About Afric McGlinchey

I’m the author of a collection of poetry called Ghost of the Fisher Cat (Salmon Poetry, 2016), and another called The lucky star of hidden things (2012), which was also translated into Italian by Lorenzo Mari and published by L’Arcolaio in 2015. Currently, I’m writing an auto-fictional prose poetry memoir about a peripatetic upbringing and how this impacts on the sense of self, with immense gratitude to the Arts Council of Ireland for their support. I also tutor poetry and sometimes write essays and reviews when asked. Apples and wine and potatoes I earn mainly by working as a freelance editor of contemporary fiction and poetry. I was born in Galway and lived in Galway and Westport and Mullingar, and then moved to Zambia, where my family lived in Lusaka and Kabwe and Ndola, and then Limerick, which was drenched and as green as I was. My go-to place for an anchor has always been Donegal, where my father’s people come from. And now there’s West Cork, my home for the last nineteen years. I was educated in all those places and also in Zimbabwe and South Africa. I never thought anyone would ever read a word I’ve written. Then people noticed. Never give up. I read and write a lot, about the past, and about the present and future too; always circling back to an obsession about migration / dislocation / identity and place, and more recently about the ‘place’ of nature being disrupted or brutalized by us, and how it resists and how this might relate to our bodies and invasion. My work has been translated into five languages and widely anthologized. It has also won several prizes, including the Hennessy poetry award, two Arts bursaries, a Faber Fellowship and selection for an Italo-Irish Literature Exchange, as well as Pushcart and Forward nominations. I was commissioned to write a poem for the Breast Check Clinic in Cork and also for the Irish Composers' Collective. My work has been broadcast on Lyric FM’s Poetry File, on RTE’s Poetry Programme, Arena, Live FM, Radio Coventry, and on The Poetry Jukebox in Belfast. I have read at the Poetry Africa Festival, and the Harare International Festival of the Arts, as well as numerous other festivals and venues in Italy, France, England and Ireland. In terms of poetry, I am most inspired by Oswald and Ashbery and HD (that’s Eva), McGuckian, and Mahon and Darcy, Thomas and Morrissey and Hughes, Ramsell and Sexton and Groarke, Wright and Stevens and Hopkins. Next week, the list might be different. I have an addiction to buying books and half of those in my possession are still unread. There must be a word for that! The individual I most learn from is my (invisible) companion, a cat (I think). My twitter handle is @itosha.

On Platform 3 by Blessing Musariri

Further to the 2018 Harare Literary Festival, this is another of the Zimbabwean poets with whom I’ll be exchanging ideas about Writing and Attention Economy, along with Prof. Etienne van Heerden, Charity Hutete and Sabina Mutangadura, in a panel discussion chaired by Lawrence Hoba.  Blessing and I have quite a bit in common! As well as writing poetry, we both studied journalism at Rhodes University; we both went to Dominican Convents; we worked in advertising agencies as copywriters – and we have the same impulses around trains! Looking forward to meeting Blessing.

On Platform 3

The 3.28 has been cancelled.
I’ve been dropped off and left alone,
no-one likes this side of morning – but I with my love of holiday,
left in singular dread, in a place unusually deserted.
After all, I am not a Lost Boy, wandering through Sudanese nights,
afraid of lions and land-mines. I am in Luton –
well-lit; a target for any passer-by,
who has issues with his mother, but,
it’s the land of CCTV.

They are sorry to announce that
the oh three twenty-eight service to St Pancras
has been cancelled. They should have announced it in my dreams
so I could sleep a little longer.
Time doesn’t tick, but lingers,
drones seamlessly in my ears, bites into skin,
slowing fingers, stiffening limbs,
nibbles at microscopic morsels in my gut until it grumbles.

There’s no one here to answer my questions,
only machines, mouths open for my money.
I’ve walked for miles in tiny circles,
the killer has not come, and still, the tracks are silent.
They don’t announce the loss of the 3.28 anymore,
they are over it now, but I am flying to sea, sun and sand,
I must sit and wait.

