“One Has To Admire His Ability As A Poet” by Kevin Higgins

One Has To Admire His Ability As A Poet

“I was struck by … his courage in speaking out to defend the memory of Charles Haughey”
Vincent Woods, RTE website

To defend the memory of Boris Yeltsin’s
vodka bottle. To take money from both the late Benito
Mussolini and, when pragmatism demanded it, those
who spat on him when he was safely
hanging upside down outside an Esso station.
To put in the proper context of realpolitik
as practised in parts of County Wexford
the late Father Fortune’s harem of boys.
To share a Ouija board with President Duvalier
while supping rum from the skull of an infant
who was always going to come to this
because, in the words of W.H.Auden,
‘poetry makes fuck-all difference’.
To share a roast leg with General Amin
and not mind which of his enemies was being eaten.
To recite even his longer poems
to a musical accompaniment of Vladimir Putin
twanging his jock-strap, like a rude balalaika.
To roll around wrapped in the French flag
with Marine Le Pen, whispering
in her cockle shell the words ‘Barbie, Bormann,
Goering’, because that’s the sort of thing
an advocate for the arts must sometimes do.

KEVIN HIGGINS

kevin-author-photo-december-2013-1Kevin Higgins facilitates poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre and teaches creative writing at Galway Technical Institute. He is also Writer-in-Residence at Merlin Park Hospital and the poetry critic of the Galway Advertiser. He was a founding co-editor of The Burning Bush literary magazine and is co-organiser of over the edge literary events in Galway City. His first collection of poems The Boy With No Face was published by Salmon in February 2005 and was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award. His second collection, Time Gentlemen, Please, was published in March 2008 by Salmon. His work also features in the generation defining anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (ed roddy lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010). Frightening New Furniture, his third collection of poems, was published in 2010 by Salmon Poetry. Kevin has read his work at most of the major literary festivals in Ireland and at arts Council and Culture Ireland supported poetry events in Kansas City, USA (2006), Los Angeles, USA (2007), London, UK (2007), New York, USA (2008), Athens, Greece (2008); St. Louis, USA (2008), Chicago, USA (2009), Denver, USA (2010), Washington D.C (2011), Huntington, West Virginia, USA (2011), Geelong, Australia (2011), Canberra, Australia (2011), St. Louis, USA (2013), Boston, USA (2013) & Amherst, Massachusetts (2013). Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews was published in april 2012 by Salmon. (SALMON)
It Was For This by Kevin Higgins

“Treatise on Uselessness” by Kevin Higgins

Treatise on Uselessness

after Rosita Boland

Throughout my truly enormous life,
I’ve never found a use for
gypsies.

When one decides to spend the night
searching online
for a worse deal
on one’s house insurance,
there’s never
a gypsy about to help.

Or when one advertises a vacancy
for Associate Professor of English at Trinity
there’s hardly ever a gypsy
around to fill it.

Or when the wedding
of an Eritrean goatherd and his beloved
is in crying need of a cruise missile,
there’s never a gypsy available
to press the required buttons
and later tell the inquiry
it was all a terrible
misunderstanding.

Despite millions ingested
by social programmes, we’ve mostly
failed to submerge gypsies
in the internationally agreed system
of an indecent day’s pay
for a decent week’s work.

Yet the state insists
on making gypsies compulsory
for those who’d rather never
have to speak to one.

What practical purpose does it serve
for us to continue to try to absorb
gypsies into what my late Popsicle
-a one time Viceroy of Upper Munster- used
to call society,

when all but a few fanatics know it’s futile
as trying to teach a Latvian cage dancer
how to speak Irish?

© KEVIN HIGGINS

kevin-author-photo-december-2013-1Kevin Higgins facilitates poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre and teaches creative writing at Galway Technical Institute. He is also Writer-in-Residence at Merlin Park Hospital and the poetry critic of the Galway Advertiser. He was a founding co-editor of The Burning Bush literary magazine and is co-organiser of over the edge literary events in Galway City. His first collection of poems The Boy With No Face was published by Salmon in February 2005 and was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award. His second collection, Time Gentlemen, Please, was published in March 2008 by Salmon. His work also features in the generation defining anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (ed roddy lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010). Frightening New Furniture, his third collection of poems, was published in 2010 by Salmon Poetry. Kevin has read his work at most of the major literary festivals in Ireland and at arts Council and Culture Ireland supported poetry events in Kansas City, USA (2006), Los Angeles, USA (2007), London, UK (2007), New York, USA (2008), Athens, Greece (2008); St. Louis, USA (2008), Chicago, USA (2009), Denver, USA (2010), Washington D.C (2011), Huntington, West Virginia, USA (2011), Geelong, Australia (2011), Canberra, Australia (2011), St. Louis, USA (2013), Boston, USA (2013) & Amherst, Massachusetts (2013). Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews was published in april 2012 by Salmon. (SALMON)

