Everyone who knows me knows I have a thing for anything Irish. But that’s not why I love Poetry Ireland. I love Poetry Ireland because it is the best poetry journal out there. Though the subscription is pricey, I will never let it lapse. And I can never let go of an issue because it is the kind of journal you can re-visit often and always find something of interest. Of course the poetry is top-notch but so are the essays and reviews. Plus, a subscription comes with a newsletter so you get up-to-date calls for submissions and news. It was in May 3-June 6 edition of Poetry Ireland eNews that I came across the following item, which I feel compelled to share.
It is a short article about the passing of poet Patrick Galvin and I quote it in full.
Poetry Ireland was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of poet, playwright and writer Patrick Galvin. Alongside being a successful poet and author, Galvin was also founder/chairman of the Munster Literature Centre, the Dún Laoghaire Poetry Now festival and a member of Aosdána. He is survived by his wife Mary Johnston and his five children.
Described as fiery, iconoclastic, socialist and anti-establishment Galvin was informed by the experience of a politicised working-class childhood in Cork city and his work “has always resisted categorisation and certainly seems closer to European or South American writing than anything else produced in Ireland.”
He published a number of collections of poetry, including Heart of Grace, as well as plays and radio plays including And Him Stretched and The Devil’s Own People. His autobiography, which formed a trilogy, Song for a Poor Boy, Song for a Raggy Boy and Song for a Fly Boy received crititcal acclaim – culminating in a film adaptation starring Aidan Quinn.
We would like to express our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
extract from Message to the Editor
I can’t write now
Because the coffin is too narrow
And there’s no light.
I’m trying to send this
Through a medium
But you know what they’re like –
Reeking of ectoplasm.
If you manage to receive this
I’d be glad if you’d print it.
There’s no point asking you
To send me a copy –
I don’t even know my own address.
– Patrick Galvin
I am sure you can see why the poem struck me. I wanted to share it and the obituary, which I think is so well-written that when it is my time, I am considering dying in Ireland just so I could maybe have such a nice write-up. Though I wanted to post the poem and obit, I felt I had to pay dues for it so I ordered New and Selected Poems of Patrick Galvin (edited by Greg Delanty and Robert Welch, published by Cork University Press), and I have been grateful to read it. The poem that is quoted “Message to the Editor” is a stunner as is “Advice to a Poet” and many others.
The reason why I post this today is because Patrick Gavin was born August 15, 1927 so it seems approprate.