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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Red Room East

The Red Room, Henri Matisse

I'm returning to two poems I started on Tuesday.  One I'm really into and I think it will turn into a nice piece.  The other is vague and needs to be battered into shape.  Are pieces like this worth the mental aerobics?  And there is no guarantee that it will become something good.  I'll give it a lash.  And I have to do a size of research for these two poems so that they are legitimate. 

It's Sunday morning and I'll be listening to RTE radio 1 Sunday Miscellany on livestream.  I've already heard a striking report on the danger of earthquake to Tibet and Nepal.  The reporter described sitting in the doorway of a house and being rocked like a boat on the sea.  How frightening, that the land could become the sea!  The buildings there are not properly built and a big earthquake will cause devastation.  I worte a poem about this region once called The Red Room West, or was it East, I can't find it anyway and it's not in my documents.  I dreamed the poem one night.  It was also a recurring dream.  I had the same dream in my childhood but I can't remember details.   I wonder could I find the missing poem somewhere? 

I'm looking forward to an eventful week.  I have my jacket bought for the Boyne Berries 10 Launch on Thursday and it should be a very exciting night.  Then on to Galway for the second launch on Friday evening.  I'll have to take some photos for this blog, and memory. 

The goddess is descending to the underworld.  I hope everyone finds time to celebreate this beautiful time of the year. Autumn.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hard Knock Life

I'm feeling very hyper tonight.  I think I should have gone for my cycle after work.  Anyway I'm sure I'll wear myself out in ten or fifteen minutes.  It's not like I'm not tired.  I've been dancing around a bit and shadow boxing.  I know I'm not the only one who does this so be off thou, demon, shame!  I'm increasingly becoming a fan of rap and especially of Jay-Z and Tupac. 

Hmm also in the mood for some beat poetry uh-huh, gonna ad lib, write it down!  Soon.  When I can sit still.

Take the bassline out, uh-huh

Jigga (bounce wit it), uh-huh uh-huh uh-huh, yeahh
Let it bump though

["Annie" sample]

It's the hard knock life (uh-huh) for us
It's the hard knock life, for us!!
Steada Treated,we get tricked
Steada kisses, we get kicked
It's the hard knock life!!


From standin on the corners boppin
to drivin some of the hottest cars New York has ever seen
For droppin some of the hottest verses rap has ever heard
From the dope spot, with the smoke Glock
fleein the murder scene, you know me well
from nightmares of a lonely cell, my only hell
But since when y'all niggaz know me to fail? Fuck naw
Where all my niggaz with the rubber grips, bust shots
And if you with me mom I rub on your tits, and what-not
I'm from the school of the hard knocks, we must not
let outsiders violate our blocks, and my plot
let's stick up the world and split it fifty/fifty, uh-huh
Let's take the dough and stay real jiggy, uh-huh
And sip the Cris' and get pissy-pissy
Flow infinitely like the memory of my nigga Biggie, baby!
You know it's hell when I come through
The life and times of Shawn Carter
nigga Volume 2, y'all niggaz get ready

I flow for those 'dro'ed out; all my niggaz
locked down in the ten by fo', controllin the house
We live in hard knocks, we don't take over we borrow blocks
Burn em down and you can have it back daddy, I'd rather that
I flow for chicks wishin, they ain't have to strip to pay tuition
I see you vision mama, I put my money on the longshots
All my ballers that's born to clock
Now Imma be on top whether I perform or not
I went from lukewarm to hot; sleepin on futons and cots
to King Size, dream machines, the green fives
I've seen pies let the thing between my eyes analyze life's ills
Then I put it down type braile
I'm tight grill with the phony, rappers y'all might feel we homies
I'm like still, y'all don't know me, shit!
I'm tight grill when my situation ain't improvin
I'm tryin to murder everything movin, feel me?!

I don't KNOW how to sleep, I gotta eat, stay on my toes
Gotta a lot of beef, so logically, I pray on my fours
Hustling's still inside of me, and as far as progress
you'd be hard-pressed, to find another rapper hot as me
I gave you prophecy on my first joint, and y'all lamed out
Didn't really appreciate it, til the second one came out
So I stretched the game out, X'ed your name out
Put Jigga on top, and drop albums non-stop for ya, nigguh!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

13th Francis Ledwidge International Poetry Award 2011

Ledwidge's Cottage & Museum, Slane, Co. Meath

First prize is the Ledwidge plaque inscribed with the winner's name.  There are cash prizes for second and third prize and the top three winning entries are entered in the Forward Prize UK.  The winner will be asked to read at the annual Francis Ledwidge Commemoration at the National War Memorial Gardens in July 2012.   Commended entries receive certificates.  I had a poem commended two years ago but I had no placement last year.  Michael Farry and Evan Costigan of Boyne Writers usually do very well in this competition and Tommy Murray was commended also last year I think.  So expect stiff competition if you do enter.  Rachael Hegarty won last year.  It would be great to see a Meath based writer win this competition since Ledwidge was one of our own.