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I Used to Like Tomatoes by Dambudzo Marechera

Dambudzo Marechera

Getting to know the work of Zimbabwean poets, and of course I have to start with the late Dambudzo Marechera, the most influential poet for the current generation. Here’s one for you:

I Used to Like Tomatoes

I get tired of the blood
and the coughing
and more blood
I get out of that flat real fast
to some cool quarrelling bar
and talk big to bigger comrades
washing down the blood with Castle an’ Label
shaking hands about Tsitsi bombed to heaven
trying to forget I don’t like cooking in dead people’s
pots and pans
I don’t like wearing and looking smart-arse in dead
people’s shirts an’ pants
(They said yoh mama an’ bra been for you
said these are your inheritance)
I’m soon tight as a drum can’t drink no more
It’s back at the flat on my back
swallowing it all red back hard down
I woke up too tired to break out so bright red a bubble.

Discovering contemporary African poets

I’m in Zimbabwe at the moment, and thanks to the Irish poet, Joseph Woods, who recommended me, and the festival organiser, Chirikure Chirikure, I’ll be taking part in the 2018 Harare Literary Festival, so I’m acquainting myself with the poets with whom I’ll be reading Love Letters to Africa on Thursday the 29th November.

This is a poem by Numero Uomo Giese (photographed below), a writer and photographer from Nigeria, who also fund-raises for charities.

Ad-Vantage
a.k.a. Sonnet of the Breadseller’s Baby

My vantage point, upon the tender petals
Of my young soul did indelibly mark,
Like heifer‘s flesh branded with red hot metal,
A sense of business, value, clear and stark.
While peers in Europe‘s pushchairs had a vista
Broad with horizons of great means,
We Africans, me, my brother, my sister

Beheld from mother‘s back our glorious scenes.
More than just knees, buttocks and belts
From up there we saw customers assist
Her tray to the ground, pay, and duly help
It back upon her head as she‘d persist
In pursuing for us a better living.
Today I repay her for all that giving.

                                                         *

And here’s a lovely (untitled), award-winning haiku from the Ugandan poet, Carolyne M. Acen, pictured below.

the drunken cockroach
reels around the verandah-
rooster chuckles

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Zimbabwe’s Charity Hutete (pictured  below) is a dynamic page and performance poet whose written work has been described as ‘a layered feast’.
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Here is one of her poems:

Men & Alcohol

men are much like alcohol
some leave only a bitter after taste in your mouth but without any long term effects. some are a little more devastating. they relieve you of your senses, temporarily. only to wake up drowning in self-loathing, that hangover of the soul, a souvenir of a near death experienced barely survived.

if such a man is not speedily discarded however,
he will eventually be the death of you. he infects your soul with a slow and agonizing terminal illness similar to the liver cirrhosis one gets from excess alcohol consumption except this is the death of the soul.

he slyly stabs at your self confidence
resulting in the steady seepage of your person, drip drip drip. the leaking of your essence into the hundred and one other men in whom you will seek to find wholeness again. ironically it is in these rebound affairs we’re lost entirely, where personality dissolves like salt in hot water which is visually imperceptible but the bitterness is unmistakable upon taste.

yet some men are like a tall glass of red wine
mature, refined, full bodied. one small dose of him relaxes body and mind, making you want to kick off your shoes, lower your head into the centre of his sturdy chest
and drift into a peaceful slumber as you listen to the steady beat of a sincere heart.

i waited at many a bar for a tall, crimson drink
sipping on virgin daiquiris until I whiffed a glass from heaven’s vine. i recognised him immediately. a glass of red looks, smells and tastes like a glass of red, it’s never complicated. A Jack on the rocks will never appear or feel like a tall glass of red wine
unless you’ve had way too much to drink.

                                                                  *

Batsirai Chigama (pictured below)  is a Zimbabwean spoken word  poet and activist. She is a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe.  Gather the Children,  her first collection of poems, is ‘a reflection on Zimbabwe in the last ten years; chronicling stories of displacement, loss and desperation.’

