Hannibal Lecter was a poetry fan. One of the items that can been seen in his cage in The Silence of The Lambs is a copy of the magazine Poetry (Chicago). It is one of the leading such magazines in the world and last year celebrated its hundredth anniversary.
I have published somewhere in the region of a couple of hundred poems in literary magazines since my first published poem appeared in Poetry Nottingham magazine in June, 1996. John Major was still Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Monica Lewinsky was busy not having sexual relations with that man, Mr Clinton. They were idealistic times.
Poetry magazines play a hugely important function, and will continue to do so. They are the place a new poet finds her or his first audience which, as T.S. Eliot once pointed out, is usually made up of other as yet unemerged poets.
These days, though, while I still do send poems to such magazines, I find that I am increasingly drawn to publishing poems in places that have a readership beyond what some call the literati. In the past couple of years I've regularly published poems on political websites, such as Irish Left Review, Harry's Place, Neoneocon, Socialist Unity and in newspapers, such as The Galway Advertiser, The Galway Independent and (even) The Irish Times. Last November my poem, 'The Euphemisms', was published on Clare Daly's website. In April, I had another poem published on a T.D;s website when Mick Wallace published my poem 'Alternative Proposals', in which I gave Minister for Health, James Reilly, some excellent advice.
Perhaps this is the beginning of my Ezra Pound phase and, over the next few years, I will slowly turn into a raving maniac more concerned with extremist politics than poetry. Claremorris poet and dramatist, John Corless, has recently expressed concern that this might in fact be the case. And he's probably right.
Whatever the outcome, I find that these days I aspire to be read by more than poets. I want the people who might agree with what I'm saying in the poems - this is the political and satirical poems I'm mostly talking about here - to have easy access to them. I also want those who won't like either what I'm saying, or the way I'm saying it, to also have access to the poems because I don't wish to deny either them (or myself) the dark pleasure of their eternal disapproval. Sadly, unlike Hannibal Lecter, most people do not subscribe to Poetry magazine.
Last week I put out a call on Facebook asking if there were any political or literary blogs that might be interested in publishing my poem 'What The Virgin At Knock Would Say If She Could Speak'. Roisín Peddle stepped up and published the poem on her excellent personal blog Random Descent. The poem was very quickly condemned as 'not poetry' by a foaming at the mouth member of Youth Defence, or at least a member of Youth Defence I will now forever imagine foaming at the mouth. This I considered a great success.
In a similar vein, I am now looking for a home for my just finished and very topical poem: 'Irish Government Minister Unveils Monument To Victims Of The Pro-Life Amendment' [to the Irish constitution in 1983]. Like Bertolt Brecht's 'To Those Born Later' and Mayakovsky's 'At The Top Of My Voice' the poem looks forward to a tomorrow which can only be better than today and will, certainly, be infinitely better than all our dark abortion free Irish yesterdays.
Anyone interested in publishing the poem should email me at firstname.lastname@example.orgReferendum on the 8th Amendment NOW and here Irish Student Left Online and also here Rabble.