Richard Murphy’s publishing life began in the 1950s and culminated in his collected poems in 2013. His poetry has its feet firmly in the last century, while the late poems and prose projects, including his marvellous memoir The Kick, firmly establishes him in this one.
We’re the world’s friendliest people ‑ though don’t mention the Brits. We’re great at the ould writing, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the jar. God comes second only to Ireland, and sometimes first. And of course we’re always up for a scrap. Yes, yes, yes … but what are we really like?
I Wanna Be Yours, by John Cooper Clarke, Picador, £20, 480 pp, ISBN: 978-1509896103 The Sir George Robey. London. 1995. A scruff gathering of fans stands before a black line of a man motor-mouthing into a microphone. Much material is familiar – this is like a verbal greatest hits. There’s the one about the haiku: […]
The first duty of the artist is to be lucky. To be there like the photographer, at the right time and with the right equipment to capture what is going on. Paula Meehan’s childhood and youth ran parallel to developments in society which she was particularly well-placed to notice and record.
In Shakespeare, the word ‘honour’, with its derivatives and variants, occurs more than 900 times. Among abstract nouns only ‘love’ and ‘time’ are used more often. Honour imposes heavy responsibilities both on those who feel they are endowed with it, and on those who aspire to it.
Derek Mahon is not a poet to calm or ease the mind. He keeps us alert, thinking, in flux. It is hard to accept that ‘Washing Up’ will be his last word. Perhaps this is the greatest gift, that this posthumous volume shows a talent so utterly undiminished, so equal to the challenge of contemporary life.