AND AGAMEMNON DEAD : An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry

Christine Elizabeth Murray:

Thanks to Michael J Whelan for this post on ‘And Agamemnon Dead: An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry’ 

Originally posted on Michael J. Whelan - Writer:

And Agamemnon Dead An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry Edited by Peter O'Neill & Walter Ruhlmann And Agamemnon Dead
An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry
Edited by Peter O’Neill & Walter Ruhlmann

Hi everyone, I’m really happy to announce that a brand new anthology of contemporary Irish poetry has been published today (St Patrick’s Day) in Paris and I am also delighted to say that I have five poems included in the collection alongside a number of exciting and interesting new voices coming out of Ireland in the these early years of the 21st Century.

And Agamemnon Dead An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry, Edited by Peter O’Neill & Walter Ruhlmann is published by Muavaise Graine (Paris 2015) –

see https://www.facebook.com/mgversion2datura

and among its 187 pages you will find poetry from

Michael McAloran — Amos Greig — Dylan Brennan — Christine Murray — Arthur Broomfield — Peter O’ Neill — Rosita Sweetman — Michael J. Whelan — Anamaría Crowe Serrano —…

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AND AGAMEMNON DEAD : An Anthology of Early Twenty First Century Irish Poetry

‘Making Monuments’ by Christine Murray

Making Monuments

#1
 
The whole of the waiting stone is beige coloured.
It is hiding its silica, their minutiae. Although I
 
have found dashes of it left as glitter on things,
things like tables, chairs. My own face glitters with it.
 
I gather up the gaudy granite slivers, they flake like
brittle lizard skin mottling in my hand, there.
 
I can hold this smooth round pebble, and warm
it through. It is stone silent not budding from, to
anything,
 
but I can feel it’s waiting.

#2
 
I cannot get into them. Laying the flakes out onto a table,
or holding the fragile layers in my hands, peeling them back
layer from metallic layer.
 
They are big as skin, bigger than. They’re stone cells,
the living and the not living tissue of stone.
 
They are the skin cells of stones. They glitter in the
black muck, the wet and humus muck of my garden.
They decorate the bones of the nestled reed music,
the flares and tubes of the bamboo that was hacked to
death and tied with meat string,
 
and I remember how bamboo’s music changed when the
poison worked down from leaf to root, and still, they
stilled their rushing noise until it bubbled underground,
 
it’s hollowing sound.
 
It is impossible to dig the tubes out, they generate,
make their generations, gardens away.
All round the hurt tubes are glitters of stone cells.
 
Moon caught, or sun, they fight with dew to blade my eyes.
Stone remnants. I lick my index finger and glitter them.

#3
 
Their crystal greys are almost invisible,
littering the paths where colour is,
 
a blue bird is stone dead,
nesting season is vicious. Wind lifts
his blue,
 
minutely investigates the small
corpse and moves on,
 
the blue against the grey
and the crystal beneath,
 
not the sun, not the moon exposes
the glittering of this new fossil’s making.
 
‘Making Monuments’ is © Christine Murray

10455198_1022566231090046_6024540073007849188_n
Brain of Forgetting is a journal for creative work that engages with archaeology, history, and memory. Based in Cork, Ireland, the journal publishes original work by both new and established writers and artists from all over the world, and also takes an interest in the creative work of those who make the past their profession. Issue 1 called for submissions of poetry, flash fiction, creative non-fiction, photography, and artwork on the theme of ‘Stones’. The resulting collection spans geological time in exploring the human relationship with natural stone, prehistoric megaliths, stone objects, and architectural stone, revealing that stone is no more dead nor silent than the powerful voices within these pages. IN THIS ISSUE: POETRY by Karen An-Hwei Lee, Milton Bates, James Bell, Lindsey Bellosa, Martin Bennett, Mark Burgh, Paul Casey, Dawn Corrigan, Caleb Coy, Joseph Dorazio, William Doreski, Chris Murray, Morgan Downie, Paulette Dubé, Keri Finlayson, Siobhán Flynn, Pat Galvin, Richard Hawtree & more

Christine Murray is a graduate of Art History and English Literature (UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4). She is a City and Guilds qualified restoration stonecutter (OPW). Her chapbook Three Red Things was published by Smithereens Press in June 2013. A collection of poems Cycles was published by Lapwing Press in Autumn 2013 . A dark tale The Blind was published by Oneiros Books late in 2013. Her second book length poem She was published in Spring 2014 (Oneiros Books). A chapbook Signature was published in March 2014 by Bone Orchard Press.

