Eamonn Lynskey's Poetry and Reading Blog

September 22, 2016

Pre-Launch of Skylight47, issue 7, by Robyn Rowland at Clifden Arts Festival 15 Sept. 2016.

20160921_120501_NEW.jpgA great time was had by all at the pre-launch of issue 7 of Skylight47 at the public library in Clifden on Thursday 15 September as part of the Arts week. The magazine is the result of some very hard work from the Clifden Writers Group and the accomplished poet Robyn Rowland was at hand to officiate. A number of the contributors attended and read out their pieces. I was very taken with Anne Irwin’s ‘Omey Island Races 2015’ with its vivid description of the event; and ‘Elegy to Some Mysterious Form’ by Ria Collins was quite a moving and unsettling poem on a very personal and traumatic decision that had to be made. Indeed all the contributors must be congratulated on a very fine selection of poems. There are prose articles too in the magazine on topics ranging from poem-writing itself (Kim Moore’s ‘Poetry Masterclass’) to reviews of recent books published.

The venue of Clifden Public Library contributed enormously to the cordial atmosphere of the proceedings, especially the three skylights overhead which, Tony Curtis assured us, were put in specially for the occasion and at great expense! Congratulations to all the Skylight Team on such a fine magazine and compliments to the library staff on the wonderful venue.

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‘This Intimate War: Gallipoli/Canakkale 1915’,  5 Islands Press 2015

As mentioned, Australian poet Robyn Rowland did the honours and I was pleased to meet up with her again. I remember well her reading from her collection ‘This Intimate War’ recently in Dublin at The Sunflower Sessions in Jack Nealon’s (Capel Street, every last Wednesday, 07.30pm. Come along!). It is a most impressive book dealing with the terrible Gallipoli engagement in WWI and is a hard read since it eschews any self-serving attempts at ‘glorification’, and conveys much senselessness and absurdity of war. Robyn gets down into the dirt and blood with the soldiers and the sense of verisimilitude is stunning. Extra-fine poetry, then. And what a great writer she is and what a great thing to meet her … twice within a very few months!

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Robyn Rowland and self at the Skylight47 launch

My poem, Day of Judgement, was the last to be read out, and just as well too since it is a poem about ‘last things’. Not the kind of poem one would like to hear at a Christmas party (or any party!) but poems like this do have their place in the Great Order of Things to Come (but not to come too soon we hope!)

 

 

Day of Judgement

 

They who come to clear this room

will show a ruthlessness unknown

to me. The histories of my books

and how they came to claim a space

along these shelves will be unknown

to them. The brush and vacuum cleaner

will probe every corner, frames

will leave rectangles on the walls

and files of half-formed poems will bulk

black plastic sacks. This desk and chair

and radio/cd/clock will find

our long companionship concluded.

 

Half an hour will be enough

to sweep away a life, to feed

the hungry skip, allow the skirting

run around the room again

unhidden; there will be no mercy

for old pencil stubs, news clippings

yellowing in trays. Each spring

I tried, but never could be heartless,

emulate that day of judgement

when my loves must face the flames

or crowd the local charity shop,

forlorn— hoping for salvation.

 

Single issues of Skylight 47 are available at €5.00 plus postage, from skylight47.wordpress.com or come to the launch in Galway City Library at 6.00pm on Thursday, September 29 and pick up a copy.

Submissions for Skylight 47 issue 8 (Spring 2017) will be accepted between 1 Nov 2016 and 1 Jan 2017. See skylight47poets.wordpress.com for details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 13, 2015

Publication in ‘The Stony Thursday Book’ No.14. ISSN 1649-153X

Filed under: Poems Published, Poetry, Publications, Uncategorized — tvivf @ 2:25

The Stony Thursday Book No.14

It doesn’t seem like a year has passed since the last ‘Stony Thursday Book’ appeared! Nevertheless, it’s that time of year  again and this annual collection of contemporary poetry has arrived in the post. This anthology  has been very kind to me over the years and I am very gratified to be included once again in this 40th anniversary edition, edited by Mary O’Donnell.

