Saturday 30 March 2013

Highly Recommended 31st March, 2013.


A fascinating look at the ironic and the un ironic in Ashbery and Creeley. - by Andrew Field from

'What do Ashbery and Creeley share besides a certain kind of disappointment, a disillusionment with what Richard Rorty calls “the way things hang together”? For, aside from this initial bewilderment or despair at the way things are – ontologically, epistemologically – Creeley is the poet of the anti-flow, the inept and inert stutter, the desperation of someone who cannot say what he wants to say, so makes a poem out of that.'



We've always known that stories, aphorisms and parables are more effective methods of communicaton. This short article explains the science behind the power of the story.

'When you listen to a PowerPoint presentation, ... two parts of the brain are engaged.... These are simply language processing areas of the brain where words are turned into meaning but nothing else. 
However when we are being told a story not only are these centers of the brain being activated but also the areas of the brain associated with experiencing the events of the story's events come to life too.

For example if the story involves an action such as kicking or running, the motor centre of our brains will light up. .... But there's more ... Scientists have also found that story telling plants emotions, thoughts and ideas in the listener. In studies at Princeton University, the brain activity of a woman telling a story and her listeners were monitored and as she told her story her listeners brain activity went into sync with hers.


Twentieth Century Russian Poetry in Translation:

Poets and Translators:
Philip Nikolayev, Katia Kapovich, Irina Mashinski, Dana Golin, Alexander Cigale, Andrey Gritsman, Larissa Shmailo

HOST Andrey Gristman.
  • 6:00pm until 8:00pm in EDT full details:
  • And here is a sample from russian poet Denis Novikov translated by Philip Nikolayev.

  • Let’s Go, Let’s Take the Shortest Route
    Let’s go, let’s take the shortest route,
    I know a shortcut here,
    to get some bread, smokes, beer,
    fruit soup, what not.

    And on the way we’ll share our life
    stories, naming within that frame
    bright guardian angels of our strife
    with opaque demons of our shame.

    Let’s hear the festive ocarina
    sing, weep and perish, too-doo-loo,
    no, not for a line of cocaine,
    nor for a pint of heady brew.

    It sings, fixed with a chain of metal
    to a high hopeful reverie,
    dilating like a burning prairie
    within the widely narrowed pupil.

    Let’s go. We’ve never been. The basket
    of years floats by like numbered dreams
    churned by Vlad Lenin’s damaged brains
    inside his labradorite casket.

    Dark clouds remain God’s secret lodge,
    and in Red Square the earth’s become
    a wall by oneiric logic
    and all completely dark with time.

    Let’s go then, us, let’s take the shortcut,
    following the expiring sunrays,
    our intellectual walk amusement
    for the patrols of mounted sailors.

    Twentieth Century Russian Poetry will be published by Big Bridge Press :


    At the moment the search engine used for UNZ.ORG is a little unsophisticated. You need to know exactly what you are looking for. However, it does provide an extensive free library of written content to everyone on the Internet, eventually containing a comprehensive collection of high-quality books and periodical issues.Since all this content is intended to be permanently and transparently available, students, academics, and journalists may freely use this valuable content, perhaps producing additional writings hyperlinked to these important source materials. This content is provided, in part, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

    A written index for a book or a periodical is merely the precursor of a search-engine; a footnote in a book or article is merely the precursor of a hyperlink. This web site might ultimately allow an unlimited amount of previously produced written content to be easily enhanced with these new capabilities.