‘Making Monuments’ by Christine Murray

‘Sufferance’ and other poems by Rebecca Foust

Prayer for my New Daughter

 
with lines by Audre Lorde and William Butler Yeats
 

A soul in chrysalis, in first agonized molt,
must choose: LADIES, or MENS.
For some—for you—these rooms are fraught,
an open field where lines are drawn: think of
the White-Only signs. Or Serrano’s Piss Christ
and Duchamp’s Fountain, pitted with acid
and icepicks, de-faced. As for restrooms called
“Bathrooms with Urinals,” no, his words
will never dismantle the master’s house.
For an hour I have walked and prayed,
musing on icepicks, how they’re made
to fit a blind hand; how kept so well honed.
You are soft as sown grass and fierce as cut glass.
You pack your new purse with lipstick, and mace.
 
First published in North American Review, Fall 2014.
 
[Note: written after an attack on transgender college students attempting to use a restroom with a sign that said “Bathroom with Urinals”]
 

Sufferance

 
1,123 reported killings of trans people worldwide within the last five years.—Examiner.com
 
Transgender, as in counterfeit, as in someone appearing
or attempting to be a member
 
of the other gender, as in equated with transsexual
or cross-dresser or pervert
 

as in a term used by ugly girls as a defense mechanism
against prettier girls
. As in

 
the only solution lies in psychology or religion or,
until 1960, an icepick lobotomy
 
done without drugs. Sufferance means passive permission
from lack of interference
,

 
as in tolerance of something intolerable, the teen set on fire
at the back of the bus, the way the world
 
daily scathes you, my fear for your safety a daily sufferance,
as in endurance, as in [archaic] misery,
 
as in Middle English or Latin equivalent of suffer, akin
in its way to suffrage,
 
the right to vote. As in vote for, support—child, I am trying
to support you in this—
 
as in Ecclesiastical, a prayer, an intercessory prayer or petition.
Intercessory, come between.
 
Intercede, yes—my body—between yours and theirs.
 
First published in the Bellingham Review 2015 (Finalist, 49th Parallel Award)
 
Blame
 
the olive tree that dropped its great gout
of dark fruit onto asphalt for the swerve
and spinout etched in fresh virgin press;
blame the natural law that made helpless
bodies attract and collide then come to rest
in the acacia-treed canyon. The driver sat
behind the wheel, his side not pierced,
not yet. Yes, he was drunk, but only
with joy for the lovely, lithe boy
now fused with the car, shrinkwrapped
in leather and steel, and veiled
in the webbed windshield; the boy
who sang backup Gospel like a bruised angel
and was the hope of his whole Bronx block.
Blame the last bright note that opened
his throat and sank into pollen and dust.
 
First published in The Seattle Review, 2010.
 

Gratitude for an Autistic Son

 
He speaks, and when we speak, he understands.
Not like my friend’s boy, who tap-taps the board
behind his bed, sucking on both his hands.
 
Who taps the wood with his forehead, in a kind
of mandarin code. A light’s gone underground:
no speech, but he can gesture and understand
 
—better off than the steel-cribbed child, blind
even to pain, left at the Home. Whose eyes are wide
and blue. Who also began by sucking his hands,
 
then his teeth came in. What’s left of his hands
are mittened in gauze and bound to his side—
our son speaks. He talks, we talk. He understands.
 
And this is the crux: he talks; we understand
when he hungers or thirsts, is sad or scared.
He’s not left in his shit, we put food in his hands.
 
He’s not wild pinned in a trap, chained
to his own spine, gnawing the only way out.
He speaks. He holds a pen. He understands.
He has all of all of his fingers. On both of his hands.
 
First published in North American Review, 2013, Second place for the James Hearst Poetry Prize
 

Only

 
O Heart, this happened, or it did not.
In a room with green walls,
 
my son was born. The cord was torn
too soon, so his head
 
was cut off to save his heart. He lived
for a long time.
 
For a long time there was no breath or cry.
When finally he spoke,
 
he spoke the wide, whorled leaves of corn.
He spoke the crickets
 
in clusters beneath the sheaves, he sang
the soil in. He sang the wind
 
in the dune and hush of ebb tide. Some say
he died. Some say he died.
 
First published in The Hudson Review, Summer 2013.

Rebecca Foust
Rebecca Foust’s most recent book, Paradise Drive, won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry. Foust was the 2014 Dartmouth Poet in Residence and is the recipient of fellowships from the Frost Place and the MacDowell Colony. New poems are in the Hudson Review, Massachusetts Review, Mid-American Review, North American Review, Omniverse, and other journals, and an essay that won the 2014 Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Award is forthcoming in the Malahat Review.
 
Rebecca Foust Website
‘Sufferance’ and other poems by Rebecca Foust

‘Lament’ Recorded at the Smock Alley Theatre

I received this morning the sound files for a performance of Lament that occurred at the Smock Alley Theatre, as part of the 2012 Béal Festival. My thanks to Elizabeth Hilliard and David Bremner for programming the piece.

