother taught piano, in the house, and she also studied singing. My sister played the violin and my brother the guitar.

I was sent into town for piano lessons because my mother thought it would be better for me to have an outside teacher. My father couldn’t play anything but was passionate about classical music, especially opera, which he used to play, very loudly, to in every free moment he had. I still love to be able to ‘hear’ a poem, even as I’m reading it quietly.  Whether that happens because of metre, language, the breath of the line, or a combination of all of the above, doesn’t especially matter to me.      

I love paring everything back until, hopefully, less turns into more. I know that’s important in any kind of writing, but the combination of the compression of language, the possibilities of the line, and the actual physical space a poem takes up on the page makes it an almost tangible object and I love shaping that object.

There are a lot of ‘loves’ being thrown around here so I suppose the short answer would be to say that I love poetry. I enjoy reading and writing prose very much too, but the difference between working in poetry and prose is, to me anyway, like the difference between walking and dancing: both are highly enjoyable but dancing has that added element of music.       

Do you think poets have a responsibility to engage with the issues of the day? How do you think a poet contributes to her/his society, given the comparatively small ripples made by most poems?

I don’t think a poet has a responsibility to do anything other than write the best poetry that she/he can write, be kind to other people and animals, and to try and live a decent life. I’m not sure if poems are ever really ‘about’ something, to me they’re more of a way in to it. But if the issues of the day impinge on a poem’s landscape or narrative, if they insist on being there while the poem is being written and are central to the poem’s emotional honesty, well then yes, they should be engaged with, and as fully as possible.   

As regards how a poet contributes to society, I often think that the best we can do is to hold up a mirror for a probably very uninterested world to look into. But I’d hope that in telling the truth, slant or otherwise, there’s something else glimmering away there that might be saying something useful about the times we’re living in now.

If you hadn't chosen to write poems what other artistic activity might you have been drawn to?

Where do I begin? I have several visual artist friends and am always in awe of what they do. I’ve been known to spend whole days in art galleries. If I had money I’d buy paintings. Come to think of it, any of the few paintings I have were bought when I didn’t actually have any money. Music has always been central of course, but the guitar defeated me utterly and all those piano lessons never stuck.  There were a couple of bands, years ago, in which I was supposed to have been the singer, but luckily for the world we never got out of the garages!  I studied ballet when I was very young and absolutely lived for it.  I have to say though that during all the time in which I was actively engaged in all of the above, poetry was always there too as a constant, nagging presence. I didn’t choose it. I just eventually gave in.    

Do you have a favourite author/poet, and why?

That’s difficult to answer because there are so many and the list keeps changing. Poets and poems mean different things at different stages during a life but increasingly I find myself going back to my first loves.  If pushed though, I’d have to say Shakespeare.  It began with ‘greasy’ Joan and her pot – first read when I was a little girl – and it’s just gone on from there!

I also love Auden, Yeats, Hardy, and Kavanagh, for the same reasons I suppose. I met them when I was too young to be intimidated by them and they’ve stayed with me.


What book of poems would you bring to a desert island with you?

That’s even more difficult. On a desert island I’d need more than one voice to keep me entertained so I think a good, fat anthology would be the only thing worth having.

I especially like ‘Staying Alive’, edited by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books).  There are others in the series but this is my favourite. The range of poets included is very broad and covers almost every era up to and including the present day. I’d get up every day and select or invent my own narrative or emotional pathways through the poems to keep myself from going mad with boredom.     
 
What book are you reading at the moment? 

I always have a novel or a collection of short stories, a non-fiction book and a stack of poetry books beside my bed, so book will have to be replaced by books, I’m afraid!

I’ve just finished reading ‘Swimming Home’ by Deborah Levy and am about to start into ‘Quiet – the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’ by Susan Cain. 

It intrigued me when I read the reviews because to be written, or read, poetry needs peace and quiet and it’s getting harder and harder to find either.

I re-read poetry books constantly. It’s like listening to music, recognising the tune but hearing something different on almost every listen. I have poetry books on shelves all over the house but I’ll suddenly think of one I have to read now and then I’ll go and get it and place it on the pile beside my bed.    

Some there at the moment include Hart Crane’s ‘White Buildings’, ‘Elegiac Feelings American’ by Gregory Corso, ‘Poems of Louis MacNeice’ as selected by Michael Longley, and an absolute favourite, ‘Mercian Hymns’ by Geoffrey Hill. These are older books (I love old books) bought second hand or received as gifts.  But there are also more recently published books there too, like ‘New Light for the Old Dark’ by Sam Willets, ‘The Wrecking Light’ by Robin Robertson,  ‘The Invisible Threshold’ by Catherine Phil McCarthy, and ‘New Selected Poems’ by Carol Ann Duffy.      

***

Map of the Last by Enda Coyle-Greene, alongside No Return Game by Tom Mathews, will be launched at the Irish Writers' Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1 on Monday 21st October 2013 at 7.00 pm.



Friday, September 13, 2013

If Ever You Go chosen as Dublin: One City, One Book title for 2014

We are delighted at the announcement this morning that the Dedalus Press anthology If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song (February 2014) has been chosen as the Dublin: One City, One Book title for 2014.

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
The Dublin: One City, One Book title for 2014 is something completely different yet very Dublin. Dublin City Libraries and Dublin UNESCO City of Literature have announced that If Ever You Go: a map of Dublin in poetry and song will be the One City One Book choice for April 2014.

If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song is a collection of poems, ballads and songs from a range of literary luminaries connected with Dublin. The book is arranged street by street so the reader is continually making new connections and discoveries on a virtual tour of the City of Words.

“This is an exciting first for One City, One Book. We expect If Ever You Go to build on the initiative’s success in showcasing great Dublin writing to a wider audience. The poems, songs and ballads in the collection are also ideal for the public readings, performances and theatrical events which animate One City One Book”, says Margaret Hayes, Dublin City Librarian.

A full programme of associated events throughout the month of April will intrigue and engage Dubliners and visitors to the city. The programme will be launched in March 2014.