There are 138 poems here, and many illustrious names, including Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, Macdara Woods, Kevin Higgins and Fred Johnson, to mention just a few. So it is that, with such a welter of talent on display, I must confine myself in this brief review to those poems which appealed strongly to me personally.

I liked Graham Allen’s ‘Divorce’ (p.5), with its searing sense of despair. I would be surprised to find that this poem was not based on actual experience: ‘Somewhere in a trail of grey dust / lie all the stories you thought you had secured.’

‘The Request’  (p.17) by Geraldine Mitchell is a short poem with great impact. A disadvantaged student asks the poet to allow him (her?) a pass in a final exam. But the request is fraught with difficulty because although it is really ‘A small request’ , the poet is caught in a dilemma. ‘I have a home, / a job, firm ground beneath my feet./Surely not too much to ask?’ A decision has to be made. Crucially (for the poem), we are not told of the decision. It is a tribute to the poem that it is impossible to give an adequate idea of it in prose.

Patrick Deeley’s ‘Cleft in Metal’ (p.56) displays his ever-present gift for a keen observation of nature’s  little-r people, Kingfishers, otters and vixens have populated some recent poems. Here we have the wren, worried about her nest being too near a chainsaw’s blade: ‘The wren’s headache is to get her little brood / out alive. Out of a cleft in the band-saw’s metal jaw, / away beyond the saw-teeth’s seething spin.’ I have written elsewhere about ‘bird-poems’ (see my review of the recent Boyne Berries 18) and how they can often be annoyingly ‘cutesy’ but this one does not fall into that category. It puts me in mind of the many ’empiricist’ nature poems of Eamon Grennan.

Several other poems caught my attention. For instance: ‘Ouija’ by Brian Kirk (p.99), a poem which has much to do with the loss of innocence; and Michael Farry’s  ‘Swordswoman’ (p.152),  a poem that keeps the reader on edge (no pun intended!) and at the same time has a dash of humour – a strange combination that works very well.

Opposite a fine poem by Mary Melvin Geoghegan on p.66 (‘Ten Years to

 The River Griffeen, Lucan

The River Griffeen, Lucan

Pluto’) you will find my ‘River after Rains’, a poem written after my many years of trying to pluck out the heart of the mystery of the River Griffeen which flows through a park near me. Sometimes I’ve come close, but most times…

River after Rains

  “…there is nothing with which it compares.

Tell me, how can I explain?” (Hanshan, trans. Robert Henricks)

 

So many water-words diluted

in the daily flow: how we are

inundated by our work,

how guarantees are water-tight,

 –

election pledges watered-down,

how one exception can throw open

floodgates, how in retrospect

our quarrels become storms in tea cups

 –

and our grand designs, when tested,

often don’t hold water. Like

my early certainty this morning

I could turn your torrents into words.

 

 

September 29, 2013

‘Rachael’ published in Boyne Berries 14

Filed under: Poems Published, Poetry, Publications, Uncategorized — tvivf @ 2:25

Very pleased to see my poem ‘Rachael’ in Boyne Berries magazine (no. 14) August 2013 which wasBBerries sideways left launched at the Castle Arch Hotel, Trim, last Thursday 26 Sept. I found this a difficult poem to write (aren’t they all?) because the experience of losing someone from your school classroom so suddenly is a chastening event and one that puts things in perspective. So do all deaths but the loss of someone young with such a lot to expect from life is particularly sad.

Well done to all at BB for the good work they put into the issue and particularly to Michael Farry who oversaw things, and to Kate Dempsey for a very professional editing. And congrats to all the other contributors. Follow the activities of this writers’ group at http://www.boynewriters.com

Rachael

For days it seemed you might walk in

at any moment, late for class

 

but happy to be back again

from one more hospital appointment.

 

Rolls and registers are caught out

by mortality. Each time

 

I skip your name I feel I’m part

of a conspiracy to forget.

 

You should be here with us in class

this morning. English, Period 1:

 

examples of the Unseen Poem

and how to reach behind the words

 

to understand what happened, why

it couldn’t be allowed to pass

 

unnoticed. Handing out the books,

I find the notes you made last week.