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Here is one of her poems:

Frills of Winter

He comes to me

says we must bury mother

I say to him brother

we buried her eight years ago

incessantly he knocks on my door

at midnight

gathers the frills of winter about him

mumbles frosty things I don’t understand

words tripping on his tongue

in the chaos of it all

he insists we must bury mother

He wasn’t there when she died

he an economic prisoner in some foreign land

fending for us the economic orphans of this land

bought a white dome casket for mother’s send off

she would have been proud of her final resting home,

I bet

he says he didn’t cry, he couldn’t

and those tears must now harangue him

in places where his sleep should be

Up and down the corridor he paces

in search of closure in the doors facing west

I can only hold him for a while, hug him like a child

a fifty-year old man in my arms

in this temporary lull he mumbles.

                                                            *

Tawona Sithole (pictured below) is a Zimbabwean poet and musician living in Glasgow. He co-founded Seeds of Thought, a collective that aims to promote the sharing of cultures through the arts. His work is influenced by the oral traditions of his ancestors.

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Here is one of his poems:

casting off

cast your mind
to an age of clay
when earthly hands
sculpt lively earthenware
earthiness is worthiness
worthiness is earthiness

cast your mind
to an age of granite
when rocks are significant
vital and magnificent
a rockery is a gallery
a rockery is a gathering

cast your mind
to an age of iron
when iron ore from the iron core
forges truths of cast iron
ironsmiths are wordsmiths
wordsmiths are ironsmiths

cast your mind
to an age unknown
when unknowns are significant
vital and magnificent
realities of figment
figments of reality

                                                                        *

Momo Size (pictured below) is a self-proclaimed love poet and a leading Zimbabwean spoken word artist.

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Here is one of her poems:

Love Makes the World Go Round

Love makes the world go round they had told me.

When you  looked into my eyes that Saturday my knees had literally bent in joyful weakness.

Nights became filled with long text messages and those popular laugh out loud phrases.

Your  love brought me strange sweet chaos.

I had worn you  like a locket held fast around my neck.

Had worn you like the only hope anchoring my belief in love.

I had given you my soul ,my heart, my hands to fragments that had felt like home.

I felt dizzy with what was to come this was going to be happy ever after right?

I forgot that love has to grow.

So I got frustrated and we began to break, tearing away from the new foundation we began leaving the pieces of us behind.

Shrugged you off like a bad memory and said to myself that this is not meant to be.

Our young love torn by the commercialisation of love filled with high expectations, disappointment, mistrust, lust and the need to be always right.

We began disintegrating like a small town experiment gone wrong.

The words that had passed between us suddenly became lifeless and confused.

 

All the promises we had made with our heartbeats became dead and lay there, breathless.

I pray my heart forgets the warm feel of your hands on my skin.

I wait for the day when my soul does not yearn to reach out to  you on a bad day.

May these thoughts of you cease to float in my dreams.

I pray to forget the sparkle in your eye when you  looked at me like diamonds were found in these brown eyes .

I hope my arms forget your embrace and that 1st kiss that brought me down to my knees.

I bow  down with these scrapped knees and pray that no pieces of you were left within my veins that my mind extracts the beautiful music your laugh made.

Your fingers danced lightly on my soft skin like a lonely tango beat playing slowly at midnight .My mind feels like it’s suffocating with your memory sometimes. How sad that love grows apart .

Goodness I hope the eyes of my soul forget those beautiful eyes that planted fire-filled kisses with each stare.

It’s not your fault or mine that you couldn’t stay; some things are meant just for a season.

So when someone walks up to me and says love makes the world go round I  laugh out loud and show them my scars.

Love makes the world go round they had told me.

                                                                     *

Philani Amadeus Nyoni  (pictured below) is an award-winning Zimbabwean poet and actor. He is currently working towards his first collection, Once a Lover, Always a Fool.

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Here is one of his poems:

Ghosts of Freetown

You are not Haiti,
You have no Wycleff Jean,
And too far to make your problems our own,
So we can’t hear the crackling of your fires,
Nor smell your smokes of desperation.
The forests are buried as coffins,
Children drowning in mud
While the world chews the cud.
Is it because your skin is muddy
That there’s no humanity for your agony?
And what of those who look like you,
What did they say, what did they do?
How lonely is misery,
Though diamonds bring much much company!
But diamonds are stone they cannot see,
And children are precious beyond measure.
Today your real treasure returns to the dust,
Africa has buried her future again!
Weep not too hard, times death is mercy.
The future is buried again dear Africa,
Buried with hope, not just any hope,
With the hope, and a prayer to the Nile,
That one day we will all be free,
Truly free, as free as death,
Free, as these ghosts of Freetown.