Edited by Pat Boran and Gerard Smyth and published by Dedalus Press, If Ever You Go : a map of Dublin in poetry and song is a unique volume of writing about Dublin, from early to modern times and will be available to borrow from libraries and to buy in bookshops from February 2014.
It includes writing by both historical and contemporary figures, among them Swift, Synge, Yeats, Joyce, Kavanagh as well as Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Dermot Bolger, Paula Meehan, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Derek Mahon. There are songs and ballads from the city's colonial past, verses by leaders of the 1916 Rising, and portraits of the modern city with its Spire and Luas tram, its Celtic Tiger 'prosperity' and its post-Celtic Tiger challenges.

The choice follows the hugely successful Strumpet City programme in April 2013 which saw James Plunkett’s novel top the borrowing figures at Dublin’s libraries and the bestseller lists in bookshops. Since the initiative started in 2006 Dublin: One City, One Book has encouraged everyone to read a book connected with Dublin during the month of April.

If Ever You Go: a map of Dublin in poetry and song will be published in February by Dedalus Press and has the support of The Arts Council and of Poetry Ireland.

Dublin: One City, One Book is a Dublin City Council Public Libraries’ project organised by the Dublin UNESCO City of Literature Office with support from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Friday, August 30, 2013

If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song

IF EVER YOU GO: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song is a major verse anthology from Dedalus Press, due in Spring 2014.

Editors Pat Boran and Gerard Smyth present a unique invitation to explore, street by street, one of the world's most famous literary cities through the poems and songs it has inspired in both English and Irish, by contemporary as well as historical writers.

A virtual tour of the city and environs, If Ever You Go features writing familiar and new by writers whose work adds up to a unique and intimate portrait. Contributors include poets already synonymous with the city — Swift, Yeats, Joyce, Clarke, Kavanagh, Kinsella, Boland, Bolger and Meehan among them — as well as a host of others who have made some part of it their own, including Máirtín Ó Direáin, Leland Bardwell, Eavan Boland, Derek Mahon, Michael Hartnett, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Patrick Deeley, Macdara Woods, Enda Wyley, Jessica Traynor, Ailbhe Darcy and many many more.

Street singers and balladeers rub shoulders with haiku and performance poets in an anthology that has its heart set on the very streets we live and work and play on. Groundbreaking in its reach, celebratory in its outlook, If Ever You Go is a record of the connections and epiphanies, the missed chances and last buses that knit all of the streets outside our doors into a map of a city where poetry truly matters.

Stand by for further news closer to publication.

POETRY MATTERS: SPREAD THE WORD

Seamus Heaney (1939–2013), RIP


It is with great sadness that we learn this morning of the death of Seamus Heaney, a poet of immense power and achievement, and earned authority. A great advocate of poetry, Seamus was also a great friend to poets, publishers and of course readers everywhere  who felt they knew him, and knew his world, through the precision of his writing and the keenness of his vision.

If ever a poet could be said to have recognised the importance of keeping poetry at the heart of our conversation with ourselves it was Seamus. Certainly any time we had any reason to contact him, looking for help or advice, he was beyond generous and always encouraging.

His profound contribution to writing in Ireland, and on a world stage, has been unmatched in our time, and leaves us all with an enormous sense of loss, as if we were suddenly in a dark place and seeing things, which we had taken for granted, were now the greatest and most elusive miracle.

"And yes, my friend, we too walked through a valley.
Once. In darkness. With all the streetlamps off."
– xxxvi, 2 Settings, Squarings, Seeing Things (1991)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dedalus 'New and Selected' poetry titles now on Kindle

A number of Dedalus Press New and Selected poetry titles are now available for the first time on Amazon's Kindle platform. 

They include, Even So: New and Selected Poems by Mark Roper; To Ring in Silence: New and Selected Poems by Paddy Bushe and Groundswell: New and Selected Poems by Patrick Deeley. Also included in the latest ebook releases is Leland Bardwell's seminal short story collection, Different Kinds of Love, reissued last year to considerable acclaim.

More titles to follow. And don't forget that our groundbreaking ebook anthology Airborne: Poetry from Ireland is available on Apple's iBooks platform and features selected texts in audio format read by their authors as well as an extensive overview of the work of the Dedalus Press.

Spread the word!

The Portable Creative Writing Workshop now on Kindle

Pat Boran's popular writers' handbook 'The Portable Creative Writing Workshop', in print since 1999, is now updated and available for the first time on Amazon Kindle. 


"How do writers write? What do they do when they're stuck for ideas? Or how do they take those still vague ideas to the next level, maybe even all the way to publication? Whether you belong to a writing group running low on steam, or are struggling on your own and looking for some helpful direction, this book - now in its fifth reprinting and updated for this new edition - offers all the practical assistance you'll ever need. Covering everything from ideas for generating raw material to form and technique in poetry and prose, prize-winning poet and writer Pat Boran (who has conducted hundreds of writing workshops over the years) takes a hands-on approach to the creative writing process, concluding with a new section for those considering their own first steps towards publication. Accessible, enjoyable and stimulating, The Portable Creative Writing Workshop is an ideal starting point (and travel companion) for anyone setting out on the writer's journey."

As well as this new Kindle edition, an updated print edition is also available from 04 September 2013. See here.

Friday, August 16, 2013

W.H. Auden's 'Humpty Dumpty' by Tom Mathews

W.H. Auden’s ‘Humpty Dumpty’
Tom Mathews


Smash all the timers, let the sands run out,
Prevent the concert in the last redoubt.
Cancel the papers, put the Rolls up on blocks,
Replace the king’s men and his horses in their box.

Print the announcement in the Times with black edges,
Bid the herd cease its sighing in the sedges,
Strip down each blossom from the apple bough;
Cause the wall to be dismantled, he will not need it now.

He was my prose, my verse, my lines, my words.
He was my rose tree full of singing birds.
He was my tortoise in his jewelled shell.
I thought he’d sit on walls forever; but he fell.

Melt all the icecaps, suck the oceans dry.
Burn every copy of ‘The Egg and I’;
Uncover your head and cower in the freezing rain.
For nobody now can put him back together again.

