Kate O’Shea is a crack poet

Eggs

 
His poems are words upon words
like eggs smeared with henshit.
They could be free range or organic –
who knows? Too calculated to be risky.
I buy 30 for 1.99 in Liberties Market
and dodge small boys with girls’ earrings
who have never heard of Jackson Pollock
but make an impression on the
bottom of Francis Street and day-trippers,
a stone’s throw from the Bad Art Gallery
which is pretty all right if you like
Mia Funk and well-built women
doing dirty things with bananas.
That’s the problem with men
who are too into blowjobs
more words upon words
like eggs smeared with henshit –
stylised, idolised.
 
Eggs is © Kate O’Shea
 

Tadpole

 
Misery heaped on misery like an Irish Sunday dinner.
It’s hard to swallow; lives like this happen to people
that sprouted dreams like Mr Potato head.
Once fat faces chipped away by keeping body
and soul a hive of useless colony,
the queen bee washed-out and martyred.
Even back then with bamboo rod
and fishing net, catching tadpoles in jam jars,
I wrote sentences in water, used the strange
bodies as living commas, apostrophes
following Os, no ownership,
unlike other daughters I scrutinized in photographs,
I turned wild like the ditches dividing fields,
at the roadside, always on the edge, barbed,
 keeping out of the way, scuttling in the sunlight
with rabbits and wrens, foxes, badgers, and hedgehogs.
Words hurt like a kick in the teeth. A fist.
 
Sitting at a desk I feel I have come full circle.
Tadpoles swim in the pupils of my eyes,
drip from my tongue, squirm on the page for all to see.
I imagine a thumb come to squish them.
I imagine his hazel eyes,
dumb as nuts telling me nothing –
the mouth moves like a loom.
Conformity, conformity, conformity.
I am sick of language, and even he cannot comfort me.
Old allegiances like dead frogs
spread-eagled to reveal their insides.
Anatomical clocks. Ancillary. Tadpoles.
 
Tadpole is © Kate O’Shea
 

Dandelion Clocks

 
Female poets with cropped hair bang on about their weariness,
world-weariness and immortality on the grey page.
There is grief and they are all alone, day after day after day,
their lovers have skedaddled, now they drag the icy moon
after them like a giant pill into middle age.
 
This is the stage I dive roll across like a navy SEAL
avoiding cat flaps and vintage night gowns with tiny buttons
up to the neck, trying not to look pensive,
that finger-cocked-under-the-chin faraway gaze
like Rodin’s statue, but not the same. Bang.
 
I inhabit a different space, my only dread, going home,
or whatever that means, to hang like a windsock
on a calm day, slightly awkward and out of place.
I have moved on and how I chose to wear my hair
contains no clue to my tabernacle, the fugitive in me
plays rummy and quaffs light beer, takes two foreign holidays
a year and listens to Wallis Bird full blast – ‘To My Bones’.
 
I scrimped and saved all my words for grand sentences
and the joy of christening nameless things,
whether broken or chipped, chilled by the breath of history,
no longer walking on tiptoe but stomping a sean-nós dance,
and here is the mystery, my feet dodging the bodies
scattered across the floor like unloved seeds of blow balls,
our dandelion clocks.
 
Dandelion Clocks is © Kate O’Shea

Head in clouds
Kate O’Shea lives in Dublin. She was short listed for the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award 2012. Wurm Press, Scotland published her chapbook, Crackpoet, in March of this year.
  
She has been the featured poet reading in the International Bar for The Monday Echo, Nighthawks at the Cobalt in Dublin on April 6th, and O’Bhéal, Cork, on May 13th of this year. She has also read in Twisted Pepper, Dublin as part of Seven Towers Themed Thursday in September and November 2012.

She will be reading at the Dromineer Literary Festival in early October as part of a showcase of new writers.
 
She has been published in Icarus, Electric Acorn, Poetry Ireland Review Issue Number 34 (1992), The Burning Bush, Riposte, Poetry on the Lake – Silver Wyvern Anthology (Italy), Out to Lunch Anthology 2002, Poetry.com, Shamrock Haiku, Bamboo Dreams an Anthology of Haiku Poetry from Ireland, Poetry Bus 3 & 4, http://www.outburstmagazine.com – Issues 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13, First Cut, CANCAN (Scotland) June 2013, LucidRhythms (U.S.A) http://www.lucidrhythms.com/2013. Angle Poetry Journal, Australia (Issue 3, March 2013) http://www.thegalwayreview.com and will also be included in their hardcopy journal out soon, Turbulence magazine (U.K.) June 2013.
  
