The first episode of ‘The Bee Loud Glade Cabaret‘, a new poetry programme created by Roger Gregg and executive produced by Dead Medium Productions just aired on RTE Lyric’s Nova. You can hear the show for the next five weeks on Nova (Sunday’s at 8PM), then for the following seven weeks on Evelyn Grant’s Weekend Drive (Saturdays at 4PM).
The Bee Loud Glade Cabaret is a series of twelve bite-size programmes bringing the best of the contemporary Irish spoken word scene to radio. Each episode showcases one beautifully produced spoken word performance, and one ‘backstage’ interview with emerging & established Irish poets. The series represents an exciting new approach to poetry on radio, mixing studio performance, music and soundscapes to recreate the excitement of the live poetry scene.
Featured poets include Gerry Murphy, Grace Wells, Pat Boran, Mary O’Donoghue, John Moynes, Leland Bardwell, Caelainn Bradley, Stephen Clare, Genevieve Healy, Patrick Chapman, and Eleanor Hooker.
Performers include Ethan Dillon, Deirdre Molloy, James O’Connor, Angel Hannigan, John Moynes, Amilia Clarke Stewart, Juliette Crosbie, Suzie Seweify, and Olivia Haran.
Special thanks to Eoin O’Kelly at Lyric for commissioning the series.
Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, with the television licence fee.
Last year I travelled to my girlfriend’s native Ukraine. Bizarrely, many of the places we visited were shortly to become focuses of the Ukrainian conflict, from Maidan Nezalezhnosti to the coast of Crimea. On the way, thanks to the bureaucracy of fortress Europe, we were trapped overnight in Paris’s Charles De Gaulle airport. There are certainly worse places to spend an eleven hour layover (each way). Yet the whole experience, and especially the enhanced security procedures at play in Paris, reminded me unpleasantly of my previous visits to City 17. I wrote this poem, published in the latest issue of Saul Bowman’s never ending zine project, after one particularly intimate encounter.
I’m going to have to pat inside your waistband.
I’m going to have to pat up and down your arms and legs
with the outside of my hands.
It’s no good, you’re going to have to step through once again.
You’re going to have to go through in one movement,
not stop in the middle like you did before.
You’re going to have to come over here, my friend.
I’m going to have to touch you in a way you will never forget.
You’re going to have to show me Paris from the inside out.
I’m going to have to love every minute of it.
We’re going to have to shower once we’re done,
and comb each other’s moustaches.
Yours is going to have to be the colour of caramel,
mine is going to have to go, or people will think we are brothers.
I’m going to have to hold you and keep holding you till we’re little old men.
You’re going to have to die in my arms tonight.
The earth is going to have to slow and cool,
the stars put out their lights,
our blinding cataract.
I’m going to have to let you go.
I’m going to have,
I’m going to.
For Christmas, one year in college, I received the Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath. Inevitably, I spent a few months infatuated with Plath’s maudlin hyperlyricism. Few writers can make self absorption as compelling; Kerouac maybe, JT LeRoy (were he not fictional). There’s something hypnotic about Plath’s verse, drawn from a well of caustic freudian melodrama, expertly decanted through surrealist imagery. Anyway, this is just a little love poem to Sylvia, written by a smitten boy in his twenties, falling for her verse. Recently published in the latest issue of Saul Bowman’s ever more nominally diverse zine ‘This is Not Where I Belong’.
My guess, your dress, of words
has been deflowered
As leonine, base,
As of a caul of death
That icy slick, your scald, has shed
and glitter split
a wax chrysalis
What is a boy to do,
to impress you
to vain a chalk scratch
in the hoof print of your metre
Quirk a smile, from that
flatland greyscale snap of you
American, at twenty two
let us abide
in the bower of crafted elm
Crowd to the quick and conch
the tug of undertow
your terracotta emblem,
pity deep the mournful flow
trawling last words
the ruddy microns of the air
are hefting Hughes and you
in this splendid friction of April
crackling diaphanous specters
rising ever to the heat
vague as notes
red as balloons
Photograph: Patrick Comerford
A poem of mine written many years ago, has been published. Diaspora is if anything more pertinent today than when I wrote it – in that horrendous exile between school and college, when progress seemed impossible. The piece has been published in the latest issue of This Is Not Where I Belong zine. All my life I’ve felt both trapped by and alienated from the strictures of Irish national identity; whether it be the craven catechisms of the perpetually overcast Ireland of the 1980’s, the imperious neoliberal building site Ireland of the 2000s, or the smarmtopia of todays startup driven smirkonomy. I grew up in the suburban wasteland, in the tiny satellite down of a backwater almost city. A place with no visible history save the grassy humps of half excavated neolithic burial grounds. A place that was not a place. A remainder, buildings like jettisoned luggage after an evacuation, falling into silence.
A burnt and crooked Beachwood cross
that stands, Prometheus restrained
beneath a lead grey peasant sky
its arms outstretched
to lecherous sea
with witty movement, bleak and sly
has hung me here, this past ten years
will hang me yet,
till leathered dry
This east end gathered pale
this pinioned land
has angle softened wombs
which dulled the grope
of Dutchmen’s boots,
and trapped the slip
of every boat awry
Out from her lips men poured,
like varnished words,
in rivulets of ache for work
Our woodwind whispered
Asleep on her shifting
even the lush have grown cold
But always sweeter than this land
of coarse embittered pilgrims
fools called home
I am the son, in name alone
of tarmacadamed soil
Of Pict clean, kitsch hewn
mounts of clay,
Of heavy craven
I am the son who stayed
and worked your orphaned avenues
and bent the buttresses
till they resembled home,
I am the son who waits,
and envy still
your prodigal diaspora
On the 13th of April
some sort of centenary
chuffed sun agog
at children scheming Beckett
in squares and beatnik woods
a starlet in black stockings
and god nude below a tutu
we’re all jogging to happenings
rampant tropes of actors
on a trail full up with vitamins
and mislaid candelabras
where up on his tardy throne
‘bleating to be bloodied’