***

‘Other poets are witty, disappointed, pithy, heart-broken, indignant, erudite, sarcastic and witty (again), but only Tom Mathews is all of these in his own winning Tom Mathews way. His readers – me for one – are lucky to have him.’
— Billy Collins

- See more at http://dedaluspress.com/p/no_return_game

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Two of five shortlisted titles for Irish Times Poetry Now Award from Dedalus Press

Two of the five shortlisted titles for the 2013 Irish Times Poetry Now Award are published by Dedalus, and we're delighted at the recognition received by these fine collections, the only Irish-published books to make the shortlist.

Catherine Phil MacCarthy’s The Invisible Threshold is her first title from Dedalus, while Mark Roper’s A Gather of Shadow follows on from Even So, his New and Selected Poems published by Dedalus in 2008. Excerpts from both of the books can be found on the Dedalus Press website here.

The other shortlisted titles are Harry Clifton's The Winter Sleep of Captain Lemass, which is published by Bloodaxe Books,  James Harpur’s Angels and Harvesters and the late Dennis O’Driscoll’s Dear Life, both from Anvil Press.

The winner, which receive an award of €2,500, will be announced on September 7th at the Mountains to Sea DLR book festival (see www.mountainstosea.ie).

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

An Interview with poet Patrick Deeley

Interview: Aoife Byrne talks to poet Patrick Deeley, following the publication by Dedalus Press of Groundswell: New and Selected Poems.

Do you have a particular method of writing?

Each collection seems to tie in with a particular period of five or six years in my life. I have to live a bit, to gather fresh experiences as raw materials for poems. So for example the new work in Groundswell, recently published, has to do with my ongoing preoccupations – landscape that’s both rural and urban, stories from history and modernity, meditations on nature and folklore – but now as well there are poems that dwell on ageing, on art and music, on the sustaining of love over time and on the nourishment that comes from a long-lasting love. These themes have come more and more to the forefront.

I write mainly at night. I enjoy the quietness. The poem often starts with an image, and I build on this and see where it goes. I love the physicality of being in the world. I plunge in. Images come of that sensual engagement, but then there’s narrative as well.  If I’m lucky the poem gathers to some kind of earned wisdom or insight. After the rush of the initial draft I have a fair idea whether there’s something worth keeping or not. Then I edit. This job of editing is about as much fun as trying to extract a thistle thorn from your finger with a sewing needle – but crucial if the poem is to have a chance. 

How has growing up in Ireland influenced your poetry?

I spent my childhood in rural East Galway in the late 1950s and early 1960s. My father was mad about machines and timber.  He had a sawmill and a carpentry workshop where he made all manner of things – hurleys, furniture, cartwheels, farm implements, even coffins at one stage. I loved watching him shaping wood. My mother as well as being a home-maker did much of the farming.  Part of the farm consisted of a Callows or wetland meadow, with its own specialised flora and fauna.  I skived off there just to avoid work. Both the beauty and solitude grew on me, and influenced my poems, later – I saw nature in its raw state, up close, at first hand. But the skills my father possessed, and the lives of local people who lived round about us, and their colloquial speech, also chimed with me when I began to write.

My grandmother made ballads. Seumas O’Kelly, a relation of my father’s, wrote the highly regarded novella, The Weaver’s Grave. But there were few books in our house. My parents were pragmatic.  They worked hard. They loved talk, the oral tradition. I began to write only after I’d moved to Dublin to train as a teacher.  The home place and the memories came back to me unsentimentally. I enjoyed the quickness and the freedom of city life, and that also has shaped my poems. I still return to County Galway every so often, to meet my family. It’s the trigger of childhood memories, but when I splice these with later experiences and events from the present the poem happens out of that.

Landscape is sometimes still the spur, but I’m more interested in how we’ve harnessed and transformed it. My own memories, as well as more general notions about the primordial, can work as a starting point, but the poem must catch and connect the old world up with the possibilities of now.  That, for me, is the challenge and the excitement. Somebody remarked that you have to keep glancing around and behind you while reading my poems. I like the implication, the ghost lurking in the machine of the poem at any moment liable to jump out.

Are there any particular themes that, as a poet, you feel compelled to write about?

Yes. To do with nature, but not simply as nature poems, more a case of how we impact on the earth and how the earth impacts on us. Groundswell: New and Selected has five sections and these sections have themes in common as well as specific themes of their own. In the first section, The Hidden Village, I address my early life and the lives of my neighbours in Foxhall, the townland where I was born. 

In King of the Wood, trees are the compulsion, for themselves and for the myths and folktales associated with them. These are frequently given a modern twist or written at a slant. My father lost his life in a tree-felling accident, and maybe it was a working out of grief at what had happened that brought me to face up to trees, their beauty and their versatility, their panoply of legends and their mystery, and the sense of loss I felt for my father, with his sawmill and workshop and the machines and implements he had put his hand to left behind as a reminder of him.

In The Flowing Bones section I examine aspects of the earth and its creatures at ground level, to find out what makes them tick, and I focus more on city life as well as on the increasing urbanisation of rural Ireland over the past decade or so.

In the fourth section, Fear Bréige, I’m having a lash at the recent economic disasters that befell our country – using as catalyst a rudimentary scarecrow or ‘Fear Bréige’ who finds himself in Dublin, living with some builders and made to serve as an ineffectual witness of the entire boom and bust.
And in Groundswell, the substantial batch of new poems that comprise the fifth section of the book, well… I’ve talked about some of the themes there earlier.   

Has your idea of poetry changed since you started writing?

I think poetry – the reading and the writing of it – helps to enrich and develop our consciousness.  In my classroom in Ballyfermot when I was a teacher I encouraged the children to write poems in their own language and out of their own experience, for precisely this sense of personal enrichment – not just in terms of vocabulary but because poetry helps expand our ‘creative space’, where alternative possibilities in the way we live our lives can occur to us.

For my own part, each poem is always a beginning, a shot in the dark. It’s a more studied undertaking now, less fun perhaps because I’m trying to ratchet it up in terms of stretching the language as fully as I can, and deepening the layers of meaning or potential meaning, and aiming for beautiful expression always, even when the world the poem confronts is distasteful or unfair or considered ugly. I hope that the ‘argument’ in my poems has caught up with the imagery, that the wonder remains, and that the payoff for the reader is in finding more pleasure, greater reward in reading the poems.  

Do you think that the core ingredient of a poem is that it should be read aloud in order to be fully appreciated?

