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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"In Conversation With..." Irish Writers' Centre, Saturday 3rd Sept.


I will be attending this cultural exchange initiative between the Irish Writers' Centre and the Italian Institute of Culture.  Part one, a morning session, will be devoted to emerging writers and part two, in the afternoon, will comprise of a round table discussion between established Irish writers and the Italian guests. 

The Irish Writers’ Centre, in association with the Italian Cultural Institute, is delighted to announce the launch of a Pilot Project: ‘Cultural Exchange Initiative 2011’.

On September 1st, a group of Italian writers, journalists, actors and academics will arrive in Dublin to take part in four days of cultural and literary activities. The main focus will be an event entitled ‘In Conversation With…’ where the group will meet with Irish writers, both emerging and established, and explore common interests, concerns and traditions.

The objective is to foster cultural links which can be nurtured and strengthened in the coming years. Discussions are already underway for an Italo-Irish Literary Festival in the near future. The Citta di Nardo, Provincia di Lecce, in a kind reciprocal gesture, has already invited a group of Irish authors to Italy for a similar cultural exchange in 2012.

All organizations involved hope that this will be the first of many such events. Our visitors will also experience traditional Irish hospitality, a literary walking tour and visits to some of the highlights that illuminate Dublin’s status as UNESCO City of Literature.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Stony Thursday Book 2011


I'm delighted that my poem Glove is to be included in this year's Stony Thursday Book.  The editor is Mary Coll.  The launch will take place on Thursday, 13th October in The Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick at 7pm.  The book will be launched as part of The Cuisle Poetry festival.  http://www.cuisle.limerick.ie/   I'd love to make it to the launch. 

The Stony Thursday Book was founded by Limerick poets John Liddy and Jim Burke in 1975, and has also been edited by Mark Whelan, Kevin Byrne, Patrick Bourke, Knute Skinner and Thomas McCarthy.

The Stony Thursday Book is one of the longest-running literary journals in Ireland and celebrated its 30th Anniversary Edition in 2005.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Fisher King


The Fisher King - William T. Ayton

Today I've been thinking about Arthurian legend again and magic.  I started reading about the Holy Grail and I'm somewhat baffled by all there is to read about it, so many intricacies of timelines and people involved.  Its origin is mixed with legends of pagan cauldrons and Christianity.  Joseph of Arimathea is said to have collected Christ's blood in the cup of the grail.  And the Fisher King belongs to a lineage of men charged with keeping the grail.  He is wounded in the legs or feet and awaiting healing.  A consequence of this injury is that the King's land falls into decline and becomes barren.  But if the King has the grail shouldn't that heal him?  Many go to try and help the Fisher King.  The Fisher King could be anyone I am thinking, you or I.  And looking at the picture above, isn't he indeed a sad character and in need of help?

There are some who say that the boy Jesus spent time in England with Joseph of Arimathea and Jerusalem by William Blake supposes that.  It's not like we know much about Jesus' life anyway, barring his birth and death.  What did he do for those 30 years?

And did those feet in ancient time

Walk upon England's mountains green:
And was the Holy Lamb of God,
On England's pleasant pastures seen!
And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!
I will not cease from Mental Fight
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,

In England's green and pleasant Land!


(William Blake 1757-1827)






Sunday, August 21, 2011

Das Schloss - Trim Walled Town Heritage Day



I spent some time today in Trim, by the castle, as a day celebrating Trim as a walled town had been organised by Noel French of Meath Heritage Centre.  The Boyne Writers and The Meath Writers' Circle had been invited to read some poetry.  Trim had 5 main gates along the wall; Water Gate, Athboy Gate, Navan Gate, Sheep Gate and Dublin Gate.  The castle was erected by Hugh de Lacy in the 1170's. 

As I am in the frame of mind for german literature I found myself thinking of Das Schloss by Franz Kafka, excerpt below.

"It was late evening when K. arrived. The village lay under deep snow. There was no sign of the Castle hill, fog and darkness surrounded it, not even the faintest gleam of light suggested the large Castle. K. stood a long time on the wooden bridge that leads from the main road to the village, gazing upward into the seeming emptiness.