February 22, 2013

Philip Lynch and Kerrie O Brien reading at the Twisted Pepper February 2013

Filed under: Readings, Uncategorized — Tags: — tvivf @ 2:25
Phil Lynch and Kerrie O'Brien

Phil Lynch and Kerrie O’Brien

As part of the Seven Towers ‘Tuesday Lunchtime Readings’, Philip Lynch and Kerrie O’Brien read from their works on Tuesday 5 February at The Twisted Pepper Cafe in Dublin. Phil covered some ‘old ground’ works, including his evocative poem ‘Guernica’. Reminds me of the story of how a German officer once asked Picasso about his painting: ‘Did you do this?’, Picasso replied: ‘No. You did.’ Philip also read some of his new stuff. Glad he did. We  … ahem … senior poets need to show we still have it.

Kerrie O’Brien read from her book ‘out of the blueness’, including a very impressive poem (for me, anyway) called ‘Ashes’. Kerrie is in the running for a Hennessy Award this year so good luck to her from all at Seven Towers! To read more about Kerrie see http://www.kerrieobrien.com

The next 7T lunchtime session will be on Tuesday 5 March at the White Lady Art Gallery at 14 Wellington Quay at 1.15pm. I will be will be quizzing Oran Ryan on the secrets of writing novels and poetry. Never too late to learn!

February 28, 2012

Dublin Writers’ Forum

Filed under: Floorshows, Uncategorized — tvivf @ 2:25

Dublin Writers’ Forum  https://www.facebook.com/DublinWritersForum 

Monday, March 5th, will be a special day – our first public reading to share our work! Tell your friends, come along and hear what the DWF people have been up to during the last few months.

Venue: Twisted Pepper Middle Abbey St Dublin 1; Time: 7.30 pm; Admission: Free.

Line-up so far:
Jonathan Armas McGlinn, Fióna Bolger,Yasmina Ferguson,Alvy Carragher,Kevin Dwan, Delta O’Hara, Eddie Hearne, Liz McSkeane, Anne Tannam,  

Hope to see you there!

October 19, 2011

Seven Towers: ‘Ghosts and Ghouls’ Reading for Hallowe’en at Chapters Bookstore Oct.13th 2011

Filed under: Liffey Sound FM, PODCASTS, Readings, Uncategorized — tvivf @ 2:25

Be pepared to be AFRAID. Very AFRAID… No, no! Come back! … It’s not that bad! But plenty to listen to (click HERE) as regards poetic and prose-poetic offerings for the season that’s in it. Anne Tannam, Bernie O’Reilly, Pauline Fayne, John W. Sexton, Karl Parkinson and Anne Morgan deliver some haunting moments (pun intended) in Chapters Bookstore. Oran Ryan from the Seven Towers Agency does the MC honours and the reading was broadcast on Liffey Sound 96.4 FM  last Tuesday (18.10.2011) on my programme ‘Behind the Lines’ (every Tuesday 8.00pm and available on the station website http://www.liffeysoundfm.ie).  Because of the podcast time restriction I couldn’t squeeze in Ross Hattaway. I will include him another time. He  also had some fine work to deliver on the evening. Click on the podcast (see above) and see what you think.

Oran, Ross and John W.

October 9, 2011

Book Tiltles

Filed under: Books, Uncategorized — tvivf @ 2:25

Attended an intriguing talk by Jonathen Williams, the well-known literary agent,  recently on the subject of book titles. A good title is a crucial part of getting your book off the shelf and into the hands of a prospective buyer. That’s an important stage on the road to it’s being bought. Lots more in the same vein from Jonathen and all of his talk a salutary reminder of the demands of the market place, all of it plain common sense but liable to take a back seat as we (poetasters especially) brood about the ‘shape’  and ‘style’ of our creations.

A title I always thought was a good one  was ‘The Diary of a Nobody’ (by George and Weedon Grossmith, 1892) the word ”Diary’ gives the impression of a relaxing read (which it is) and the ‘Nobody’ bit arrests the interest because… well, how could there be anything of interest about a ‘nobody’? Again, I think there’s a good chance a browser (not the internet kind) would pluck the book from the shelves and look inside.