It depends on the poem, I think. Some poems are slow-burn, and need a good mulling over. Others demand the carry of the air. Others still may fit both forms of presentation. People who attend poetry readings often say that the poem read aloud by the poet enables them to appreciate it more. But then, reading poems aloud to an audience is its own knack, one that not every poet can manage effectively.

What do you think constitutes a successful reading?

A big and happy crowd held spellbound by a poet performing at the top of his or her powers?   

Are there any other poets to whose work you continually return?

There are several poets I admire, but what I tend to do is return to certain poems which I consider to be great and which I never tire of reading. I admire the way Hopkins mints a language to match his restless search, and the passion of John Donne expressed with tremendous technical excellence. The pure vulnerability of Theodore Roethke appeals to me, his lyricism hitting the spot, taking you there.  I met him once, when I was a child. He bought drinks for my father and the other men in John Joe Broderick’s pub in Kilrickle.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m reading Making Way, a novel by Theo Dorgan, and Savage Solitude, a book about the nature of being alone, by Máighréad Medbh.  I’m also reading current issues of The Stinging Fly, Poetry Ireland Review and The Shop – but not just because I happen to have poems in them!

Are there any creative mediums that you'd like to pursue that you haven't yet?

Recently I took early retirement from the job of primary school principal in order to devote more time to writing. Memoir interests me. At some stage I’d like to write about my father’s life – spent, as he would have it, “following tractors and various other contraptions”. I’ve had works of fiction for young people published by O’Brien Press, and if or when the poems leave me alone I may go back to that.

Which other contemporary Irish writers do you admire?

I admire far too many contemporary Irish writers to even begin to mention just a few.

Do you often find yourself in the company of other poets? If so, how do you think this might influence your work?

I don’t often meet other poets, except at the occasional book launch or festival. I never discuss my work with them – apart from with my editor, Pat Boran – nor do they discuss their work with me. I do feel that we recognise each other’s struggle, however, and the odd word of praise back or forth for work published does matter, especially from someone whose own work you admire.

Do you think the reading public has any preconceptions about poetry? If so, do you think that they are correct presuppositions?

The poetry reading public is small but passionate about poetry. I really don’t know what presuppositions there may be out there generally or even among poetry followers, but people who attend poetry readings seem well informed about the contemporary scene. What I would hope for are more informed anthologists, some of whom seem led by media perceptions of ‘who matters’ and ‘whose work is important’.  I would in common with other poets also welcome more space for reviews and critical attention for poetry.

Do you use the Internet to find new poetry? If so, where do you go?

I go to various sites including that of The Munster Literature Festival and The Irish Literary Times.  Naturally I go to the Dedalus Press website for their ‘Poem of the Month’ and to see what’s up.  I often use the Internet to locate the work especially of the poets of old, when I can’t find their poems in books, but I still buy a fair amount of poetry books.  I’ve a roomful of them, going back over thirty years.

What about some advice for aspiring Irish poets?

Apart from the obvious things such as persevering at the craft and reading the work of proven poets, I’d say follow your own path, but with an open mind and out of an emotional imperative.

What is it about poetry in particular that attracts you as a writer?

Writing poems helps me to stay open to the world. I enjoy the pressure it puts me under, and the pleasure when the poem catches fire. It’s a solitary task and while I tend to be gregarious the solitariness of poem-making draws me in.

As a child looking at nature, I often fell into a trance. People say of the new poems in Groundswell that the wonder is still there. The poems help me come to terms with things, in a sense preserve the experiences and the wonder. Writing poems is for me an affirmation of the world and of my place in it.  And the world, for all its faults and failings, deserves to be sung – passionately, beautifully, even in the cracked voice of a poet.


Groundswell: New and Selected Poems is available from Dedalus Press here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Two Dedalus Titles on Strong / Shine Award 2013 Shortlist

Two Dedalus Press collections are among the four shortlisted for the 2013 Strong / Shine Award for debut volumes of poetry, to be presented at the Poetry Now at Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival in September.

Eleanor Hooker's The Shadow Owner's Companion and Mary Noonan's The Fado House are two striking and assured debuts and are joined by first collections from Rebecca O'Connor, We'll Sing Blackbird (Moth Editions) and Michelle O'Sullivan, The Blue End of Stars (Gallery Press).

Both Hooker's and Noonan's collections have already attracted some considerable attention.

"Noonan has a truly unique voice. The Fado House, with its exotic outward journeys running parallel to darker inward paths, is a début worth reading," wrote Jennifer Matthews in Southword, while Lucy Collins writing in The Stinging Fly was struck by the somewhat uncanny atmosphere and territory of Hooker's book.

"Eleanor Hooker’s debut collection, The Shadow Owner’s Companion, is haunted by childhood memories, and by the fears unleashed by imagination itself. its poems grapple with the intensity of this material and with its revelatory potential."

In a year in which we also published the very impressive Before You by Leeanne Quinn, judge Billy Ramsell had a difficult job before him. And the strength of the shortlist is, to be sure, a mark of the strength of Irish poetry today.

The Strong / Shine Award will be presented at Poetry Now at Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival in September. Details to be announced.




Thursday, April 18, 2013

Eva Bourke reads at National Gallery of Ireland, Lunchtime, 01 May 2013

The National Gallery of Ireland, in association with Poetry Ireland, presents a lunchtime reading by poet Eva Bourke, NGI, Dublin 2, Lunchtime (1.05 pm), 01 May 2013. Free admission: no booking necessary.

Eva Bourke was born in Germany and has lived in Ireland for many years. She studied German Literature and History of Art at the University of Munich. She has published two anthologies of Irish poetry in German translation, as well as a selection of the work of the German poet Elisabeth Borchers, translated into English, Winter on White Paper (2002). Her own collections of poetry include: Gonella, Litany for the Pig, Spring in Henry Street and Travels With Gandolpho (2000), The Latitude of Naples (2005) and, most recently, piano (2011), the latter three from Dedalus Press. She is  co-editor, together with Borbála Faragó, of Landing Places: Immigrant Poets in Ireland (2010). She has lectured extensively on contemporary Irish poetry in the USA, Germany, Austria and Hungary.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Máighréad Medbh discusses Savage Solitude, Arena, RTE Radio 1

Poet and writer Máighréad Medbh discusses her new book, Savage Solitude: Reflections of a Relucant Loner, with Sean Rocks on RTÉ Radio 1's Arena arts show, 10 April 2013, here.