Then he went looking for a night's lodging; at the inn they were still awake; the landlord had no room available, but, extremely surprised and confused by the latecomer, he was willing to let K. sleep on a straw mattress in the taproom, K. agreed to this. A few peasants were still sitting over beer, but he did not want to talk to anyone, got himself a straw mattress from the attic and lay down by the stove. It was warm, the peasants were quiet, he examined them for a moment with tired eyes, then fell asleep.

Yet before long he was awakened. A young man in city clothes, with an actor's face, narrow eyes, thick eyebrows, stood beside him with the landlord. The peasants, too, were still there, a few had turned their chairs around to see and hear better. The young man apologized very politely for having awakened K., introduced himself as the son of the Castle steward and said: "This village is Castle property, anybody residing or spending the night here is effectively residing or spending the night at the Castle. Nobody may do so without permission from the Count. But you have no such permission or at least you haven't shown it yet."

K., who had half-risen and smoothed his hair, looked at the people from below and said: "What village have I wandered into? So there is a castle here?"

"Why, of course," the young man said slowly, while several peasants here and there shook their heads at K., "the Castle of Count Westwest." "
 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wings of Desire



Oh my God those angels are troubling me again!  I have City of Angels on dvd but I read dialogue from Wim Wenders' film Wings of Desire in the Being Human anthology today.  Wings was firstly called Der Himmel uber Berlin (The Heavens over Berlin).  I still want to visit Berlin some day.  Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry inspired Wenders' movie.  There certainly is something about Rilke and angels.  I haven't even seen Wings of Desire, yet.  City of Angels is an American remake of Wings of Desire by the way.

The Angels


They all have lips profoundly tired
and lucid souls without a seam,
and yearning (like a sin desired)
moves sometimes slowly through their dream.

They nigh resemble one another
and walk His gardens silently:
so many intervals that gather
in God's majestic melody.

But only with their wings extending
do they call forth the heaven's gales:
like sculptor God Himself were bending
the pages, and His hands were mending
the book of dark creation tales.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Die Engel


Sie haben alle müde Münde
und helle Seelen ohne Saum.
Und eine Sehnsucht (wie nach Sünde)
geht ihnen manchmal durch den Traum.

Fast gleichen sie einander alle;
in Gottes Gärten schweigen sie,
wie viele, viele Intervalle
in seiner Macht und Melodie.

Nur wenn sie ihre Flügel breiten,
sind sie die Wecker eines Winds:
als ginge Gott mit seinen weiten
Bildhauerhänden durch die Seiten
im dunklen Buch des Anbeginns.

Rainer Maria Rilke

And all of this because?  I was trying to write a poem about the human condition, morality, what is good? What is bad?  It's written anyway and I'm going to bring it to the Boyne Writers' meeting tomorrow night.  I'm sure they will offer me some comment and advice on it.  Being Human is a cool anthology.  Another poet who keeps catching my eye is Louis MacNeice, how awesome are his poems!!! 

I read the poetry for Boyne Berries last week and returned it to Michael Farry for further reading and editing.  The poems were of a very good standard and there were seven or eight that really stood out.  The reading made me think about what makes a poem stand out.  For me it is subject, style, imagery, rhyme, use of language, clear thought and a great poem usually has a really good idea at its centre.  If the voice of a poet comes through strongly then that is also wonderful.  The launch of Boyne Berries 10 will be upon us in no time and I can't wait to see the finished product. 






Sunday, August 7, 2011

Italian Writers at the Irish Writers' Centre - Catherine Dunne



Due to my involvement in The Lonely Voice Short Story Introductions I've been asked by Catherine Dunne, pictured above, to participate in a morning dedicated to emerging writers on September 3rd in the Irish Writers' Centre.  Events are being organised by Catherine on the Saturday for the benefit of a group of Italian Writers who will be visiting Ireland.  This initiative has at its heart the development of cultural tourism.  We are to bring one piece of work which we may be asked to read from, a CV and contact details. 

Catherine Dunne is the author of six novels and one work of non-fiction. Her last novel Set in Stone was published by Macmillan in October 2009 and Catherine will be launching her latest novel Missing Julia at the Irish Writers' Centre on Friday 24th September. She has been shortlisted for several prizes, including the Kerry Fiction Prize, and won the International Award at Vigevano, Italy, in 2006. Her work is widely translated and has been optioned for television. Catherine has taught creative writing for the Irish Writers' Centre, Dublin City Council, Writers' Week Listowel and the Arvon Foundation in the UK.  She is a member of the board of The Irish Writers' Centre.