    IRISH WRITERS:  The Irish Writers Centre is hosting a publishing day -


    LITERARY AGENT: Sheila Crowley (Nominated as Agent of the Year 2013 )
    AUTHOR: Belinda McKeon
    DIGITAL EXPERT: Eoin Purcell
    PUBLISHER: Brendan Barrington
    BOOK SCOUT and JOURNALIST: Sinéad Gleeson
    Irish writers centre:

    Saturday April 6th: 11am - 4.30pm
    The Irish Writers' Centre is hosting an exciting information day From Novice to Novelist on all things publishing. The day features talks from industry experts and offers the opportunity to pose questions to the speakers. Novelist Belinda McKeon; literary agent with Curtis Brown, Sheila Crowley; publisher Brendan Barrington and digital expert Eoin Purcell will give the inside track on their role within publishing, what they look for from an author, changing trends in the industry here and in the UK, the importance of having something new/different to offer and how to sustain a writing life. Registration is at 10.30am, talks start at 11.00am and run until 4.30pm. Tickets are €60 (€50 for Members) and can be booked by paying online (paypal below) or calling the Centre on 01-8721302.


    Online Poetry workshops with Kim Addonizio.

    I knOw yoU an exhibition showcasing a new generation of some 40 young European artists will open at IMMA on 19 April at Earlsfort Terrace. This article on the exhibition looks at what it means to be European.

    Barry Flanagan The Drummer at IMMA

    Wednesday 27 March 2013

    Samuel Beckett Krapp's Last Tape

    Samuel Beckett's

     Krapp's Last Tape

    Cast: John Hurt

    Director:  Michael Colgan

    Gate Theatre, Dublin. 

    Krapp's Last Tape was written by Beckett in English, for the Northern Irish actor Patrick McGee and was first performed in London in 1958 under the direction of Donald McWhinnie. The play contains many of the elements of Beckett's 'art of failure': a body in decline and suffering; the replay and re-evaluation of memories; loneliness, the sense of immanent darkness; eloquent silences and a mind/body dualism. 

    When he wrote it he described it as 'a play for one actor' and did not mention the tape recorder and Hugh Kenner tells us that at this stage he had never actually seen a reel to reel tape recorder but that the 'rumour was sufficient'.   Early critics were very taken by the way in which Beckett developed the monologue by means of the recently invented machine, and how he recognised its potential to correct and recall memories. This device allowed him to present three distinct versions of the one character, the older sixty-nine year old Krapp whom we see on stage, the recorded voice of the younger thirty-nine year old Krapp and the allusions of both of these to their younger twenty-seven to twenty-nine year old self,  whom they both deride - 'Hard to believe I ever was that young whelp! Jesus.'

    The eleven page play lasts for just under an hour, indicating the importance of the silences in Beckett's work. The recordings of the younger man, and his mature reactions to them, are not simply there to 'bail out the silences'. In Krapp's Last Tape the accuracy of the machine's recordings are contrasted with Krapp's inability to remember the profound events of his life and so the voice from the machine holds significance and seems to bring about an awareness in the older man. Of course he tries to resist the awareness by drinking and by cursing 'the stupid bastard I took myself for thirty years ago'  but the silences indicate that perhaps he does not resist it completely. The ambiguity of the phrase 'Ah well, maybe he was right (pause) maybe he was right' seem to support this idea. Given that at sixty-nine he recalls nothing of the experience, it is likely that this awareness is temporary, that it will also be forgotten in the future, and it emphasises an idea central to Beckett's work that 'people are bloody ignorant apes'. 

    In the current production at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, the voice of the thirty-nine year old Krapp is that of a younger Hurt, recorded in an earlier performance in March 2000 at the same theatre. The production emphasises the duality of light and darkness which is written into the text. The light/dark dichotomy can be seen as 'a further expression of Beckett's concern with man's basic dualism, the Cartesian separation of mind and body.' (Fletcher and Fletcher, 1985, p.120)  In this production, the lighting follows the original direction with the sole source coming from the lamp above the table. Hurt plays within this liminal space, stopping just outside the edge of his lighted area and drawing quickly back into the light, delineating it for the audience.   

    The voice on tape reminds the older man of a 'memorable equinox', a day in which there is an equal amount of light and dark, and which the older Krapp had all but forgotten. This was the time when the 'shade came down' as his mother died and when he bade 'farewell to love'.  The recorded memory of this day is repeated and the lyricism of it highlighted by the repetition. 

