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Saturday, 2 January 2016

'Poetically Charged News Cycles' - my essay in The Raintown Review

I have an essay titled 'Poetically Charged News Cycles' in the current issue of the American poetry journal The Raintown Review
The individuals and publications mentioned in this essay include: Dante Alighieri, Seamus Heaney, Hillary Clinton, Rhona McCord, Clare Daly, Don Share, Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, Irish Left Review, Sarah Clancy, The Truth & Other Stories (Salmon Poetry), Dave Lordan, The Bogman's Cannon, Barack Obama, King Charles I, Walt Whitman, Vladimir Mayakovsky, John Milton, Maria Johnston, Gerry Murphy, My Flirtation With International Socialism (Dedalus Press), Stephen Murphy, Gerry Adams, Michael D. Higgins, The Irish Times, David Bowie, Charlie Hebdo, Derek Byrne, Elaine Feeney, The Radio Was Gospel (Salmon Poetry), Patrick Cotter, Don Share, Poetry, Southword, Norman Podhoretz, & The 1916 Proclamation.

Here is an extract: It’s probably best that I nail my underpants to the mast at the get-go as an active participant in the events I describe rather than pretend to be any sort of objective observer. In any case, in these fraught times here in Ireland the objective observers are mostly languishing in the particularly hot corner of Hell to which Dante consigned those who in a time of crisis, such as now, have nothing to declare but their neutrality. Since the late summer of 2013 the apparently stable edifice that was the Irish poetry world has been struck by a number of earthquakes–and several significant aftershocks–which have left the building looking shaky.
First, the death of Seamus Heaney who, whatever your poetic aesthetic or politics, was undeniably a world-class poet who dominated Irish poetry in a way that is rare. Heaney wasn’t just our best poet; he was our second, third, fourth, and fifth best poets as well; and was to a large extent the currency on which Irish Poetry Inc. traded with the rest of the poetry world. His passing was like the retirement of a great player from the team built around him; a few games into the next season the fans, media, and even the chairman of the board suddenly realize how threadbare the rest of the existing lot look without him, and the dread sets in.
          The second big happening was the going up in flames last autumn of the fantasy, beloved of many Irish media or arts liberals –our equivalent of those Americans who orgasm at the very idea of a Hillary Clinton presidency–that unlike the French and the Greeks and whoever else, the Irish never protest…" Those interested in reading more can buy copy of the magazine here.