Poems must be 40 lines or less, be the writers own work and have never been previously published or broadcast.  Place your name, address and telephone number on a separate sheet.  The entry fee is 4 euro per poem and 10 euro for three poems.  Include a stamped addressed envelope or an email address for a winners list. 

All entries must be submitted before Saturday, 5th November to:

The Francis Ledwidge International Poetry Award 2011,
C/o 43, Emmet Crescent,
Dublin 8.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Peter Fallon to Launch Boyne Berries 10

Peter Fallon launched Boyne Berries 4 in the Autumn of 2008 and it is an exciting thought that he will be back in Trim on Thursday, 29th September to launch Boyne Berries 10.  I found the below on the Aosdana (of which he is a member) website :

Peter Fallon is a poet, editor and publisher. He was born in Germany and grew up near Kells, Co. Meath where he now lives. He is an Honours Graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, where he has been Writer in Residence. Since 1978, his collections of poetry include: The Speaking Stones; Winter Work; The News and Weather; Eye to Eye; The Deerfield Series: Strength of Heart. His selected poems, News of the World, was published by Wake Forest University Press in 1993. An expanded edition, News of the World: Selected and New Poems, was published in Ireland in 1998. This expanded edition was included in the Irish Times' Books of the Year in 1998 and was reprinted in 1999.

In 1993 he received the O'Shaughnessy Poetry Award from the Irish American Cultural Institute; he was Poet in Residence (1996-97) at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts and, in spring 2000, he was the inaugural Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at Villanova University, PA. He was also conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by Villanova University. He has given more than 200 readings throughout the USA, Europe, Canada, Japan and Ireland. In 1990 he edited, with Derek Mahon, The Penguin Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry, and contributed to The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 500AD to the present.

Aged 18, he founded The Gallery Press, which has published 300 books of poems and plays by Ireland's foremost writers. It is recognised as a pre-eminent publishing house, and received a Better Ireland Award in 1991.

Finding a poem by Mr. Fallon proved a little more difficult but he does have a poem in a collection which I own, a lovely collection, Forgotten Light: Memory Poems:

Another Anniversary

You turn
hearing the joy
of football
in the yard.
You yearn
for that footfall
of the lost,
the scarred.

Again, again
and again
you feel the sten -
gun attack
of that "What if?"
and that "What then?"
Well, then
he'd be a boy

who's ten.

Peter Fallon

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Saturday's "In Conversation With..." @ The Irish Writers' Centre

Jack Harte, Chairman Irish Writers' Centre

I strolled into this wonderful event on Saturday morning shortly after ten to find proceedings were underway.  Dublin's Lord Mayor, Andrew Montague, officially welcomed the Italian Writers and then a round table discussion took place.  Notable speakers for the Italians were Federica Sgaggio, Francesca Capelli and Francesco Facchini.  Capelli spoke about translation.  She brings her work to bed and has a relationship with it trying to understand a work's music and meaning.  The Italians showed a great passion for writing.   It was agreed that there is but a small market for translated literature in Ireland.  The lovely Catherine Dunne conducted this session.

In the second part of the morning IWC Chairman Jack Harte took the helm and June Caldwell, Niamh MacAlister, Mark Kilroy, Brian Kirk, Monica Strina and I spoke about our interest in writing and read a piece each before lunch.  I read two poems as did Niamh MacAlister.  I could not make the afternoon session which was to be dedicated to more established writers. 

June Caldwell has been shortlisted for this year's Over the Edge New Writer of the Year Competition.  Good luck to her.  She read an excerpt from a short story she had entered for this competition about Ireland's missing women.  It made me think of Margaret Atwood's poem Owl Song.  I spoke with Brian Kirk who will have a poem in Boyne Berries 10 and in The Stony Thursday Book.  The writers seemed to agree that being published is often about who you know in the business and also about the importance of having an agent.  A few of these emerging Irish Writers have completed novels and I am awed by this.

To become a member of the IWC follow this link

Owl Song

By Margaret Atwood

I am the heart of a murdered woman
who took the wrong way home
who was strangled in a vacant lot and not buried
who was shot with care beneath a tree
who was mutilated by a crisp knife.
There are many of us.

I grew feathers and tore my way out of her;
I am shaped like a feathered heart.
My mouth is a chisel, my hands
the crimes done by hands.

I sit in the forest talking of death
which is monotonous:
though there are many ways of dying
there is only one death song,
the colour of mist:
it says Why Why

I do not want revenge, I do not want expiation,
I only want to ask someone
how I was lost,
how I was lost

I am the lost heart of a murderer
who has not yet killed,
who does not yet know he wishes
to kill; who is still the same
as the others

I am looking for him,
he will have answers for me,
he will watch his step, he will be
cautious and violent, my claws
will grow through his hands
and become claws, he will not be caught.