    I asked her to look at me and after a few moments (pause) she did, but the eyes just slits because of the glare. I bent over her to get them in the shadow and they opened. (pause) Let me in. (pause) We drifted in among the flags and stuck. The way they went down, sighing, before the stem! (pause) I lay down across her with my face in her breasts and my hand on her. We lay there without moving. But under us all moved, and moved us, gently up and down, and from side to side. 

    The rhythm of the water, caught here by the younger man hints at his ability as a writer,  yet at the same time we see his inability to grasp the possibility of love.

    John Hurt.  Gate Theatre, Dublin. 2013.

    Fletcher and Spurling draw attention to this poetic quality when they write that 'sheltered under his most rebarbative title - with its triple allusion to excrement, disillusion and machinery - lies Beckett's most lyrical and tender play.' ( 1972, p.88) But Krapp's Last Tape is  also shot through with moments of humour and bathos. We have the clown-like business with the banana skins at the opening of the play, the description of Krapp wearing 'Rusty black ... trousers too short for him [and] ...a surprising pair of dirty white boots, size ten at least' and the irony of the older man, laughing with and at his younger selves. 

    Hurt switched easily and comfortably between these lyrical and whimsical moments to the realisation of his loss and to the 'profound gloom' and 'misery' of his condition.  Juxtaposed with this lyricism and humour is the threat of the darkness and what it might contain.  In the 1969 Berlin production, Beckett, directing Martin Held, told his actor that the reason Krapp glances behind is that 'death is standing behind him and unconsciously he's looking for it [because] it's the end … he's through with his work, with love and with religion'. Hurt sustains this moment of uneasiness for just the right length of time to draw our attention to it, before moving on with the action of the play. 

    In this memorable performance John Hurt held the audience in the opening scene as he sat silent and immobile for at least two minutes, giving us that sense, which we often find in Beckett's plays, that what is on stage is surrounded by a vast silence and darkness. The only thing that holds this emptiness back is the light and the voice of the actor. The fading out of that light and voice at the end of the play are a powerful reminder of the common fate of those born astride the grave. The death of the light in this production left the audience moved and subdued to such a degree that  that it delayed our ability to applaud the performance. When the house lights came up the spell was broken and Hurt received a well deserved standing ovation. 

    Reviewed by Ann Fallon.

    Index of reviews - by author / publisher.

     Alphabetical list of authors reviewed, with links to their review.

    Auge, Celeste.             Short Stories.      Fireproof and Other        

    Beckett, Samuel.          Drama.                Before Vanishing:
                              Ohio Impromptu, Footfalls, That Time &, Come and Go.

                                         Drama                  Krapp's Last Tape

    Beirne, Gerard.            Poetry.                Games of Chance: A
    Gambler’s Manual.

    Dear, Nick.                 Drama.                The Dark Earth and the
                                                                   Light Sky.
                                    Guest reviewer: Peter Lawler.

    Dedalus Press.             Poetry.                Airborne: Poetry from

    Donaldson, Moyra.      Poetry.                Selected Poems.

    Fanning, Arnold Thomas.   Drama        Griswold.

    Green, Melissa.            Poetry.                The Squanicook Eclogues.

    Jamison, Andrew.        Poetry.                Happy Hour.

    Johnston, Fred.            Poetry.                Translations  of his work
                                                                      From French to English.

    Keegan, Claire.            Novella.              Foster.

    Kostick, Gavin.            Drama.                Fight Night.

    Longley, Michael.        Poetry.                Collected Poems

    Mazer, Ben.                 Poetry.                January 2008.

    McGlinchey, Afric.      Poetry.                The lucky star of hidden things.

    McGuckian, Medbh.    Poetry.                 The High Caul Cap.

    Miller, Arthur.              Drama.                All My Sons.

    Nikolayev, Philip.         Poetry            Letters From Aldenderry.

