Barbara Derbyshire is an author of short fiction and poetry. Originally from London and now an Irish citizen, her home is in Kerry where, with more time to think, observe and remember, she has rediscovered her love of writing.
Via Gerard Beirne
When, in 1939, Patrick Kavanagh (1904–67) exchanged his Monaghan farm for literary Dublin he found, to his increasing disgust, that he had a ready-made part in what he later called the “English-bred lie” of the Irish Revival, that of the peasant poet with his roots in the soil. While, to use the terms as he defined them, he was proud of his parochial roots, he objected to the provincialism they appeared to suggest. As he pointed out in his essay “From Monaghan to the Grand Canal”, written in the year of his death, “real roots lie in our capacity for love and its abandon. The material itself has no special value”. But his increasingly outspoken rejection of those who sentimentalized poverty earned him many enemies. Unable to enlist him, literary society turned on him. In 1952 he found himself the victim of a vicious attack in the Leader, which he sued for libel and lost
Mary Lavin had a curiosity, wit and wisdom that made her essential reading , whether on the pages of the ‘New Yorker’ or in her many collections and novels
On the last day of August 1967, the author Mary Lavin boarded the SS United States with her youngest daughter, Caroline Walsh. They were headed for Manhattan; from there, they would make their way to the University of Connecticut (UConn), where Lavin had been appointed writer-in-residence. By this time, two decades into her career as a fiction writer, Lavin had published nine collections of short stories and had a contract with theNew Yorker ; she had twice received a Guggenheim fellowship and was in demand for readings and speaking engagements at several American universities.
Strands of the original haiku DNA have been cross-bred into many other cultures, spiritualities and languages since the Meiji Restoration in Japan. The Living Haiku Anthology is designed to reflect that.
Snow Falling on Chestnut Hill presents poems from each of John F Deane’s previous five Carcanet collections alongside the substantial new title sequence. The opening piece, ‘In Dedication’, sets the tone with its affirming exploration of suffering, faith and endurance:
Curlews scatter now on a winter field, their calls small alleluias of survival; I offer you poems, here where there is suffering and joy, evening, and morning, the first day.
I was born on Achill Island in 1941, at a time when emigration from Achill, and indeed, the whole western seaboard of Ireland, was the norm. It was no surprise then, that in 1960 I found myself digging holes in London, a city that was to be my home for the next 40 years.
In the course of those 40 years, I gradually worked my way up to the position of construction manager. I married a Kerry woman, had four kids and worked hard, often seven days a week. Then, out of the blue, I was offered a job as resident engineer at Castlebar Hospital. For the next ten years, I travelled all over Ireland in that capacity, basically being paid to enjoy the scenery. We eventually settled in Renagown, a townland about ten miles from Listowel.
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