Subtitled ‘Reflections of a Reluctant Loner’, Savage Solitude is an unusual and thought-provoking book, taking the reader on a journey through the immediate experience of being alone.

Drawing on quotations from a wide range of poets, philosophers, writers and scientists, the conversation of the book moves in a kind of rolling wave that is simultaneously story and analysis, report and ongoing investigation.

Intimate, empathetic, dramatic, this multi-voiced work is a study by immersion, a living experience conducted through the medium of text, and all the while pushing towards an answer to the question (more pressing than ever in our hi-tech age) of how to be alone.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Paula Meehan reads with Rita Ann Higgins, Thurs 11 April, 2013

Poetry Ireland in association with the Marino College and Five Lamps Festival presents a reading by Paula Meehan & Rita Ann Higgins on Thursday 11 April @ 6pm at THE LAB, Foley Street, Dublin 1.


Paula Meehan's most recent publication is Mysteries of the Home (Dedalus Press, 2013).

Further information: T 087 2190632 W fivelampsarts.ie

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New Titles by Patrick Deeley and Máighréad Medbh

The launch takes place on Monday April 8th 2013 at 7.00 pm of two new Dedalus Press titles.

Savage Solitude: Reflections of a Reluctant Loner is poet Máighréad Medbh's prose work exploring, through aphorism and poetry, the subject of being alone. It is introduced on the night by Deaglán de Bréadún.

Groundswell: New and Selected Poems by Patrick Deeley, with an Introduction by Theo Dorgan, is an overview of the work of one of Ireland's most distinctive poetic voices, and features a generous selection of new work.

Join us on April 8th at the Irish Writers' Centre, Parnell Square, Dublin 1, to celebrate these two exciting new books and to help us 'spread the word'.




Monday, February 04, 2013

Robert Welch, 1947 - 2013

We learned today of the sad passing of poet, critic, teacher and editor Robert Welch.

Born in Cork in 1947 and educated there by the Presentation Brothers and subsequently at Leeds University, Robert was for many years Professor of English at the University of Ulster at Coleraine, and a great friend and encouragement to poets and writers.

Over the years he wrote extensively on Irish poetry and edited The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature (1996). More recently he also published the moving Kicking the Mamba – Life, Alcohol, Death which dealt with the loss of his son. Dedalus Press published two of Robert's early collections of poetry, Muskerry (1991) and Secret Societies (1997) from which the following poem is taken. Sympathies and condolences to his family and many friends.


***


Hope

Hope is crossing the road
knowing that your friend is in,
and that he'll ask you inside
into the aroma of a different house.

It is the calm stillness of the privet
in the summer, when there's been
no wind for weeks, or rain,
and the leaves are dusty with thought.

It is the dry earth beneath your hands
shaped into embankments, fortresses,
continents, as the toy soldiers are drawn up,
and snipers strategically placed.

It is the smell of rashers frying
on Saturday night, the walk home
in the expanding dusk, the smile
of welcome you know you'll not forget.

Poetry ebooks: are you really satisfied?

Are poetry readers really interested in reading poetry books on their Kindles or other ebook readers? It's a big question, not least for small poetry presses like ourselves.

As many of us already know, ebook readers are fantastic in that they allow us to go mobile with large volumes of large prose works (novels, non-fiction that doesn't rely on graphic content, etc). But when it comes to poetry, things can turn a bit ugly.

Who doesn't squirm, for instance, when the line- or stanza-breaks of a favourite poem are mangled by the prose-fixated default formatting of their favourite ebook reader. And how many even avid poetry readers, so often disappointed by our local bricks-'n'-mortar bookstore, are willing to surrender this most distinguishing physical attribute of the poem in order to have its nuts and bolts (however jumbled up) available in a convenient, portable form. (Our own recent foray into all-digital poetry publishing on Apple's iBooks platform -- in the form of the anthology Airborne: Poetry from Ireland -- was much more reassuring than other digital poetry experiments, due to that platform's offering publisher/poets strict control over the appearance of their work. That said, it seems clear that iBooks, as yet at least, accounts for only a small section of the overall ebook readership.)

Prompting these thoughts is an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal ('Don't Burn Your Books—Print Is Here to Stay: http://tinyurl.com/av28kmm) on the rise (and first signs of a fall?) in the popularity of ebooks. Whatever the truth of the claim (and one has to be careful about equating a slow-down in the sales of ebook readers with a falling-off of interest in ebooks themselves), it does raise an important question: As a poetry reader, avid or just occasional, in an ideal world what form would you like your next poetry book or magazine purchase to take? Are you like us, still inclined to search out hard copies of the books we want to really engage with but happy to read individual poems, and even the occasional anthology, in a more fluid (and sometimes frustrating) form?

It would be interesting to hear.

Monday, January 07, 2013

New titles by Paula Meehan and Conor Carville, Feb 2013

Already back in full swing after the all-too brief Christmas/New Year break, we're happy to confirm details of our first launch event of 2013 with the publication of books by Conor Carville and Paula Meehan. The launch takes place at the Irish Writers' Centre, 19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1, on Tuesday 26th February, 21013, from 7.00 pm.

***

Conor Carville was born in Armagh City. Educated at Trinity College Dublin and Oxford University, he is currently Associate Professor in English and Creative Writing at the University of Reading. His critical work on cultural theory and Irish writing, The Ends of Ireland: Criticism, History, Subjectivity, was published in 2012. In 2006 he received the Patrick Kavanagh Award for Poetry.

Harm's Way is his debut collection of poems and reveals an astonishing brio and passion for language, as well as a coherence and maturity of vision seldom found in a first collection.

Ouija


At night the deep, invisible tugs
awaken even us, the heaviest of sleepers,
like whatever impels across the mirror
the glass that begins to touch and nudge,

now and now, the scraps of tracing paper,
hastily inked, that hover above the tain
and their own obscure reflections. If the stain
that deforms the tatty silver

seems to come between you and your image,
it doesn’t, is rather embedded out here,
the lens of an unmanned camera
watching from its place beyond a language

torn and set adrift upon the patent surface.
Let’s watch the papers flutter, their veering pass
in the wake of the shuttling glass
may let you do little but hastily parse

each disappearing word, each lithe phrase.
Yet elements, for all that, fall into place
and let us glimpse a world, a space
beyond the blur of flesh. And then it is erased.