    O'Donoghue, Peadar.  Poetry.                Jewel
               Reviewed by Ann Fallon:

    O'Donoghue, Peadar.  Poetry.                Jewel
                              Reviewed by Guest Reviewer, John W. Sexton:

    Thayil, Jeet.                 Fiction.               Narcopolis.

    Arts Events
    The European Muse:   Influence of translation upon Irish poets.

    Sunday 24 March 2013

    Highly Recommended 24th March, 2013.


    Sir Christopher Ricks

    In this lecture Christopher Ricks, an atheist himself, looks at the idea of faith.  Faith in art, in the powers of  the artist and in the artist's own powers in his work.  Ricks explores the ineluctable separation between faith and knowledge, the challenge which imaginative literature presents, particularly when produced by an artist with a differing world philosophy and finally looks at Eliot's essay on Dante and the particular response which Eliot chose for the character of Brunetto Latini.

    A fascinating lecture and one which will deepen your understanding and appreciation of T S Eliot.


    Continuing with Eliot:

    TS Eliot's 1962 letter to Miss Alice Quinn  identifies his essay on Dante as his personal favourite, ahead of The Waste Land and Prufrock. That essay is reproduced here and in it Eliot writes that:

    'Dante’s is the most comprehensive, and the most ordered presentation of emotions that has ever been made. Dante’s method of dealing with any emotion may be contrasted, not so appositely with that of other “epic” poets as with that of Shakespeare. Shakespeare takes a character apparently controlled by a simple emotion, and analyses the character and the emotion itself. The emotion is split up into constituents—and perhaps destroyed in the process. The mind of Shakespeare was one of the most critical that has ever existed. Dante, on the other hand, does not analyse the emotion so much as he exhibits its relation to other emotions'.


    Four very worthy literary magazines, looking for submissions:

    Revival Literary Journal No. 26 is calling for submissions from local, national and international poets and writers for issue 26 which will be published in Limerick, June 2013.

    The deadline for submissions is:   Fri 26th April 2013
    Poetry send to:
    Prose/Reviews send to:
    Snail mail: The Editor, Revival, Moravia, Glenmore Ave., Roxboro Rd., Limerick.

    As you know, Poetry Bus 4 has recently been launched. 
    Attracta McCabe by Mike Absalom
    It is a hugely successful print publication  edited by Peadar O'Donoghue and containing ninety-three poems by almost as many international poets, plus two visual poems; Flash Fiction; Illustrations; Reviews; An article by Dave Lordan  and: A cd of 12 tracks.
    The variety of work on display is staggering and threatens to blind the reader who tries to make their way too quickly. With this in mind I have been deliberately taking the reading very slowly. 

    The slower pace allows such gems as Arthur Broomfield's ekphrastic poem 'After Edward Hopper's 'Hotel Room' to come to light. With it's muted appreciation of Hopper's muted moment, the poem is eloquent on  the 'magnified absences' and negative spaces which the painting presents. Ian C. Smith's Shabby Launderette, Dismal Saturday and Surplus show a sureness and confidence which should mark the beginning of an independent collection or chapbook, certainly  one that I would be interested in reading. The dark comedy of Frances Kenny's flash fiction piece, Granny Fights Back provides a counterpoint to the poetry and the photographs and illustrations throughout the collection provide just the right note of  colour, humour and visual conundrums.  
    Poetry Bus 5 is currently accepting submissions. To enter contact 

    If you don't already have a copy of Poetry Bus 4 you should purchase it here:

    The latest issue of The Battersea Review includes poems by:

    William Logan; U. S. Dhuga; Todd Swift; Saskia Hamilton; 
    Peter Behrman de Sinety & Petya Ivanova; Mario Murgia; 
    James Reidel; J. Robert Oppenheimer; Gerard Malanga; 
    David C. Ward; Daniel Evans Pritchard; Charles Bernstein, 
    Anand Thakore and Adam Fitzgerald. 