Her first published work was a short story, and for this, she won the Prudential Young Irish Writers’ Award 1990. Her humorous sketches were broadcast on Mike Murphy’s Arts Show on RTE Radio 1.
  
She was one of the youngest members of the Dublin Writers’ Workshop, and after that went on to found Chocolate Sundaes at La Cave with William Kennedy and Christopher Daybell in the mid nineties.
  
She was the winner of the Gerard Manley Hopkin’s Poetry Award 1991 and took the overall prize for poetry in the 1998 Clothesline Writers’ Festival.
 
Two poems highly commended by Al Alvarez, were published in The Silver Wyvern Anthology in Italy, 2001.
  
Kate edited and published posthumously, the selected poems of her good friend Christopher Daybell, The Man With The Crowded Eye (2001).
  
She is an accomplished performer and respected on the open mike circuit. She wrote about her experiences in Poetry Ireland Review Magazine (2003), and has read in New York and Rome. She recited in The Palace Bar 2009 to honour Patrick Kavanagh; in 2010 she did a reading/stand up routine, for GLÓR, International Bar.
  
She was one of the poets from Dublin’s lunchtime reading series organised through Bank of Ireland’s Arts Centre and featuring contemporary poetry in Ireland today. The OUT TO LUNCH anthology (2002) featured the works of “…young, emerging poets like Paul Grattan, Conor O’Callaghan, Kate O’Shea, and Enda Wyley.”

25th Ezra Pound International Conference

Sheets_of_toilet_paper_on_which_Pound_started_The_Pisan_Cantos“The conference’s main host will be Trinity College Dublin, Ireland’s oldest university institution, founded in 1592 and located in the city centre. Our second host and other conference site on Thursday, July 11, will be Mater Dei Institute, the college close to what was Leopold Bloom’s residence at 7 Eccles Street.
 
The 2013 EPIC will open at Trinity College Dublin on 10 July with a Welcoming Address by the Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney. Individual plenary talks by distinguished scholars throughout the week will be on such topics as Pound and Irish Poetry, Pound and other writers (Beckett, Coleridge, Joyce, and Yeats), The Cantos Project, New Translations of Pound’s poetry into German and Italian, the Drafts & Fragments Notebooks, and Doing Justice to Pound. There will also be four days of paper sessions and discussions on a wide range of topics related to Pound’s works, life, and influence.”

 

The Censorship of ‘Fragmens Sur Les Institutions Républicaines IV’ by Shane Cullen

IMMA Image of Cullen's work

IMMA Image of Cullen’s work

It interests me when politicians, whether local or national, decide that they’d really like to censor the work of artists. This interest stems from my studies at UCD under Dr. Alistair Rowan, Dr Nancy Dunn-Czak, and of course Dr. Paula Murphy. The study of the History of Art includes numerous modules on censorship of art, including the censorship of art works here in Ireland from the foundation of the state onwards.


Mostly I am interested in calls for censorship that derive from a political system that has existed in an unreformed state for many years, wherein politicians achieve power through local agitation, or as we refer to it here gombeen-politics. Power in Ireland is sought after and attained when a (mostly) young male climbs from his youth group, to council, to government. A degree or equivalent isn’t really necessary to the hot-housing of politicians, and therein lies the difficulty.

Maybe I expect that local  politicians should have an awareness of the major policy issues of their party in government and if there is a lack in their understanding, then surely they could take advice? Advice on art-censorship can be had simply enough by a call to one or other of our university art or historical departments.

Shane Cullen’s Fragmens sur les Institutions Républicianes IV has caused some controversy in Athlone, where Cllr Mark Cooney has tabled a motion to have the work withdrawn from the Luan Gallery. Cllr. Cooney is a local politician of the Fine Gael party who are in coalition government with the Labour Party. Fine Gael has presented our Arts Department with our current Minister for Arts, Jimmy Deenihan T.D, who has made numerous pronouncements on the independence of both the arts and the boards of cultural institutes. Most recently in relation to unpopular merge proposals for our National Cultural institutes. 