***

Paula Meehan was born in Dublin where she still lives. She studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and at Eastern Washington University in the U.S. She has received many awards, including the Marten Toonder Award for Literature, The Butler Literary Award for Poetry, the Denis Devlin Memorial Award and the PPI Award for Radio Drama. She has published five collections of poetry, the most recent being Painting Rain (Carcanet, 2009).

Mysteries of the Home is the first generally available edition of a book originally published for UK readers only. It gathers into a single volume poems from Meehan's seminal mid-career collections, The Man who was Marked by Winter (1991) and Pillow Talk (1994), both of which won considerable praise from critics and readers alike. They show an artist at the height of her powers producing work of “remarkable candour and ... stunning lyricism” (The Colby Quarterly).

My Father Perceived as a Vision of St Francis

for Brendan Kennelly

It was the piebald horse in next door’s garden
frightened me out of a dream

with her dawn whinny. I was back
in the boxroom of the house,
my brother’s room now,

full of ties and sweaters and secrets.
Bottles chinked on the doorstep,
the first bus pulled up to the stop.
The rest of the house slept

except for my father. I heard

him rake the ash from the grate,

plug in the kettle, hum a snatch of a tune.
Then he unlocked the back door

and stepped out into the garden.
Autumn was nearly done, the first frost
whitened the slates of the estate.

He was older than I had reckoned,

his hair completely silver,
and for the first time I saw the stoop
of his shoulder, saw that

his leg was stiff. What’s he at?

So early and still stars in the west?

They came then: birds

of every size, shape, colour; they came
from the hedges and shrubs,

from eaves and garden sheds,
from the industrial estate, outlying fields,
from Dubber Cross they came

and the ditches of the North Road.

The garden was a pandemonium
when my father threw up his hands

and tossed the crumbs to the air. The sun
cleared O’Reilly’s chimney

and he was suddenly radiant,

a perfect vision of St Francis,
made whole, made young again,
in a Finglas garden.

***

FURTHER INFORMATION: www.dedaluspress.com

Friday, December 21, 2012

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS (and publishing scams!)

Getting close (hah!) to winding up the year, I just now received a query about submissions from a poet in South Africa who, by way of background, told me she had recently published work in an anthology of animal poems published by Forward Poetry.

Now I know a little bit about the Forward Arts Foundation, which gives annual prizes and publishes an annual anthology drawing on book publications in the UK and Ireland. But I'd never heard of them publishing a themed anthology so naturally decided to investigate further.

Turns out that Forward Poetry (www.forwardpoetry.co.uk) has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the Forward Arts Foundation (FAF) or the Forward Prizes for Poetry. Forward Poetry, it turns out, not only publishes themed anthologies but it also runs a variety of competitions (with VERY modest prizes and, crucially, some form of publication for the winners). The contrast between Forward Poetry and the Forward Arts Foundation, however, could not have been better differentiated had FP threw up their hands and styled themselves Backward Poetry.

Now of course there's nothing illegal (though, frankly, little to be praised) with a company 'encouraging' new writers into print though anthologies such as 'Animal Antics' or, given today's Mayan prophecies, competitions such as 'End of Days'. Themed publications often produce nice surprises and themed competitions are often a helpful spur to the writer who finds it difficult to commit to ink.

But it would, wouldn't it, be a darker thing altogether if this particular incarnation of FP had anything to do with the company at the centre of last year's shameful story of a  scam perpetrated on Spanish schoolkids (http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2011/01/13/crushed-dreams/) and literally dozens of similar anecdotal references doing the rounds.

It's Christmas in a few days, and New Year shortly afterwards, and if you're like the rest of the writing planet you'll probably resolve to send out your work more often, to take your light out from under its winter bushel, to play a more active part in the literary conversation of the world of print and digital poetry. If so, be careful when choosing a home for your work: it deserves that much at least. Organisations such as Poetry Ireland and the Poetry Society in the UK, and similar others farther afield,  carry lists of reputable poetry publishers and journals and magazines on their websites and in their various publications and newsletters. Use them. Study them. Seek out sample copies or spend some time online, not just clicking through but studying, evaluating, making tough decisions on behalf of your work. If you don't, it's highly unlikely anyone else will.

And be a little suspicious of immediate acceptance. Of course it may well be that there is a team of Santa's little helpers lined up to deal with the 'millions' of poems websites such as FP claim to (and very likely do)  receive, but in all likelihood the almost immediate near ecstatic response – CONGRATULATIONS WE ARE HAPPY TO PUBLISH YOUR WORK.... YOU ARE NOW A PUBLISHED POET.... etc etc – means that no one at all has so much as glanced at your writing and you are now being seduced, slowly and step by step, by nothing more than an automated email reply service (give or take a tweak of the NAME and POEM TITLE fields to give you that sense of a personal relationship).

Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly, The Moth, The SHOp, Cyphers... Despite the horrors of the recession there are still half a dozen regular and a few more irregular poetry journals on this island alone and dozens more across the water. And there are, it would appear from the latest copy of Poet's Market, thousands of outlets in the US and Canada. Many of these outlets are relatively small; many of them are in part staffed or otherwise supported by interns and volunteers; a very small subset have professional full-time staff members. But, no matter what one might think of the styles or 'flavours' of work published by any one of them, by their very existence all of them have dedicated themselves to poetry, have placed their trust in it, and must therefore believe at some level that it is something important, that it matters. All of them have put their shoulders to the wheel.

We must support such publications not just with our work but with our patronage. We should read them and, when and if we can, occasionally buy or subscribe to them. Around such publications are meaningful communities formed. And around them, not just for our own writing but for the writing of our sisters and brothers, our collective generation and era, we must stand in solidarity.

For one thing is sure about the year ahead: it will be tougher than ever for such organisations and small endeavours to survive. And there is not now, nor is there likely to be, any shortage of predators, glimpsing the possibility of profit in our loss, of forward motion in the backward slippage of our culture.

