‘The Haircut’ by Kevin Higgins

The Haircut

 
I had it imported
from Ancient Egypt, installed
upon my skull
by JobBridge slaves
grateful to be allowed touch
a scalp as potentially
valuable as mine.
 
I can smell opportunity
at a thousand yards,
and in the blink of a synthetic
eyelash, I’m off sniffing its
however questionable arse.
I’m Hillary Rodham Clinton
without the young idealist
in bad glasses phase.
 
I use Twitter
as a place to practice graciousness,
and would sacrifice
my favourite granddad
to the flames,
and enthusiastically throttle
both of yours,
for the chance to have the Renga
I wrote last week translated into Welsh.
 
I’m small but very well made,
apart from my hunchback soul,
which I keep under lock
and key in a music box
given me by my auntie,
about whom
the less said the better
 
KEVIN HIGGINS

kevin-author-photo-december-2013-1Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway City. He has published four collections of poems: Kevin’s most recent collection of poetry, The Ghost In The Lobby, was launched at this year’s Cúirt Festival by Mick Wallace TD. His poems also features in the anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and one of his poems is included in the anthology The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014). His poetry was recently the subject of a paper titled ‘The Case of Kevin Higgins: Or The Present State of Irish Poetic Satire’ given by David Wheatley at a symposium on satire at the University of Aberdeen; David Wheatley’s paper can be read in full here . Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews, was published by Salmon in April, 2012. Kevin’s blog is http://mentioningthewar.blogspot.ie/ . and has been described by Dave Lordan as “one of the funniest around” who has also called Kevin “Ireland’s sharpest satirist.”
‘The Haircut’ by Kevin Higgins

‘When You Are Old’ by Kevin Higgins

When You Are Old

.
after William Butler Yeats

When you are old and bald and full of crap
and sitting there in threadbare rags,
reach across to your old bookcase
for a dusty old copy of a girlie mag.

Fondle it, then, a little sadly
in your withered veiny hands.
If you can manage to pull the pages apart,
take one last glad glance at a naked tart.

Remember how once you could get it up,
before your pecker just shrivelled up.

© KEVIN HIGGINS

kevin-author-photo-december-2013-1Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway City. He has published four collections of poems: Kevin’s most recent collection of poetry, The Ghost In The Lobby, was launched at this year’s Cúirt Festival by Mick Wallace TD. His poems also features in the anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and one of his poems is included in the anthology The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014). His poetry was recently the subject of a paper titled ‘The Case of Kevin Higgins: Or The Present State of Irish Poetic Satire’ given by David Wheatley at a symposium on satire at the University of Aberdeen; David Wheatley’s paper can be read in full here http://georgiasam.blogspot.ie/2014/05/the-case-of-kevin-higgins-or-present.html . Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews, was published by Salmon in April, 2012. Kevin’s blog is http://mentioningthewar.blogspot.ie/ . and has been described by Dave Lordan as “one of the funniest around” who has also called Kevin “Ireland’s sharpest satirist.”
‘When You Are Old’ by Kevin Higgins

The Myth and Memory Of Eavan Boland’s Latest Poems by J P O’Malley

I do not often recommend newspaper articles on Irish poetry, but I am making an exception in the case of The Examiner’s review of Eavan Boland’s latest book New and Selected Poems Eavan Boland (Carcanet). J P O’Malley offers an extensive review, some illuminating video links, and a preview of his upcoming interview with Boland at The Boogaloo (London) in this article.

‘The heroic narrative that the founding fathers of the State attempted to make a universal truth is also something that Boland’s poetry has challenged consistently. Lest we forget, the birth of the Irish nationalist myth was forged initially through poetry, which unapologetically glorified violence ‘ (Examiner)

It was a similar situation in the visual arts where censorship was prevalent and the original blasphemy laws (we updated them again in 2010) were used to suppress arts, most notoriously the work of Charles Rouault. We can examine how publications were seized and often censored for crimes like obscenity. The fact that there existed before Boland an entire suppressed narrative, a body of literature by women poets, should not surprise us, although it continues to be forgotten and ignored even today. It would be incredibly naïve of the reader to assume that there existed a desert before Eavan Boland’s work flowered in the 1970’s. The women poets were there but they were ignored by the critical and academic establishment, immersed as they were in the imaginative creation of the state.

I  have added in a brief note on Emma Penney’s thesis at the base of this post which challenges the critical reception of Eavan Boland and the restrictive criteria, developed in the 1970’s, under which poetry by women in Ireland has been assessed. Boland alludes to the suppressed narrative throughout her writing career. We are the land of the suppressed poetic narrative afterall. I believe that some people would like to think that women probably did not write poetry much then, but that’s basically a cop-out based in critical laziness and cultural misogyny. The imaginative creation of ‘state’ seems a task left to the masculine poet and his apologetics professors and there are plenty of those.

“In the mid 1960s, when Boland started out as a writer, there was no place for women in the canon of Irish poetry. Moreover, the chances of making it as a poet seemed impossible when she moved to of Dundrum in south Dublin to raise a family. At the time, novelists like Richard Yates in the US were writing about the slow death of creativity in boring, bourgeois-suburbia.
 