I read the (arts) manifestos, such as they were, of all the political parties coming up to the 2011 elections. They were not very inspiring and seem to present a seamless continuation of the previous government’s policies, that is, cuts to and bureaucratization of the arts. Nowhere was it mentioned that the then opposition parties would repeal the 2003 Arts Act which has had such profound effect on the independence of the arts in Ireland. Apart from slinging finances at The Gathering and the 2016 Commemorations, there are no new ideas. The Arts have always been second cousin to sports here, or maybe to a twee sentimentalism that represents how our country wishes to be seen abroad.

A small local row about censorship has done enough for me to be convinced that a Cllr. of the FG Party calling for censorship of visual art has absolutely nothing new to bring to the table with regard to how he perceives the attainment and the usage of his power. I am waiting to be convinced that it is otherwise, but the Minister of Arts is conspicuously silent on the issue and the problem of censorship is hived off into local rows that speak of ignorance in responsibility to culture, heritage and arts in Ireland.

Locus+ Image


Catechism; a reading for Pussy Riot in Dublin

Poets across the UK and Ireland come together to mark the nine-month anniversary of Pussy Riot’s performance in a Moscow Cathedral by reading from Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot, English PEN’s anthology for the group.

This link gives the list of locations and readings in the U.K and Ireland. Ireland’s readings are organised by Christodoulos Makris & Barbara Smith.

Participating poets are: Kimberly Campanello, Sophie Collins, Sue Cosgrave, Anatoly Kudryavitsky, Christodoulos Makris, Máighréad Medbh, Paula Meehan, Alan Jude Moore, Christine Murray, The Poetry Divas, Sam Riviere.

DUBLIN 21/11/2012

6.30pm, Wednesday 21 November
The Grand Social
35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin
www.thegrandsocial.ie 

Admission free

Further Information at Irish PEN and at  English PEN

And Other Poems

This is a brief note about the And Other Poems blog which is owned and written by Josephine Corcoran. What a breath of fresh air the blog is, judging by contemporary availability of good poetry (and critique). To say that poetry is sorely neglected in the face of market-forces is a wild understatement, but more polemic anon.

“And Other Poems is simply a quiet, uncluttered place to read poems by different writers posted by Josephine Corcoran. The blog’s aim is to give readership to poems which would not otherwise be available, for instance poems no longer elsewhere online, out of print poems, poems published in print but not online, and new, unpublished poems by established writers. Poets have given permission for their work to be featured and copyrights remain with the poets.”

I had been seeing some of Josephine’s link on Twitter for a period of time, and as always was gladdened to see the advent of blogs and websites dedicated to the reader of poetry. Quite a few blogs and websites deal in modern and contemporary poetry in all its wonderful variety. Whilst some people may look on this avant-gardeism as a niche-activity, it is important that the poetry-reader can access all types of poetic-writing. It has been a while since I looked at how poets use online tools to disseminate literature  but I see a radical improvement and diversification in the area. Josephine knows her poetry which is excellent for her readers. I recommend a perusal of her blog and of  her list of poets which is wonderfully diverse. I am adding here the And Other Poems index , and of course a link to my poem i and the village (after Marc Chagall) which she kindly published on 11/09/2012.

I have never presumed that poetics are a niche-activity , but that a wholly conservative approach to critique combined with a mechanistic desire to advance contemporary fiction book-sales dominate newspaper editorials/reviews,  at least in Ireland. The fact that many readers seek poetics through varieties of means, combined with news that 30,000 people signed up to PENN State’s Modern and Contemporary Poetry Course in 2012  would suggest that market-forces are just wrong. Or actually repellent !  Editors would rather clever women review silly books, than look at poetry or actual literature.  If  poetry readers seek adequate reviews of women authors and their books they must look elsewhere than the media, hence the blogs, the small presses, the literary journals and forums dedicated to poetry.

There is a list of blogs and websites dedicated to poetry on the right sidebar of this site. Links to And Other Poems are embedded in this post and given below :

Irish Poetry Imprints (Online and Print)