It Was For This by Kevin Higgins

“How to Rid Yourself of Election Canvassers” by Kevin Higgins

 
Ask them where they stand on the urgent
need for a Greater Serbia.

Tell them nothing has been right
since the Treaty of Versailles,
for which you hold each
and every one of their kind
personally responsible.

Tell them the council’s been promising
to chop down that tree for the past
twenty five years, six months and two days;
that you’re certain
your next door neighbour is a Satanist,
with dead animals buried under his patio.

Start throwing down chicken feed
to apparently non-existent hens,
and wander about your front garden, chanting
their preferred candidate’s name,
as if in some sort of trance.

If a lady over the age of eighty,
or a child less than twelve,
tell them: no thank you,
you’ve given up sex for lent.
If a middle aged male,
come to the door panting
and red faced, with a semi-clad
woman strategically placed
behind you, and say you have
more urgent business
to which you really must attend.

Tell them you’re pretty sure
your most intimate bits
are an unusual shape,
that you’d like them
to take a look and tell you
what their policy is
in cases like this.

© KEVIN HIGGINS

kevin-author-photo-december-2013-1Kevin Higgins facilitates poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre and teaches creative writing at Galway Technical Institute. He is also Writer-in-Residence at Merlin Park Hospital and the poetry critic of the Galway Advertiser. He was a founding co-editor of The Burning Bush literary magazine and is co-organiser of over the edge literary events in Galway City. His first collection of poems The Boy With No Face was published by Salmon in February 2005 and was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award. His second collection, Time Gentlemen, Please, was published in March 2008 by Salmon. His work also features in the generation defining anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (ed roddy lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010). Frightening New Furniture, his third collection of poems, was published in 2010 by Salmon Poetry. Kevin has read his work at most of the major literary festivals in Ireland and at arts Council and Culture Ireland supported poetry events in Kansas City, USA (2006), Los Angeles, USA (2007), London, UK (2007), New York, USA (2008), Athens, Greece (2008); St. Louis, USA (2008), Chicago, USA (2009), Denver, USA (2010), Washington D.C (2011), Huntington, West Virginia, USA (2011), Geelong, Australia (2011), Canberra, Australia (2011), St. Louis, USA (2013), Boston, USA (2013) & Amherst, Massachusetts (2013). Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews was published in april 2012 by Salmon. (SALMON)
 
It Was For This by Kevin Higgins

‘Proposal To Erect Monuments’ by Kevin Higgins

 

Proposal To Erect Monuments

 
In memory of poet, Frank Yammergob:
a twenty foot likeness entrenched in bronze;
the bits of old burger he kept in his
beard left in for authenticity.

Fastened to the dome of city hall
giving his enemies the finger. Exact
replicas atop every public building he paid
not a cent towards.

One laying permanent claim
to the disabled parking space
he liked nothing more than
to nick. Others

outside offices, factories, schools
in which he never
worked a day in what might
loosely be called his life.

The damage, a fraction of what
his parade of ex-girlfriends cost
the state in psychotherapist’s fees. Not
to speak of government grants to bury

those who shot themselves having read
his thoughts on the necessity of rhyme
in the comments section of
the Connaught Trybewn website. In life,

his one reader was a retired vice-principal
who went about the place wearing most of a sheep;
and told women he sat beside on buses
the way Yammergob’s verses

so perfectly scan calls to mind for him
days when a teacher was free to bring
the strap down on the heaving
buttocks of young girls.

Before political correctness gone bonkers.
When, from every lamp-post, down our street
hung a paedophile.

The words at the base of each effigy,
In His Memory, remind
though, technically, he still breathes,
die he eventually must.

Proposal To Erect Monuments is © KEVIN HIGGINS

  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 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).

Higgins’ 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

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.”