Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Rush of Pleasure!

Back from Kerry again - this time I didn't get to see very much of the scenic mountains or the sea - but hey, that's editing.

I've now got the framework for the collection set up, and there are a few surprises in it that I wasn't expecting. Noel got very excited by two long poems I had brought down, that I didn't include in the original MS that I sent. In fact, it was a very positive and affirming experience to have my work gone over in the minute detail that it was: pretty much like my own private workshop!

These poems are very different in timbre and style to the rest of the collection and are a creative interpretation of some mythological figures that I came across while researching. One of my favourite themes to play with is the figure of the Smithy - probably because of my surname - and I have always liked to link that to the idea of wordcraft, or wordsmithying.

Anyway, these figures belong to that sort of artisan background, and I have come to regard them, well, not quite as Muses, but as guardians of writing, in a way.

If that all sounds very mystical, I apologise. I am quite grounded, but with strong leanings towards a curious and stretching mind. Perhaps we should wait and see what readers think of Kairos, when it makes its debut.

Oh, and I finished reading that Harry Potter book too - a good read.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Okay, so I'm back from Kerry almost a week now, but I've got to return there tomorrow to edit Kairos. In the meantime, my house looks like a disaster zone - the kitchen that I thought would be a simple in-and-out job has turned into an epic saga, with tiling and wood and glass and paint everywhere. No washing done in almost a week, the kids definitely smell, and don't mention cookers... or fridges, or dishwashers.

These things are sent to try us, right?

I need another holiday to get over all this!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Catherine Ann Cullen's 'A Bone in my Throat' launch

Senator David Norris

Well, another busy night mingling with the great and good of the Irish poetry world. This launch was introduced by Noel King the editor of Doghouse Books.Noel then made way for Senator David Norris to talk about Catherine Ann's book. His compliments ranged from the actual book production, to the contents inside and made all of us hungry to hear Catherine Ann reading from her work.

Catherine Ann read a selection of varied poems from the collection, but one that really appealed to me was based on her meeting her future partner at the Chester Beatty library in Dublin, one of the city's wonderful archives. I give you her opening lines:

We have only just met
Downstairs at the Chester Beatty Library
We have not touched each other yet

Upstairs Durer's Adam and Eve are contemplating
Each other and the apple
The serpent is already waiting

This gives a great flavour of the motifs that recur in this collection. Cullen uses myths, legends and biblical beginnings as a jumping off point to explore how humanity cannot resist being tempted - as indeed Oscar Wilde once wittily put it, 'I can resist anything except tempation.

This post is a little rushed, due to all hell breaking loose here, but I intend revisiting Catherine Ann's book at a later stage. In the meantime, I am off to Kerry for a week tomorrow, so have a blog party here if you like - comfy beanbags and lots of food left in the fridge!

Doghouse Poets and Publisher, left to right: Hugh O'Donnell, Catherine Ann Cullen, Noel King, yours truly, and Anatoly Kudryavitsky.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I need your help... help me get my publisher really keen on using the internet as a promotion tool, that crosses country, continental and oceanic boundaries.

I would like you to visit the newly set up website, Doghouse Books and fill in the message form and ask about 'Kairos,' when is it coming out and will it be available to buy over the internet. Most important of all - tell him where you live.

It sounds a bit bold, but what I'm hoping this will do is spur him into developing the site, so that people can see not just 'Kairos' but all the beautiful books that have been published by Doghouse: their gorgeous artwork covers, what's been written about them, and indeed samples of the contents. And, most importantly, people can buy the books.

Who knows what might happen...?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ner, ner, ner, ner, ner...

Look what LMN gave me?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Looking for a Good Read

I'm off on holidays with eight kids, two adults and a few hairy goats to Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry for a week on Saturday. Given the amounts of precipitation we're having (that's rain to weather forecasters), I think I may need to bring some books to read. I've ordered In Search of Adam, by Caroline Smails, because it seems like a good idea.

Now I need two more suggestions and quick. Prose preferably. Literary possibly. I'll need to order tomorrow night at the latest.

So, any suggestions? It's either that or I start work on that Ark I was thinking of building... where did I leave me glasses.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Your own Bayeux Tapestry

For fun, found at Polyolbion, Matt Merritt's blog.

Go on, you know you want to!

Kairos Cover

Here it is, by artist Anna O'Byrne and is titled Remember the Birds.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

From the Same Stable

I'll be off again next week to attend a Doghouse launch in Dublin. This time it's Catherine Ann Cullen's debut collection, A Bone in my Throat, which will be held in the Rubicon Gallery at 10 St. Stephen's Green, on Thursday 12th July at 6.30pm and is being introduced by Senator David Norris.

Catherine Ann Cullen is quite a prolific writer, writing children's books as well as poetry. She is quite widely published, a sample of her work is here.

A Bone in my Throat is one of four books being published by Doghouse this year. The other three include Anatoly Kudryavitsky who launches at the Gerard Manley Hopkins literary festival at Monasterevin on the 23rd of July with his book, Shadow of Time, his own poetry in English.

The third is Hugh O'Donnell, previously Roman Pines at Berkeley (Salmon, 1990). His launch will be in September, date to be confirmed.

And that leaves my own, Kairos, which has just had its cover picked last week - a beautiful image of a red coastal-scape with a peculiar yellow sun.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Dave Lordan's Book Launch, Dublin

Last night I went to Dublin to the Winding Stair Bookshop on Ormonde Quay. This is a gorgeous independent bookshop, which has a lot to recommend it and not least the intimate size just about accommodating the huge crowd of supporters that turned up to Dave Lordan's launch of The Boy in the Ring.

Lordan's book has been published by Salmon Press, Ireland and was previously selected as the Patrick Kavanagh prizewinner of 2005. Indeed Salmon Press are one of the big hitters in poetry publishing in Ireland, a fact that Dave humorously alluded to in his own few words last night. That last link will take you to three of Lordan's poems from the book. This prize is awarded yearly to poets who have not been published, and most prize winners go on to greater things afterwards.

The Boy in the Ring was introduced by Ronan Sheehan, an Irish novelist. In particular Sheehan spoke of how Lordan's work engages with the political as well as issues of society. He also gave some history behind the poem Attis and Cybele translated from Catullus, the Roman poet (1st century BCE) as part of a wider commission. Dave read this long poem out later on, and I can testify to it's raw power. Not many poets write about heroes that rip their own balls off... Reason alone perhaps, to get your hands on a copy?

I made firm new friends with Elena, Tina, Claire and Maria not all necessarily poetry supporters, but appreciative nonetheless. Proceedings retired to Toners of Baggot Street, with some music -acoustic and live - and an Open mic, which revealed some of the talent that Lordan has been encouraging in his role as a creative writing tutor.
A nod to Hazim here, an Iraqi actor/poet. His performance piece wrapped us all in existential twists and he is appearing again in Dublin on the 4th of July, at the Project Arts Centre. We finally topped the night off in BiaBar in Temple Bar. It was a truly great launch, a testament to the great warmth of Lordan and his cohorts. Hello to Rosa too!
Update: Dave has since left a link to the Attis and Cybele poem which can be found here. Brilliant!