Freddie Rosehill, RIP

I was sad to hear of the death of Freddie Rosehill, who some would have described as the "last man standing" when the synagogue in South Terrace closed earlier in the year. Freddie will be remembered fondly by all of the Cork Jewish Community as well as the rest of the Jewish Community in Ireland. It could well be argued that the synagogue would have closed down many years ago had it not been for his passion to keep the doors of the synagogue open and the community alive. The first time I met Freddie was on the Friday night before the synagogue closed when I went down to Cork to pay my respects. The last poem in my collection was inspired by this meeting. I spent the whole service watching him. I was looking for some sort of emotion from him throughout but he stayed stoic throughout. I put it down to a feeling of resignation but, in reality, it...

In the Window of Waterstones

Browsing my Instagram feed, I spotted Kerrie O'Brien's post with a photo of her collection Illuminate in the window of Waterstones in Cork. I was delighted to see my own book on the bottom right of the display. Thanks for taking the photo, Kerrie, and I hope you don't mind me stealing it! spot-jewtown

Next Reading: Irish Jewish Museum

I'm looking forward to my next reading in the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin. This will be my second time reading in this venue and my first since Jewtown was published. Last time I read, it was part of a celebration of Jewish Cork. It was a very interesting day where we watched video footage of Gerald Goldberg from an RTE programme in the 1980s and we also listened to some people who grew up in Cork, and their tales of childhood. This time, the theme of the day is music and poetry. I'll be joined by singer and poet Judith Mok. There should be music too and there is promise of a tribute to Leonard Cohen, which will be nice. I'm going to be reading some poems I don't usually read from Jewtown and will chat about some of the backgrounds to the poems.

The Pile

Here's my latest pile of books sitting on my bedside. As usual I'm in the middle of all of these except for David Marcus' novel, A Land Not Theirs, which I should probably have read already. I'm really pleased to have William Wall's Mathematics there on the top. When I started writing poetry, I was intrigued by the mathematics of it and many of my first efforts are rigidly logical...albeit not very good! I'm looking forward to seeing how it's done properly. I'm already through Martina Evans' book and I'm very much enjoying it. I love her style. I'm still getting through my Northern Irish poets in their anthology. I keep stopping after each poet for ages but I'll eventually get there. Steven Sexton is my highlight so far. I also have my latest purchase, A Tug of Blue, awaiting its time to be read.

A Tug of Blue Launch

I was delighted to attend Eleanor Hooker's launch of her second collection, A Tug of Blue. Eleanor read a number of poems from the book. It was also very nice to meet some familiar faces in the packed room. [gallery columns="4" size="medium" ids="1796,1797,1800,1801"]

Radiohead, the Leaving Cert, and Remembering my Mother

My blog is usually dedicated to poetry in the written and, maybe, spoken form but now that Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature, I'll divert just once to the poetry of Radiohead. A few weeks ago, it was announced that they were to play a concert on 20th June 2017. It brought me back 20 years to 1997, my Leaving Cert year. Radiohead were playing the RDS on the 21st June. I had seen them less than a year before in Galway but I really wanted to go. Before I even saw the timetable, I already knew that my last subject, Hebrew, would be taking place after the gig. To further inconvenience me, there was also a Jewish festival, Shavuot, happening around the first couple of days of the Leaving Cert, which meant that all Jewish students were requested to sit a separate English and Maths examination near the end of the Leaving Cert...

Jews in Irish Literature

I was interested to see that the new issue of Books Ireland, which features the beautiful cover of Eleanor Hooker's new poetry collection, also features an article about Jews in Irish Literature. This article is inspired by Ruth Gilligan's wonderful novel, Nine Folds a Paper Swan, which I'd highly recommend. I'll be buying the journal as soon as I can to see what "Jewish" literature will be featured. I imagine it will be heavy on Ulysses and might even claim that this might be the first ever Irish Jewish piece of literature. Leopold Bloom is arguably Ireland's most famous Jewish person, despite being fictional. In my research of Jewtown, I found some Irish Jewish writers who wrote in the late 19th century / early 20th century before Joyce's Masterpiece, including my own great grandmother, who was a playwright. Her play, Til we meet again, was...

Stinging Fly

I am delighted to have my poem "I was your Golem" published in the Stinging Fly. I won't lie; this is a journal that I've been obsessed over getting into since I first read it a number of years ago. The poem is based on the Jewish Folk Tale of the Prague Golem and I wrote the first draft of it a few years ago after visiting Prague. It tells the story of a woman in a bad relationship where she plays the part of the Golem. I'm very grateful to Mia Gallagher for all her help in getting it to the page in the form it is now and really pleased with how it looks. I'm also delighted to be in the same company as other poets that I admire and am enjoying reading their...

Lots of Launches

November the 8th is going to be a busy night for book launches. A total of 5 Irish poets will be launching their new collections that evening. Adam Wyeth, Jean O'Brien and Patrick Chapman will be launching their respective books in Books Upstairs at 6:30pm. Here are the lovely covers: [gallery ids="1770,1771,1772"] Meanwhile in the Teachers' Club on the north side of the city, Catherine Ann Cullen and Eleanor Hooker will be launching their books from Dedalus. This event will be starting at 7pm. I'm hoping to get to Dublin that evening and I'm going to try and see at least one of the events. Choosing which one may rely on the toss of a coin or the Dublin Public Transport...

Videos from UCD

I was recently alerted to the fact that there are a number of videos on YouTube from the UCD Poetry Archive Collection and I have 8 videos on their YouTube page. All 8 poems are from Jewtown and you can find them on the Video page of this web site. Below is one example of a poem I read there, The Zoo.