On the other hand  ‘The Diary of a Nobody’ is a ‘classic’ and therefore might probably be avoided
by many on that score. Besides, most bookshops have shelves reserved fo rthe ‘classics’ way down at the back of the store where the hand of man rarely sets foot. What about a more up to date example? What about Dorian Lynskey (no relation, unfortunately)? His book ’33 Revolutions per Minute’ is very well-titled. Of course, unless you know that the subtitle is ‘A history of protest Songs’ and you remember that vinyle LPs (long playing records) had a speed of 33revolutions per minute, you might not get the message. Still, I think it’s a great title. It’s also a great book and a must for anyone remotely interested in the way the protest movement of the late 50s and 60s cascaded into song and the way that protest-song ‘genre’ was finally snuffed out by commercial exploitation. There’s a great chapter in it on Bob Dylan’s  great song ‘the Gates of Eden‘, by the way.

August 17, 2011

‘Poetry Unplugged’ at ‘The Poetry Place’ Betterton Street, London. Tuesday Aug.2 2011

Filed under: Open Mic, Uncategorized — tvivf @ 2:25

Another great Open Mic night at ‘The Poetry Place’in Betterton Street, London on Tuesday 2

Niall O'Sullivan

August, hosted by the genial Niall O’Sullivan … I read my rather grim poem ‘Deposition’ about Dublin’s drug-related gangland killings (a rather grim subject), but then lightened things up a bit with my ‘Coming Back’ and ‘When People Say’. Lots of  really good stuff, including poems in memory of the late unfortunate Amy Winehouse. Donal Dempsey had one about retrieving his soul which he had given away in mistake to a charity shop. Janice Windle read her poem ‘Agency Teacher’ which is full of black humour. I liked Betty Davies’s simple poem about London and I feel very sorry to see the mayhem that occurred just after I returned to Dublin. I like the city a lot and always feel good there, having been a resident for two periods of a few years each. I liked also John Paul O’Neill’s ‘The Pacific Ocean’, which he gave without a script. Niall informed us of upcoming celebrations due to ‘Poetry Unplugged’now reaching it fifteenth year. 15 years!!! OMG! Tempus fugit.


August 12, 2011

Steven Conway on Liffey Sound FM Aug 8 2011

Filed under: Liffey Sound FM, PODCASTS, Uncategorized — tvivf @ 2:25

Click HERE to listen to a podcast of Radio DJ and writer Steve Conway talk about himself and his

Steve Conway

work on my ‘Behind the Lines’ programme on Liffey Sound FM 96.4. The programme goes out live on Tuesdays 8.00 to 9.00pm on FM and on http://www.liffeysound.ie   Steve discusses his very successful book ‘Shiprocked’ (‘Life on the Waves with Radio Caoloine’), an account of his times with the pirate station. He has lots to say about his various experiences as a rookie radio presenter and the adventures associated with his early times on air. Anyone who has read Steve before, or has seen him perform his work live, will know that there are many good laughs in store in this programme. He also reads from other work and has lots of advice for how to get published. Well, he can tell you how HE got published… and every little helps!

May 1, 2011

Liffey Sound 96.4FM: ‘County Lines’ Programme 2

Filed under: Liffey Sound FM, Uncategorized — tvivf @ 2:25

Another ‘Behind the Lines‘ programme on Liffey Sound FM featuring writers from the South County Dublin area which were published in the book ‘County Lines’ in 2006 and edited by Dermot Bolger. Dermot writes in his introduction: ‘I have been truly privileged to work with all the writers in this book … between them they have created a unique quilt of life as lived in South Dublin over the past decades. As an editor I would like to thank them for their patience and hard work and for affording me that privilege and those insights.’ And I too would like to thank the writers featured in this broadcast for their permission to include their work: Tony Higgins, Colm Keegan and Dympna Murray Fennell, along with my own contribution to the book. The readers are Emer Horgan and Jonathen White. A podcast of the programme is available in the ‘Radio Archives‘ slot in the Blogroll on the left of this site.

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