Wednesday, 22 April 2009

James Liddy

I've just completed a piece about James Liddy for An Sionnach, an Irish literary magazine run out of Creighton University. Sadly, James died recently and, as his Irish Times obituary attests, he is much missed by his many friends on both sides of the Atlantic. He was very good to me when I was teaching at Macalester College.
The collections under review were Wexford and Arcady and Askeaton Sequence, both published by Arlen House. Despite being separate collections, the books contain exactly the same text on the back cover, including the following phrase, "With this collection it can be said the poet has become in charge of his literary undertaking: he has been able finally to write out his own language." Anyway, it is good to see these books, and we must hope, now, for a new Selected Poems.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


I've just sent in my review of Lament for Art O'Leary to P. N. Review. I recommend Vona Groarke's new translation, which is more informal and contemporary than earlier versions. Groarke's introduction also sent me off to read Sean O'Tuama's Repossessions which deals with a variety of Irish-language classics. I like the way in which O'Tuama describes how the Lament uses "the earth and stones of ordinary conversation," a quality which he associates with Revivial artworks like Riders to the Sea.