A Merry Christmas and happy and creative New Year to all our readers and supporters. (Watch out for our 1-day only New Year's sale, soon to be announced). And wishing you all, in the year ahead, inspiration and application, "the best words in the best order". Poetry Matters: Spread the Word.

Image from http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kaleidoscope: Music and Poetry Night, Dec 5th 2012

Here's some info on a very interesting sounding collaborative event featuring Dedalus poet Paul Perry.

Kaleidoscope : A night of Music and Poetry
Featuring: Maya Homburger on violin, Barry Guy on double bass, Siobhan Armstrong on Harp, Benjamin Dwyer on Guitar, and Lucas Niggli on percussion, with poetry by Paul Perry

Curated by Maya Homburger and Barry Guy
The Odessa Cluib, 13 Dame Court, Dublin 2. Wednesday December 5th, 2012. Doors @ 8.30pm, Music @ 9pm. Tickets available from the Odessa Club on 016703080 - priced €10 (including €2 booking fee).

Kaleidoscope night, described by the Irish Times “one of those life-saving, spirit-lifting, pioneering Cultural Ventures we keep hearing about” brings a vibrant, dynamic musical experience to audiences and performers. Innovative and imaginative programming offers a diverse range of music from ancient to contemporary and experimental in a relaxed, intimate and beautiful setting.

Maya Homburger
Born and educated in Zurich, Switzerland, Maya Homburger moved to England in 1986 to join John Eliot Gardiner’s English Baroque Soloists, Trevor Pinnock’s The English Concert and other period instrument groups. Concerts and Recordings as leader of the Chandos Baroque Players and founding her own Trio Virtuoso led her to specialise more and more in chamber music and solo performance. In 1993 she recorded the twelve fantasies for solo violin by G.Ph.Telemann and in 1995 the six sonatas for violin and harpsichord by J.S. Bach together with Malcolm Proud.
Ever since meeting the composer and solo bassist Barry Guy - on the occasion of an extended concert tour with Christopher Hogwood’s Academy of Ancient Music in 1988 - she has devoted her time developing her own personal style on the baroque violin as well as managing the Barry Guy New Orchestra, the London Jazz Composers Orchestra and running her own CD label MAYA recordings.
The idea to perform baroque solo works in the context of free improvised music and newly commissioned pieces sparked off the Homburger/Guy Duo and together Maya Homburger and Barry Guy have given concerts in many major Jazz, New Music and Baroque Music Festivals all over Europe.

New works in her repertoire include Barry Guy’s compositions Celebration, Inachis, Aglais and Lysandra for solo violin, Ceremony for violin and tape, Bubblets for violin and harpsichord and compositions for baroque violin and double bass, especially commissioned for the Homburger/Guy Duo from Buxton Orr, Roger Marsh and Giles Swayne.
After living in Ireland for nine years where they contributed both to the early as well as the contemporary music scene, they have moved to Switzerland in 2006.
In 1999 Maya Homburger organised her own music Series in Dublin called “Now and Then”. In 2000 she was one of the leaders and soloists for J.E. Gardiner’s Bach pilgrimage which took her to many of Europe’s most beautiful cathedrals and churches where she performed in 52 Bach Cantatas.
Recordings include the Duo CDs “Ceremony” (ECM) and “Dakryon” (Maya Recordings), Bach/Guy solo works (Maya Recs.) and “Folio” (ECM) where she appears as violin soloist together with the Munich Chamber Orchestra.

Barry Guy is an innovative bass player and composer whose creative diversity in the fields of jazz improvisation, chamber and orchestral performance and solo recitals is the outcome both of an unusually varied training and a zest for experimentation, underpinned by a dedication to the double bass and the ideal of musical communication. He is founder and Artistic Director of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra and the BGNO (Barry Guy New Orchestra) for which he has written several extended works. His concert works for chamber orchestras, chamber groups and soloists have been widely performed and his skilful and inventive writing has resulted in an exceptional series of compositions. Barry Guy continues to give solo recitals throughout Europe as well as continuing associations with colleagues involved in improvised, baroque and contemporary music. His current regular ensembles are the Homburger/Guy duo, the Parker/Guy duo, piano trios with Marilyn Crispell and Paul Lytton, Jaques Demierre and Lucas Niggli and a recently formed trio with Agusti Fernandez and Ramon Lopez. He continues the longstanding trio with Evan Parker and Paul Lytton as well as projects with Mats Gustafsson.



***

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tom Mathews to read at Ó Bhéal, Cork

Poet and artoonist Tom Mathews will read at the monthly Ó Bhéal poetry evening in Cork on November 26th, 2012.

Tom Mathews was born in Dublin in 1952. After working in advertising he studied Fine Art at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin. He has been a freelance cartoonist, writer and critic since 1975. His work appears regularly in The Irish Times and Sunday Independent newspapers. He has had thirty one-man shows and his paintings have been exhibited in Living Art, the National Portrait Show and at the RHA. He has illustrated a dozen books, written a novel and published three volumes of cartoons. His last prose book, The New Adventures of Keats and Chapman, was published in 2008 while his debut collection of poems, The Owl and the Pussycast and Other Poems, was published by Dedalus in 2009. The poet's hobbies, he says, are "drinking stout and talking too much about James Joyce and Groucho Marx".


One Night I

One night I ended up in a flat in Rathmines 
With a girl who told me she used to go out 
With Paul Hewson. I sat on the bed and read 
Her Beckett’s verse: 

It’s rather fun, though not such fun as sex, 
Reciting Echo’s Bones to Bono’s ex. 


News from the Old Country

1
When every line was a crossed line
Every piece was a show piece
Every cross was a Shawcross
And every McNiece was an Apple McNiece


Every edition was a first edition 

Every age was a coming of age 
Every act was an act of contrition 
Every cage was a gilded cage.

2
Every cage was a gilded cage 

Every Shaw was a kickshaw 
Everyman was a Zimmerman 
 every Ricks his rickshaw

Every bear was a Pooh Bear 

Every bah was a big poobah 
Every frock was a Prufrock 
And every pére was Ubu Pére.