Friday Afternoon – part 3.wav

Containing:

Christine Murray: Lament (for three female voices) (performed by Dove Curpen, Réiltín Ní Charthaigh Dúill and Emilie Champenois; also with thanks to Rita Barror for organising and reading-through) (first performance)


Beal2012
‘Lament’ Recorded at the Smock Alley Theatre

Crown Of Thorns by Bethany W Pope


Crown of Thorns by Bethany W. Pope

Oneiros Books 2013

Crown Of Thorns by Bethany W. Pope is published under the Oneiros Books imprint. This is not an easy book to read. Ultimately it is a tale of triumph against war, where  war is child sexual abuse, rejection, and alienation. Throughout Crown Of Thorns there is a sense of profound hope and strong unshakeable faith.

Bethany Pope uses an imagery and symbolism in Crown of Thorns that is bloody, battered, estranged, and sometimes terrifying. Corridors, umbilici, and torn flesh form the vast part of the imagery, with water and earth less spoken but always present. Crown Of Thorns is a testament of survival and endurance sited in a complex construction that requires some explanation.

Divisions in Crown Of Thorns

There are four major divisions in Crown Of Thorns, Crown of Thorns, House Of Masks, Rabbit Trap, and Bloodlines: An Emperor’s Crown. Within each division are series of poems excavating both familial and personal history. The series are broken into sonnet groups, some of which are acrostic.

The opening section of the book eponymously titled Crown Of Thorns comprises two separate threads (or cords) Joy and John. The section is 15 sonnets long, alternating between two groups of seven sonnets under each heading that become entwined in Sonnet #15. Crown Of Thorns forms the foundation of the book proper. The major themes of survival and abuse are herein introduced.

The themes of this opening section of the book are taken up throughout the other previously named divisions, House of Masks,  Rabbit Trap and Bloodlines. Pope maintains a careful balance in the foundational and introductory parts of her book. She explores and ultimately accepts the damage of war on the body, and its survival in the final part of the book Bloodlines: An Emperor’s Crown.

Pope has intricately embroidered her major themes throughout the fabric of the book. She will pick up and repeat phrases in different sonnets, most especially in  Bloodlines: An Emperor’s Crown, which is more assured and deftly handled than the earlier sections. Bloodlines is cumulative, thus the most difficult set of themes to render poetically.

The achievement of this book is for the writer, who has honed her craft to attain her mature poetic voice. This, she achieves through her use of structure, structural underpinning in the form of acrostic sonnets, and a developed use of symbolism that interweaves its way through each titled or numbered section. The use of  the symbolism of the umbilicus, the corridor, the tunnel, the eye , and water is very evident in the final section of the book through Crown 2: The Ancestors, Crown 3: Alchemy, and Blood Jewels. These named sections form the final part of the book, titled Bloodlines, An Emperor’s Crown.

Symbols In Crown of Thorns

Crown Of Thorns is set out as a Bildungsroman, or more properly a pilgrimage. The book is confessional, as it is a testament of victory over war. War is the torn body and soul of the victim of child abuse, war in the experience of neglect and poverty. The deepest victory is in Pope’s admittance to herself that the battle is never entirely won. It begins anew each day with the ‘Dream that bursts when eyelids open.’

Some of Pope’s material is traumatic to read and to think about. Her most intense victory therefore is in how she has achieved compression of her traumatic themes through her use of poetic form, and in how she has explored and set out those themes through sure use of symbol.

Soil, earth, water and the dark blood of birthing mingle their acids into an existence that is always questing for right and truth. The umbilicus, that dark binding cord of ancestry binds the victims of family through change of place and of time,

13.

‘The corridors run, binding us together
out of glistening blue and red wires.’

Crown 3: Alchemy (Bloodlines)

Bloodlines makes liberal use of the acrostic form spelling out a history, which I read as an SOS. Bethany is born, only purity is my tough refusal to, sell my poor soul, and so on. It is a morse-code of distress hammered into sonnets of sure structure and strong voice. I found myself trying to avoid the acrostics as much as possible to get to the meat of the work, although the acrostic sonnets form the tough outer skin of the poetry- the rind.

Joy: Thorns

Growing flesh around the darkened hole death springs from,
the bark hardens around the hollow in the bole,
the secret place you love for no known reason.
Dressed in a chiton, playing the role of nymphic
servant to unseen Pan, you slide into the loamy darkness,
your wood-rot scented hide. Adolescent haunches
squat in soft soil. You have a shepherd’s pie you bought
with two week’s allowance. Treated bamboo and garish
dyed bands, producing a sound your mind makes melodious.
The tree speaks with the borrowed breath of a wounded girl.
Saturday is for hiding, drawing strength from the earth.
Sundays still belong to grampy, his evil, elderly
entitlement; right of patriarchy to penetrate
beyond the heart of innocence, which grows no armor-bark.

by Bethany W Pope

Crown Of Thorns by Bethany W Pope