Today’s focus is on the Irish, so I have listed some of my favorite literary Irish things.
If you’re looking for contemporary Irish poetry, there is no better journal than Poetry Ireland Review (published quarterly). A subscription also includes a bi-monthly news letter, Poetry Ireland News. Though the overseas subscription rate is rather steep, the journal never disappoints and includes reviews and essays on craft as well as contemporary Irish and international poetry.
Back in 2002, I was lucky to have a residency at Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, County Monaghan. Here’s how the Centre is described on its website: “The Tyrone Guthrie Centre is a residential workplace open to professional practitioners in all art forms. Artist residencies/retreats are for maximum periods of one month in the Big House and three months in the self-catering Farmyard Cottages. In a tranquil, beautiful setting amid the lakes and drumlins of County Monaghan everything is provided for, including delicious food. With the advice and encouragement of his family Sir Tyrone Guthrie bequeathed his family home and estate to the State with the proviso that it be used for the benefit of artists. It was an inspired decision and one that has positively reshaped the cultural landscape of Ireland forever.” I hope to get back there again.
There is so much great Irish literature that I would be hard pressed to name a favorite writer or a favorite work. That being said, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by W. B. Yeats has always given me solace, so I thought I’d print it here.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
W. B. Yeats
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.
The “Lake Isle of Innisfree” was written by William Butler Yeats in 1888. The poem was published first in the National Observer in 1890 and reprinted in The Countess Kathleen and Various Legends and Lyrics in 1892. If you’d like to hear a recording if this poem, check out the Academy of American Poets site Poets.org.
I’ve been fortunate to have some of my poetry appear in Irish publications. “Deerstruck” was published in 2004 at The Poetry Mill blogspot. In 2007 “Easier” appeared in ROPES (Review of Postgraduate English Studies), issue 15 (In Knots) published by the students of the M.A. in Literature & Publishing, National University of Ireland, Galway. “Overlook” was published in Autumn 2009 in The Stony Thursday Book (No.8, edited by Ciaran O”Driscoll), which is published by The Arts Office of Limerick City Council. I’ll let you know about its next call for submissions when I find out about it.