                                                                   *

Tendekai Philemon Tati,  better known by his stage name Madzitatiguru (pictured below) is a is a Zimbabwean spoken word artist, six-time slam champion and comedian, who performs mostly in the Shona language.

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Here is one of his English poems:

Speaker

I feel connected to my inner self,
angry and disturbed
and as I stepped to the podium I felt my chest was stabbed
from with in

My heart beat harder as I knew I was jumping in
But I got louder and put these words that are in…
…Your ears
In…
…to my mouth
and my mouth speaketh out
And the speakers are not speaking
They are vibrating imitating
what my mouth bringeth out

If I’m louder than possible
then it’s because of the microphone
But the microphone does not amplify to that amplitude on its own
You’re going to need an amplifier
a mixer
and at least one loud speaker
I’m a speaker and I’m loud
so you won’t need your magnetic speakers
You need me

One native speaker whose nature is already loud
Who speaks when he’s given a chance
and speaks even louder when he’s not allowed

Who do I speak for
And who do I speak to
I speak to those who I speak for
And I speak to me too
As I recall the first time I was sent home for school fees at grade two
And feeding on Sadza reKenya back in 1992

Hot sitting at school tichipinda muClass na2
That was the class of the life I lived, I still do
And that’s who
I speak for
The so called second class citizens
Citizen class two

                                                                      *

Moffat Moyo (pictured below) is a poet who teaches English Literature and Language at the University of Zambia.

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Here is one of his poems:

Africa

It is the fire of the bushes
And the winds of the wilderness
And the dust of the skies
That gives Africa its name
It is the gods of the deep
And the devils of the high
And the fowl of the air
And the angels that care:
It is the green of life
And the dark brown of souls
And the clay pot of life by the Msoro tree
And the waters of the Zambezi
Freely but furiously falling to form the famous Victoria Falls
And, at dawn, the sound of nature
And, at night, the moon of beauty
And the nature we nurture
That gives Africa its name
This is Africa.

 

 

       

       

       

 

 

 



Peaceful Transition by Tony Hoagland

This is the most powerful poem I’ve read this year. And now I feel a desperate pang, again, that Tony Hoagland is no longer in the world. Although, maybe that’s his luck.

Tony H
Peaceful Transition

by Tony Hoagland

The wind comes down from the northwest, cold in September,
and flips over the neighbor’s trash receptacles.

The Halifax newspaper says that mansions are falling into the sea.
Storms are rising in the dark Pacific.

Pollution has infiltrated the food chain down to the jellyfish level.
The book I am reading is called “The End of the Ascent of Man.”

It says the time of human dominion is done,
but I am hoping it will be a peaceful transition.

It is one thing to think of buffalo on Divisadero Street,
of the Golden Gate Bridge overgrown in a tangle of vine.

It is another to open the door of your own house to the waves.
I am hoping the humans will be calm in their diminishing.

That the forests grow back with patience, not rage;
I am hoping the flocks of geese increase
 their number only gradually.

Let it be like an amnesia that we don’t even notice;
the hills forgetting the name for our kind. Then the sky.

Let the fish rearrange their green governments
as the rain spatters slant on their roof.

It is important that we expire.
It is a kind of work we have begun in order to complete.

Today out of the north the cold wind comes down,
and I go out to see

the neighbor’s trash bins have toppled in the drive.
I see the unpicked grapes have turned
to small sweet raisins on their vine.

I see the wren has found a way to make its little nest
inside the cactus thorns.

—Tony Hoagland (1953-2018)

Literary Book Festivals worldwide

book-festival Brooklyn Book Festival

It’s very exciting, when you have a book out, to be invited to read at various festivals in your own country. But imagine going further afield? Well, why not? What do you have to lose by applying? Here’s a list of literary festivals taking place around the world. Check them out:

January 2019

New Delhi World Book Fair, India
6 – 14 January

International Kolkata Book Fair, India
19 – 31 January

Jaipur Literature Festival, India
24 – 28 January

Festival International de la Bande Dessinée, Angoulême, France
24 – 27 January

Cork International Poetry Festival, Ireland
14 – 18 February (approx.)

