Dispersal By Frances Holloway
The clouds roll up in dairy scoops
the anvil and the tower
blowflies die their tiny deaths
and thirsty gums shed flowers
the silence falls, no magpie calls
and then it moves-
the whisper wind
to rattling applause
Dispersal is © Frances Holloway
Pomonal Publishing, 2014
Frances Holloway is a poet storyteller whose work is wry and full to bursting with ideas. Pomonal Publishing have done well in snaring the woman and bringing her work out. Holloway’s books capture a universe, they are almost nourishing. I say this as a reader who seeks visualism and colour in her poems. I look for intensity and light in a poem, I do not care if the light is dark or jewel-like,
Women poets often have to fight to remain visible. The reader may be concerned at lack of citation, credible review, and honour for the woman poet. Frances Holloway’s work reminds the reader however that there are infinitely more important things in this world than poetry and it’s dissemination. A reclusive or even withdrawn approach to creativity is become a valid life choice in a world where psychosis is paraded via mass-media purveying execution and torture as a type of snuff-reality, yes really.
Dispersal, the eponymous poem of this brief and lit collection is set as the last poem in the book. This is in itself unusual, as editors often build the backbone of their book on the title poem, as spine, structure and support system to the text. Instead of the eponymous poem, the reader discovers a group of poems each as good as the rest. These poems are Death Comes and Goes in the Garden, Never Explain, Never Apologise, The Undead , Fox , and Night Horses. I think that in this case Jane’s editorial choice is vindicated. Dispersal, though a small book of some 56 pages really exhibits an embarrassment of riches for the reader’s pleasure. I was lost regarding which poem’s I would excerpt for this blog.
Frances Holloway plays to her strengths. Her dispersal of idea and image is wry and occurs in it’s millions, a huge seeded flower that requires a broader canvas. One of the spores reached me and for that I am glad. I want to know what it is like to live in solitude, to listen to the muse, to often reject her, and to have the time (writing time) to create and maybe someday, someone will pick up one of my small chapbooks in the reeling crazy of her life and still momentarily. I could question why Holloway has hidden her poetic voice for such a time, but it really is not my business.
Well done to Pomonal Poetry, keep doing what you are doing . Keep producing those books of poetic story and intimate clarity. Despite varied assertions as to the demise of poetry, or indeed the market-driven idea of what is a book – there is room for the serious poetry reader to explore, and if they must reject the endless novels, the lack of thought, and the emptying poetry shelves to make it clear to the big publishers that there are poetry-readers, then go online and discover the indies who are filling the void left by the market-driven publishing house. There are always options.
Eventually the pull for neutral, emotional and plain silly drivel will bottom out, and those publishers who have craved a market-share by dropping their poetry lists and pushing half-cocked writers like James Franco, will realise that market is driven by respect for art, and not necessarily by coke-fuelled soirées that want to push the next big thing on us- fuck the next big thing. I want a window on the world, and songs of the heart.
Not withstanding suicide bombers and falling
The poetry reader will be rewarded by Holloway, and he or she will have to go looking for poets of integrity in the grit and slime of what is being pushed by the big cheeses.
Doris Lessing died a matter of days after I had received permission to carry some of the poems from her Fourteen Poems on this blog indefinitely. I had put up the following note and message and see no reason to remove it. I am happy that I have carried her work for a few years. I wrote a brief tribute to Lessing’s writing and influence on my writing life here.
We’d be delighted for you to host the poems for longer especially if you’re getting such good reactions. Doris Lessing was never very keen on her poetry and didn’t think it was any good so I doubt we will see a re-issue but at least this way, they are available in an alternative form.
When I look back I seem to remember singing.
Yet it was always silent in that long warm room.
Impenetrable, those walls, we thought,
Dark with ancient shields. The light
Shone on the head of a girl or young limbs
Spread carelessly. And the low voices
Rose in the silence and were lost as in water.
Yet, for all it was quiet and warm as a hand,
If one of us drew the curtains
A threaded rain blew carelessly outside.
Sometimes a wind crept, swaying the flames,
And set shadows crouching on the walls,
Or a wolf howled in the wide night outside,
And feeling our flesh chilled we drew together.
But for a while the dance went on –
That is how it seems to me now:
Slow forms moving calm through
Pools of light like gold net on the floor.
It might have gone on, dream-like, for ever.
But between one year and the next – a new wind blew ?
The rain rotted the walls at last ?
Wolves’ snouts came thrusting at the fallen beams ?
It is so long ago.
But sometimes I remember the curtained room
And hear the far-off youthful voices singing.
Fable is © Doris Lessing, and is reprinted here by kind permission of Jonathan Clowes Ltd, London, on behalf of Doris Lessing. Olivia Guest from Jonathan Clowes Ltd
Pictured are two books of published poetry by Nobel Laureate and writer Doris Lessing (1919-2013). I am intrigued by each of the books. I thought to add some information on the status of the books and their current locations, but information is quite scanty. Thus I will be blogging the process.
Fourteen Poems by Doris Lessing , published 1959 by Scorpion Press, is unavailable, although I have located a copy in a library in a university library in Dublin.
The Scorpion Press closed in the 1970s, according to this Wikipedia entry.
Some articles from the press were obtained by the McFarlin Library, Special Collections at the University of Tulsa. I am adding here the link.
The original link (Lessing’s Scorpion/ Northwood titles) details the names of the Fourteen Poems which were published in 1959,
The list of poems from The Inpopa Anthology 2002 are:
Both sets of poems from Ms Lessing’s Opus are listed in her published works, I for one, am incredibly curious to read her poetic writing and have applied for more information to the special collections at the McFarlin Library at Tulsa University. I will update this post when I get more information about the poems.
I am adding here Lessing’s list of published works
Thanks to Alison Greenlee, Special Collections Librarian at the University of Tulsa, for information about the Scorpion Press archive.
the moth, arts and literature magazine
The moth, arts and literature magazine is linked at the end of this short introductory. I picked up my copy at the newsagent at Easons in Heuston station. It proved a very popular read on holiday and I barely got my hands on it. I wondered whether I should just link a poem or mention the art, but like all good magazines, it is how the whole is edited, rather than the plucking from it of tidbits or tasters that makes it work as a publication.
Poems are by Daragh Breen, Paul Keenan, Mairéad Donnellan ,Tishani Doshi , Evan Costigan, Bernard O Donoghue, Helena Nolan, Lorraine Mariner, Peter Fallon and Jessica Traynor.More poems are by Rebecca O Connor, Richard W. Halperin , Andrew Elliot and Niamh Boyce. The magazine is replete with limpid images by Ralph Kiggell, Bill Griffin, Nathalie Lete and Theresa Ruschan. Short fiction, Interviews, and a Shane Connaughton play also form the body of the magazine.
by Rebecca O Connor.
The sky is the white smoke of a quenched fire,
My heart too is loose, needs its noose tightened.
by Rebecca O Connor