3
When every pére was Ubu Pére 

Lou and Andy sang Andalucia 
Every Dylan was a Thomas Mann 
And every Fonze a fons bandusiae

When every whore was a write hoor 

Every Lane was a Dialstone
Every heure was a Flann heure
And every Myles was a milestone.


4
When every Myles was a milestone 

Every hack drove the barman barmy
Every soldier was a dead soldier 
Every army was a standing army.

Every cough was a coffin nail
Every drink was a deoch an doras 

Every feed was a feed of ale
Every chorus was a croaking chorus.


5
Every chorus was a croaking chorus 

Every bede had his bidet
Every see was a Sargasso Sea
And every deed had its D-day.


Every D-day was an LSD day 

Every sou was an aperçu
Every dime was a paradigm 

And every quid a ‘Quid Rides?’

6
When every quid is a ‘Quid Rides?

Every line is a line in the sand 
Every but is a buttress
And every and is an ampersand.


Every rhyme is a half rhyme
Every verse is too clever by half
When fool’s gold maketh the golden calf 

Every line is a crossed line.

Mary Noonan reads at Over the Edge, Galway


Fiona Scoble, Dave Donovan & Dedalus poet Mary Noonan read at Galway City Library this coming Thursday, Nov 15th 2012, at 6.30 pm, as part of the ongoing Over The Edge readings. There will also be readings by students on the MA course in Writing Class 2011/12 from their forthcoming anthology, Abandoned Darlings.

Mary Noonan's debut collection of poems The Fado House was published earlier this year introduces a poet of real achievement and great promise. Her poems may be characterised by an intense musicality and a determinedly outward look, the range of the work (poems inspired by music, by visual art, by myth, by time abroad, and by the magic of family, friendships and love) always matched by the telling details of credible experience.

Her poem, Carry, from the collection, is currently Poem of the Month on the Dedalus website.



Carry

To clear my head of talk, I walked the beach
and found a pebble, a cuckoo’s egg,
held it and saw it was a map.

An oval stone striated with slate-grey markings,
one side bears tracings that arch and criss-cross:
polka of narrow roads,

sandpipers darting in bleached grasses,
contours of a shoreline, the lines on my palm.
A gate opening into a small field.

The curve of the stone offers concentric swirls:
a talisman to ward off the evil eye,
or the nipple of a breast.

Here it is, an amulet, runes and traces
to light and guard you, a cuckoo’s egg
in the wrong nest, a gate opening

into a small field, a circle ploughed
round a lone hawthorn tree, a map
of the way between us. I carry it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Dedalus Press Website and Podcast RSS

We're very happy to announce a complete (if subtle, ie background) makeover of the Dedalus Press website, which will allow us to add and update content on a more regular basis and also make it easier for us to offer occasional special offers and promotions of new and backlist titles.

During the changeover we had no choice but to relocate the audio and other files for our AudioRoom: New Writing from Ireland podcast. Apple has kindly redirected the link from their iTunes store, but existing subscribers (and of course new subscribers) might like to avail of the new feed, either by visiting the AudioRoom page on iTunes here, or by subscribing through their favourite browser direct here.

The podcast hasn't been updated in some time, while this changeover was being set in place, but we'll be adding new content now on a more regular basis.

"An invaluable new dimension on the Irish studies front", The Irish Times called the first iteration of our AudioRoom, but we hope future episodes will appeal equally to a wider, non-academic audience. Do consider helping us spread the word: poetry matters.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Poetry Submissions: Pinning the Tail on the Donkey

AN ASTONISHING NUMBER of unsolicited manuscripts received already since we posted a notice online some months ago saying that this year we're only going to read unsolicited material during the month of September, if only to try to come up for fresh air now and then.

What continues to be most disappointing about the process of dipping hopefully into the great unknown is just how quickly hopelessness creeps in: how utterly unsuitable so much of it is, either for publishing in general (take my word for it) or for publication by Dedalus Press specifically.

It amazes and disappoints me that so many of those who evidently would like to find a home for their work don't care enough for that same work to bother to see where it might belong or be sympathetically received.

And, perhaps inevitably, the writer who doesn't give his/her work even that small amount of objective attention is as unlikely to come any closer to finding the right home for it as all of the monkeys in all of the world, pushing to get at the last few typewriters left, are likely to ... well, you see where this is going.

In short, if you're one of those poets thinking of gathering your poems to send to this or indeed to any editor or publisher, do yourself a favour (and me, and the ozone layer, etc etc) and read something (anything!) that publisher has published, ever. Whatever else editor/publishers are (with all their faults) they're not people who hide their tastes or preferences, or weaknesses. The clue is in the word 'publish': it's all out there for anyone and everyone to see.

Of course there's good writing hereabouts too, neatly set aside for a better, brighter, quieter morning. But — and here's an odd thing — it's never the authors of the really good stuff that are on the phone two days later, wanting to know immediately when we intend issuing their latest masterpiece. Funny that.

Oh, and which masterpiece might we be talking about here? Well, there's a good chance it's the one covered with thickly markered copyright symbols — just in case this embattled editor might be tempted to steal for himself that wonderful idea for a suite of sonnets on the early recordings of Procol Harum, or a series of limericks treating of the most significant deities of Hinduism.

However it works (and we'd all like to know how to do it, or do it again) the making of poems is as fundamentally related to the process of reading or otherwise ingesting as the making of music is related to partaking in other music. Bad poets, and lazy poets, and chancer poets and simply bewildered creatures who think poetry might help them (and perhaps it might, but no guarantees) can protest for all they're worth, but the truth is: if you're not reading, and reading carefully, you're just playing pin the tail on the donkey, and until you open your eyes you'll always have the sneaking suspicion that the donkey is likely long since gone.

And the reason your friends have nothing much to say to you about it all is that, so long as you're waving a sharp implement around in the air, they're thinking it's probably wiser and safer to keep well back for the moment, thank you very much.

And now, with that off my chest, here's looking forward to next week's express delivery from Parnassus. With all the poetry accumulated in the world over the last few thousand years, there's always the hope (and the possibility) that something new and deserving of attention (maybe even publication) will come along. And even if this particular editor misses it (which he well might), there's always that ideal reader/editor, waiting, listening, wishing, somewhere up the road.