    In this publication the standard of work is consistently high but in reading these poems I was also struck by it's truly international quality.  From the mesmerising The Koh-I-Noor by Hindustani poet, classical singer and musician, Anand Thakore, which demands a slower more cosmic pace from Western readers, to the beautiful Russian translations from Philip Nikolayev of Rilke's Russian poems, to the deceptive simplicity of Mexican/Italian poet Mario Murgia, here translated by Ben Mazer. Combined with more familiarly Western work from Charles Bernstein, David C. Ward and Adam Fitzgerald and others,  The Battersea Review is fast becoming the meeting place for the best in contemporary world poetry.  

    If you would like to submit to the Review, Editor Ben Mazer tells us that submissions for the 4th edition will be accepted from the beginning of June and should be sent to

    Barefoot Muse Press   
    are continuing their open reading season in April. 

    Back by popular demand—our second Chapbook Open Reading Period, April 1-30 2013.
    Once again, we bring you this traditional publishing service with no reading fee! Simply upload your 24-48 page poetry manuscript to our FREE submissions manager at Green Submissions during the month of April. All manuscripts considered for publication in either our Chapbook or Translation Series.


    “The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own.” 
                                                                                         ― Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

    The Feminine Mystique  by Betty Friedan was published in 1963 and spent six weeks on the Times best-seller list.

     It is single handedly credited with sparking the 'second-wave' feminist movement in the US. 

    This month sees the 50th anniversary of the publication and  we have a piece from The New Yorker which reminds us why it was such an important book.

    Plus a candid panel discussion on how four prominent women first encountered The Feminine Mystique and  the strengths and limitations with which they regard it.  
    Dean Virginia Sapiro, Professor of Political Science and Dean of Boston University's College of Arts and Sciences.
    Eileen Boris, Professor of History and Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
    Susan Reverby, Marion Butler McClean Professor in History of Ideas, Welsley College.
    Carol Rivers, Professor of Journalism, Boston University College of Communication. 
    Roberta Salper,  the first full-time faculty member in the first ever Women's Studies Programmes in 1970 at Sandiego University who has just published her memoir Domestic Subversive.  


    The Poetry London Competition 2013 is now open for entries!    DEADLINE 31ST MAY.

    The Poetry London Competition, now in its fourteenth year, has become one of the most highly-regarded in the country, attracting many hundreds of entries from across the UK and abroad. We are pleased to announce that in celebration of Poetry London’s 25th anniversary year, we have invited the magazine’s original poetry editor, Pascale Petit, to judge the 2013 competition. Previous judges have included Neil Astley (2012), Paul Farley (2011), Michael Longley (2010), Don Paterson (2009), Kathleen Jamie (2008), and Jo Shapcott (2007). Pascale Petit's judge’s report and the winning poems are published in the Autumn ’13 issue of Poetry London.
    Entrants may submit poems by post, for which you can download the entry form below. Alternatively, for the first time,we will accept entries by email which follow the guidelines and format below.


    Two sites which authors should be aware of: 
    The Red Room - an online bookstore, and 
    Nothing Binding - a free author marketing site. 
    Both worth investigating today:

    Red Room say that they have made history by launching the only online bookstore that breaks down the “retail wall” between authors and readers. 'If you’re an author, Red Room shares its retail profits from your book sales with you, at least doubling your income, and connects you directly with all of your book buyers, something no other retailer in the world does. If you’re a reader, when you buy on Red Room, your favorite authors appreciate it and want to meet you!'  
    Okay, so there's the payoff for readers - but for professional writers 'meeting' their audience is part of the package anyhow.

    Nothing Binding is a marketing launch site for authors. It's free to join and one of the benefits of membership is that your book will be reviewed for free by one of their official readers. You can profile each of your books and reach a new market.


    Martha Sprackland, poetry editor of Cake magazine and assistant editor for poetry at Faber and Faber  - writes about one of the hundreds of ways of getting into poetry.


    Dromineer Literary Festival

    passed on this wonderful link -
    Arthur Miller reading from his own log of Death of a Salesman in Beijing in 1984 to a live audience.  

    This is a recording of a live event, from the National Theatre Archive.