But Boland understood that there are complexities in life worth documenting, if one has the sense to deconstruct them. “I was a woman in a house in the suburbs, married with two small children. It was a life lived by many women around me, but it was still not named in Irish poetry. From the beginning, I knew I would have to put the life I lived into the poems I wrote. If I didn’t I would end up writing someone else’s poem.” (Examiner)


Emma Penney, a graduate of the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College Dublin. Her thesis, Now I am a Tower of Darkness: A Critical History of Poetry by Women in Ireland, challenges the critical reception of Eavan Boland and the restrictive criteria, developed in the 1970’s, under which poetry by women in Ireland has been assessed. She considers the subversive nature of women’s poetry written between 1921 and 1950, and calls into question the critical assumption that Eavan Boland represents “the first serious attempt in Ireland to make a body of poems that arise out of the contemporary female consciousness”. In Object Lessons, Boland concluded that there were no women poets before her who communicated “an expressed poetic life” in their work. Emma’s thesis reveals how this view has permeated the critical landscape of women’s poetry, facilitating an absurd privation of the history of poetry by women in Ireland and simplifying it in the process.

 

 


 

The Myth and Memory Of Eavan Boland’s Latest Poems by J P O’Malley

Renewable Energy: Cora Sherlock’s Excellent Suggestion by Kevin Higgins

“Over 15,500 human remains incinerated to heat UK hospitals over 2-year-period.  #800babies #outrage @amnesty” Tweet by Cora Sherlock of the Pro-Life Campaign

Renewable Energy: Cora Sherlock’s Excellent Suggestion

   
We must stop giving it away for nothing
–our greatest natural resource –
the Department of Finance estimates
Tallaght Hospital could heat itself
entirely on foetuses properly burnt
in one of those state of the art
energy efficient furnaces that are
all the rage in Sweden.
 
Within the lifetime of this government
every hospital in the country could be fuelled
by the unwanted contents of visiting wombs.
The minority of cranks aside,
the average foetus would be delighted
to make this small contribution towards
society’s continued warmth.
 
And when the ban on contraceptive devices
is re-introduced; every last diaphragm,
IUD, cock-ring, and bit of rubber
ribbed for your pleasure incinerated
in a field outside Ballinspittle,
after a blessing by Mother Teresa,
(specially flown in from
the black beyond)
and the conception rate soars
back towards
the traditional twelve
pregnancies per lifetime, two thirds,
we estimate, resulting in terminations,
we can start talking
about the export market.
 
Economists say the uteruses
of the greater Dublin area alone
could light the living rooms
of a medium sized British city,
such as Bradford.
 
Education is key.
To get the lady parts of the country
conceiving as they’ll have to,
every pubescent girl,
on her fifteenth birthday,
will be shown her way around
the first twenty pages of the Kama Sutra
by a fully qualified curate
under the age of seventy.
 
This policy’s success
will abolish talk of deficits
and oil prices. Instead,
we’ll debate furiously
whether to blow our vast surplus
on a few thousand more
unemployed tin whistle players
with the hint of an English accent,
or free nose jobs and tummy tucks
for the wives of the wealthy—the biggest
plastic surgery project in world history
since NASA’s unsuccessful attempt
to build another Joan Rivers.
  
 © KEVIN HIGGINS, 2014
  

Kevin author photo December 2013 (1)Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway City. He has published four collections of poems: Kevin’s most recent collection of poetry, The Ghost In The Lobby, was launched at this year’s Cúirt Festival by Mick Wallace TD. His poems also features in the anthologies Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe May 2014). His poetry was recently the subject of a paper titled ‘The Case of Kevin Higgins: Or The Present State of Irish Poetic Satire’ given by David Wheatley at a symposium on satire at the University of Aberdeen; David Wheatley’s paper can be read in full here . Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews, was published by Salmon in April, 2012. Kevin’s blogs at Mentioning The War.

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Renewable Energy: Cora Sherlock’s Excellent Suggestion by Kevin Higgins

Letter: Filming On Skellig Michael

My letter to the Editor regarding how we treat heritage in Ireland, published July 30 2014.

Sir, – It is now more than 10 years since Martin Cullen TD abolished Dúchas, the Heritage Service. Our national and built monuments are not adequately protected. When I questioned the OPW decision to allow filming on Skellig Michael, a general response was “it’s about jobs”. In the deep recession of the ’80s the OPW partnered with private agencies and owners to train young people in heritage protection and craft skills (stonework, wood-carving and preservation). These were jobs and skills geared toward protecting and conserving our heritage.
 
In the 10 years since the abolition of Dúchas, 39 sites in Tara were demolished to facilitate the M3 toll road. There are robberies of stunning stonework and the job of Dúchas has been divided between the Department of the Environment and the OPW.
 
Heritage is not adequately protected. We are not training the young in conservation techniques and we have no statutory agency for protecting our natural and built heritage. There are jobs in protecting our fragile heritage infrastructure in the long-term: people require skills training.
 
The Hollywood machine is a temporary thing. Where is the long view on jobs, on awareness and on stewardship in Ireland?
 
It is the job of the Minister to propose a far-sighted agenda for the work of the divided heritage agency, and yet I have seen no comment or response to the OPW decision on Skellig from her office. We are used to disgraceful decisions affecting our environment in Ireland. Why should we be surprised now? – Yours, etc,
 
CHRISTINE MURRAY,
untitled
  1. A letter by C. Murray
  2. Filming of Scenes For Star Wars Movie begins on Skellig Michael
Letter: Filming On Skellig Michael