Lahore International Book Fair, Pakistan
dates TBC

Feria Internacional del Libro de La Habana, Cuba
8 – 15 February

Taipei International Book Exhibition, Taiwan
dates TBC

Casablanca Book Fair, Morocco
dates TBC

Perth International Arts Festival, Australia
8 Februar – 3 March

Brussels Book Fair, Belgium
dates TBC

Vilnius International Book Fair, Lithuania
dates TBC

Riga Book Fair, Latvia
dates TBC
March 2019

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, Dubai, UAE
dates TBC

Tempo di Libri, Milan, Italy
dates TBC

Leipzig Book Fair, Germany
dates TBC

London Book Fair, UK
12 – 14 March

Paris Book Fair, France
15 – 18 March

Alexandrina International Book Fair, Egypt
dates TBC

Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Italy
dates TBC

Bangkok International Book Fair, Thailand
dates TBC
April 2019

Quebec International Book Fair, Canada
10 – 14 April

Bogota International Book Fair, Colombia
23 April – 7 May

Budapest International Book Festival, Hungary
dates TBC

Santiago Book Fair, Chile
dates TBC

Sant Jordi Festival, Barcelona, Spain
23 April

Geneva Book and Press Fair, Switzerland
1 – 5 May

Buenos Aires Book Fair, Argentina
dates TBC

Eurasian International Book Fair, Astana, Kazakhstan
dates TBC

Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, UAE
dates TBC
May 2019

Thessaloniki Book Fair, Greece
3 – 6 May

Strokestown International Poetry Festival, Ireland
3 – 7 May

Teheran International Book Fair, Iran
2 – 12 May

Istanbul Tanpinar Literature Festival, Turkey
4 – 13 May

Prague International Book Fair, Czech Republic
10 – 13 May

Turin International Book Fair, Italy
10 – 14 May

Jerusalem International Book Fair, Israel
10 – 16 May

Warsaw International Book Fair, Poland
17 – 20 May

Hay Festival, Wales
24 May – 3 June

Madrid Book Fair, Spain
25 May – 10 June

Lisbon Book Fair, Portugal
25 May – 13 June

BookExpo America, New York, USA
30 May – 1 June

New York Rights Fair, New York, USA
30 May – 1 June

Bookfest, Bucharest, Romania
30 May – 3 June

Tbilisi International Book Fair, Georgia
31 May – 3 June
June 2019

Seoul International Book Fair, Korea
20 – 24 June

Venezuela International Book Fair, Venezuela
21 – 23 June

West Cork Literary Festival, Ireland
July (TBC)

Lit Link Festival, Croatia
28 – 30 June
July 2019

Hong Kong Book Fair, China
18 – 24 July

Comic-Con International, San Diego, USA
19 – 22 July

Paraty International Literary Festival (FLIP), Brazil
25 – 29 July

International Book Fair of Lima, Peru
20 July – 5 August

Bienal Internacional do Livro de São Paulo, Brazil
3 – 12 August

Beijing International Book Fair, China
22 – 26 August

Melbourne Writers Festival, Australia
24 August – 2 September

Ghana International Book Fair, Accra, Ghana
30 August – 2 September

Moscow International Book Fair, Russia
5 – 9 September

South African Book Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa
7 – 9 September

Indonesia International Book Fair, Indonesia
12 – 16 September

Reykjavík International Literary Festival, Iceland
6 – 9 September

Lviv International Book and Literature Festival, Ukraine
19 – 23 September

Bloody Scotland, Stirling, UK
21 – 23 September

Nairobi International Book Fair, Kenya
26 – 30 September

Amman International Book Fair, Amman, Jordan
26 September – 6 October

Poetry Africa Festival, South Africa
October

(This is an extract from my reading at the Poetry Africa festival in 2013):

