Wednesday, June 20, 2012



Summer Solstice

This is the contract between light and dark,
day and night.
Each accepts when the world belongs
to the other.
This is day’s time, we know no sleep,
swallows cutting
the sky are giddy with it.

Touched by the hand of Midas, everything
turns to gold:
Common cats-ear, bird’s-foot trefoil
The sun’s monstrance gilds the high garden,
the cherry tree.
A prayer big enough to cover our best selves.

From The Other Side of Longing, a collaboration with Lisa C.Taylor
Published by Arlen House, 2011

Monday, June 18, 2012

Individual Artist's Award

I wish to acknowledge Galway County Council Arts Office  for awarding me an Individual Artist's Award to work on my third short story collection.

My gratitude to them for their continuous support  throughout the years.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reading with James Joyce on Bloomsday

Not many people can say that, but  yes, I will be reading with James Joyce on Bloomsday and another 109 Irish writers who plan to set a new Guinness World Record for the Most Authors Reading Consecutively From Their Own Work . It has been organised by the Irish Writers' Centre and it start at 10:00am on Friday 15th and finishes at 2:00pm on Saturday, Bloomsday.

It will be streamed live from the Irish Writers' Centre so everyone will get a chance to follow the readings if they cannot make it to the event and  it will be great fun. James and I will be reading  between 6:30am and 7:00am  so we will be vying with the dawn chorus. I will be reading from The Weight of Feathers (Arlen House, 2007) and James Martyn Joyce will be reading from his debut collection of short stories, What's Not Said which has just been launched by Arlen House.

This  masterly collection draws a different kind of attention to the small world of land purchase, building and resentment entrenched in the Irish psyche. These interlinked stories are populated by skinny-denimed squirrels and sawn off shot guns, where plasterers and electricians swarm over the shell of a house like fat flies cleaning out a carcass.  

With a gimlet eye he uncovers an Ireland of greed, betrayal and consequences with writing that is sharp, unsettling, lyrical, yet not without humour, throwing a spotlight on lives that fester behind the ordinary…where what he didn’t know couldn’t kick his door in at 4.00am and nail him to the bed with lead rivets. 

From the beautifully nuanced Dust Woman to such disquieting examples as Benny’s Case, What’s Not Said and Give Them Nothing, Joyce limns the shadow seam of Ireland with inference rather than statement, leaving the reader to search between the lines and bring into the light what’s not said, what can’t be said and even if it’s not said it always filters back. Now that’s what a good short story is all about.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Touched by Light

                                             Bird Sanctuary in Winter by Charlotte Kelly

When you are in the presence of true artists it is clear they become the medium through which the inspiration flows. Their very essence is brought to bear on the whole work. None of them explain or make it easy for us and they call upon us to look beyond the image and bring us to another place within ourselves.  In Elements of Place,  an exhibition currently on show at Kenny's Gallery, Liosb├ín Retail Park, Tuam Road, Galway, we are called to witness  the work of Leah Beggs, Joan Hogan and Charlotte Kelly through their interpretation of Connemara, the Corrib and Barna, respectively. Though the work is informed by their own experiences of the local, the quality of it ensures that it could happily take its place on the universal stage.

What Leah Beggs does superbly is that she directs us to the edge and challenges us to pull back the veil of another world that we may look at it differently.From the smaller pieces such as Land Meets Sea or Linear Landscape to the larger canvases she takes us from the ordinary world of solid matter to the essence of place.  There is a wonderful stillness in her work, a sense of the spirit of the place that is her great power.  

Born where the world looks out to Galway Bay and beyond, the sea was the first sound  Joan Hogan heard before her birth eye ever opened to its pulse. So it is not surprising that she has been drawn to its life force. The sea is in her ear, her eye, she finds a way to capture its power, its energos on canvas and it lifts out of the deep to show itself to us. She is not afraid to use strong vibrant colours and uses them with great deftness which she balances before she hands it over to the viewer. She then lets the painting continue its life in the eye of the beholder. Through her work she brings us to the edge of ourselves.
What speaks to me in Charlotte Kelly's  work is the way she gets to the core of a lived life.  There is a sensed understanding of the world around her whether it is her walks in Rusheen Bay or Barna Woods and it is very clear that she has absorbed place into her veins for it just pours out with each brush stroke. What I love about her work is the contract she holds between dark and light and this has developed even further from her previous exhibitions.  She brings an alchemy to her painting so that a bare canvas is transmute to gold.

It was an inspired choice to bring these three extraordinary artists together in one exhibition. They stand strongly on their own merit, but the synergy of the work together is a tour-de-force. The exhibition continues until 14th June.