Thursday, July 10, 2014

What Our Shoes Say About Us

Saturday afternoon in Richardson's Pub on Eyre Square and a great launch of Gerry Hanberry's fourth poetry collection What Our Shoes Say About Us with Celeste Augé's second collection, Skip-Diving and Knute Skinner's Concerned Attentions. 
Here is one of my many favourites from Gerry's:

So this is where all the poems come
to eye each other up,
to snigger and bitch
over fancy cocktails,

mocking the jaded clichés
still loud and glitzy at the bar
or the pale metaphors with fraying cuffs
who creep away before closing time

to forage in the skip out back
and the nervy confessionals staring
at their own reflections as they sip
blood-red liquor distilled from worn-out hearts.

Occasionally the place falls silent
when a pale figure in a black cape
and floppy hat loops in distractedly.
Ah, the real thing, they mutter enviously

but all in all, nothing much happens here
and it can get messy as the evening wears on.
The poems grow ever more edgy, you see,
dreading the thought of another lonely night unread.

From Left: Geraldine Mills; James Joyce; Gerry Hanberry and Hugo Kelly

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Spolia Magazine 9

Spolia Magazine is a beautiful on-line literary magazine that publishes really good poetry, fiction, non fiction and art. Thanks to Mia Gallagher who suggested my name to the editors I now have a story in this issue.

There is a small charge to download it but if you click on the link above it will give you an idea of its quality. Here are the opening paragraphs of my story:

Where the Dark is
‘It blows no good,’ Carmina says of the wind that comes without warning, battering the chairs against the terrace wall. It whips our whole world, lashing it with heat strong enough to turn sand to glass. It shreds the tines of the palm trees as their trunks strain to hold onto their stricken selves; whips the husks of the sunflowers in the fields, their little, burnt, pilgrim faces yielding before it.
She closes all the shutters against the dust, stuffs the keyholes, but it comes right through, into our eyes, our ears; into the nostrils of the horses so that papa and Esteban have to stay and soothe them. It disturbs Blanca’s kittens in the drawer where she gave birth to them and I have to calm the mewling little bundles whose eyes haven’t even opened yet. Carmina’s mouth turns down and furrows appear in her brow, her olive eyes troubled. ‘Something will have to give soon,’ she says as she takes my hand and brings me up to bed.
For three days and three nights it stops us from sleeping, the sky blocked out. No heaven on Calle Cielo, no moon on Calle Luna, nothing to be heard save the howling of the wind. It blows the dust and the heat right into people’s minds and clogs their thinking. Esteban tells me that when it got into Jose Luis’ head that he took to his boat drinking, and never came back. That’s why Carmina hates it. It builds up inside bodies, inside blood.
It has got into Mama’s.
Then as quickly as it comes, it’s gone. I wake to a sound that I have almost forgotten. No wind.
‘Where is it?’ I ask Carmina.
            ‘Gone back through the mountain gap.’
‘But where then?’
‘Nobody knows.’
‘Why don’t they?’
‘Because the wind tells no one. It doesn’t want anyone to know.’

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Taste of the Sweet Mouth

Here is a short video of some of the readings and wonderful landscape of Belmullet where An Béal Binn, or the Erris Festival of Words  was held  from 6-8 June. I was delighted to be reading in the company of John Banville, Donal Ryan, Martyn Dyar, Mike McCormack, Rosita Boland, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, Platform I, Terry McDonagh, the Galway Poets and many, many more.

Dr Éimear O'Connor gave a riveting presentation on the artist, Seán Keating, and Des Kavanagh's illustrated talk on Séamus Heaney 'The Boy He Was and the Man He Became' was a very generous insight into his personal relationship with our poet.

On  the weekend when Belmullet was voted 'the best place to go wild in Ireland' by the Irish Times,
It was also the best place to be tasting sweet words.