Göteborg Book Fair, Sweden
27 – 30 September
October 2018

LIBER International Book Fair, Barcelona, Spain
3 – 5 October

Frankfurt Book Fair, Germany
10 – 14 October

International Belgrade Book Fair, Serbia
21 – 28 October

Krakow International Book Fair, Poland
25 – 28 October

Antwerp Book Fair, Belgium
28 October – 11 November

Helsinki Book Fair, Finland
25 – 28 October
November 2018

Sharjah International Book Fair, UAE
31 October – 11 November

Krasnoyarsk Book Culture Fair, Russia
1 – 5 November

Bibliotéka Bratislava, Slovakia
8 – 11 November

Vienna International Book Fair, Austria
7 – 11 November

Malta Book Festival, Valletta, Malta
7 – 11 November

Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair, China
9 – 11 November

International Children and Young Adults Book Fair (FILIJ), Mexico
9 – 19 November

Istanbul Book Fair, Turkey
10 – 18 November

Interliber, Zagreb, Croatia
13 – 18 November

Salon du livre de Montréal, Canada
14 – 19 November
foreign rights

Dublin Book Festival, Ireland
15 – 18 November

Gaudeamus Book Fair, Bucharest
dates TBC

Slovenian Book Fair, Ljubljana, Slovenia
20 – 25 November

FIL de Guadalajara, Mexico
24 November – 2 December

Moscow Non/Fiction Book Fair, Russia
28 November – 2 December

Pula Festival of Books and Authors, Croatia
29 November – 9 December

Più Libri Più Liberi (Rome Book Fair), Rome, Italy
5 – 9 December

Sofia International Book Fair, Bulgaria
11 – 16 December

Jeddah International Book Fair, Saudi Arabia
12 – 22 December

If you can add other festivals to this list, please comment below.

Sons Are Older At The Speed Of Light by Macdara Woods

Macdara

I.

My father did not finish things
Such things as rows
Or playing parts ..And breakdowns
Retiring early ..Died too soon
His final words to me — A
Half a question ..Half unasked
At no point answered ..Comes there
Any answer ever? ..Do you…
Do you remember…When…and there
It stops unfinished in my head
Do you remember when we… ..Lost
The points of contact maybe
Or lost the faith ..Or lost our nerve
Lost certainty along the way
As is the way of things ..And now
That I am gathering speed
The train tracks meeting in the distance
Far behind ..The fearsome nameless
City rearing up in front ..where I know
No one ..and none know me
But where we all get off
It is too late to even think of asking questions
And of whom? ..The young Eastern
European with the tea-urn
Has passed up and down the corridor
Three times ..has disappeared
And gone for good
As has the man who checks the tickets
And the district nurse ..who is
The only one that anyone could trust
Out of the whole shebang and calaboose
Or – to use my mother’s phrase –
The Slaughterhouse
This travelling slaughterhouse on wheels
We call a life
……………..But not an unconsidered one
Out of the four last things
This one remains ..Impervious to fashion
Time or doubt: ..the flame ..it flickers
And goes out
The bird across the banquet hall
No more than that
………………………..And yet we
Mostly ..stand our ground ..because
It is expected
And what I am trying to understand
Even now at this late hour
Is your unhappiness and thus my own
Beyond the dopamine deficiency
And those endorphins
Creatures of ..the vasty deep
Who do not come when they are conjured

.

II.

Yesterday I climbed ..lungs heaving
Up the earthquake damaged street
……………………….Nocera Umbra
Much ..chiuso per restauri
And simple minimal ..so beautiful
So free of traffic ..free of noise
Mid-Wednesday afternoon
One self-conscious policeman
Checking doors so tightly shut
Not even dust could penetrate
And near the top
Two men are laying cobble stones
In sand ..tapping them square
Into the roots of time
In shadow
In the lovely buttered ..honey light
Of mid-September
……………………..This constant need
For rehabilitation ..Spells in John Of God’s
Cataracts removed
Appendices
Colonoscopies and cardiograms
Or how in 1991 in Moscow
So many Metro escalators stopped
Seized-up ..steep egress from the underworld
Sotto Restauro ..everywhere Ремонт
Remont ..we climbed up from
The marble bowels and chandeliers
Of Kruschev’s dream made real
But lacking maintenance
The way we do not finish things ..is
Where entropy comes in ..is Auden’s
Sinister cracked tea cup
And the Watcher in the shadows
Who coughs when you
……………………………would kiss
Or coughing ..labour upwards
On a stick and artificial hip
To the Civic Tower and campanile
La Campanaccia at the top
Built nine hundred years ago
And standing straight ..full weight
Erect proclaiming ..Eccomi
For I am here and have been here for all to see
And have been seen
………………………..As I too am here
And have been seen ..been part of this
Small space today between the Tower
And the Cathedral
All chiuso per restauri ..Have seen
The maintenance and putting things
In place ..Knowing that they must
And will go wrong again
And be put almost right again
Poor transients —
Until the Heracliten lease runs out

.

III.

And one day indeed the words ran out
And we ..with nothing ..left to say
Consulted over menus
Read bits of news ..repeated saws
To get us through the silence — you
Didn’t know
……………………..And I had yet to learn
That few words ..A simple few
Could be enough ..could tell it all:
A tendency to stagger to the left
And sometimes teeter backwards
Which could explain
My dreadful fall in Fiumicino
Too much saliva
Varied tremors ..Hands and chin:
And sometimes fingers clawed
In sudden spasm
…………………….Do I go on
Into the realms of dysgraphia
Staccato speech ..Shoulders stooped
A slowing of the gait?
I prefer
To watch the dancers in the village square
The ballo in piazza
Sunburnt mirth ..Provencal song
That so caught Keats’ fancy
Out of reach
And I have had a longer run than that

And not yet reached Astopovo:
Still travelling
………………..To places all unseen
Invisible to those with open eyes
It needs a certain antic 20 20 vision
To housepaint in the dark
As we have done ..And plastered walls
Without a light in Fontainebleau
Not cowboys then or now
Just battling with addictions
………………………Drink and pills
And work ..At labouring ..And selling
Two hours of life to buy a third
The hell with that bum deal
I said ..And I have now grown old ..And someone
Cooked the booksbooks
……………………….Along the way
The way we knew they would – So
Who owes what to whom is moot
Irrelevant ..We last from day to day
No more than that ..That’s it .Enough
For now
The diagnosis works ..Of course it does:
Who ever died a winter yet?

September 19th 2014

—Macdara Woods

First published in Numéro Cinq

FREE Poetry Film Competition

Featured

Here’s O’Bhéal’s lovely little poetry film competition that I URGE you to support. The competition is FREE! You have about eight weeks before the deadline. Why not have a go at portraying your poem – or someone else’s – visually?

http://www.obheal.ie/blog/competition-poetry-film/

Here’s the blurb on their website:
2018 is Ó Bhéal’s ninth year screening International poetry-films, and sixth year featuring this competition. Up to thirty films will be shortlisted and screened during the festival in October. One winner will receive the Indie Cork / Ó Bhéal prize for best Poetry-Film.

The festival takes place between the dates of the 7th and the 14th October, 2018.
Entry is free to anyone, and should be made via email to poetryfilm [at] obheal.ie – including the following info in an attached word document:
• Name and duration of Film
• Name of director
• Country of origin
• Contact details
• Name of Poet
• Name of Poem
• Synopsis
• Filmmaker biography
• and a Link to download a high-resolution version of the film.

You may submit as many entries as you like. Films must interpret, or convey a poem which must be present in its entirety, having been completed no earlier than August 2016. They may not exceed 10 minutes in duration. Non-English language films will require English subtitles. The final shortlist will be announced here during September.

Shortlisted films also appear in Ó Bhéal’s poetry-film touring programme, at a number of film and literary festivals, to date including the Clare Island Film Festival, Belfast Film Festival, Stanzas in Limerick, the Cyclops festival in Kiev, Poemaria in Vigo and at the Madeira Literary Festival (2018). Shortlisted entries are also screened throughout the year from Ó Bhéal’s competition shortlist archive (in random), at the start of each Ó Bhéal poetry evening.
This year’s entries are judged by filmaker Oonagh Kearney and poet Anamaria Crowe Serrano.
The submission deadline is August 15th, 2018.