Bryan Cheyette Lecture

I attended an interesting lecture about Jews in Irish Literature, including "metaphorical" Jews, by Bryan Cheyette in Trinity College. I had heard about the talk as he mentioned that he was going to mention Jewtown. Bryan had a theory that my poem "Patched Up" which featured a boy called Sweeney and T.S. Elliot's Jew-hating character, also called Sweeney, were linked. I wish I was clever enough to have thought of this link but I'll take his compliment that it was probably subliminally in my head! [gallery size="medium" ids="2052,2053,2054,2055,2056"]

Mentioned in Time of Israel

There's a short mention of Jewtown in the Time of Israel this week. I was interviewed a few months ago before speaking at the launch of Representations of Jews in Irish Literature. The full article can be read here.

Jewtown amongst 4,000 books

Jewish Book Week started last night and I took the chance to get a snap of my book among the 4,000 other books featured in the festival. I also picked up a copy of the Jewish Book Week brochure and had a peek...

Launch of Representations of Jews in Irish Literature

I had a fantastic evening in Waterford IT where I launched the exhibition of Representations of Jews in Irish Literature, which is touring Ireland and beyond. This was the first time I've done a poetry event without doing a reading, as such. I was asked to give a presentation on how I came to write Jewtown. I spoke about my own Jewish background and how I started writing. I also spoke about my research and how I moved from Jewtown being an historically accurate account to a fictionalised account rooted in Cork City. The exhibition is going to be in Waterford IT for the month of February and is well worth a...

Jewtown available in Dubray Books

I didn't realise that Jewtown was available to buy in the wonderful Dubray Books until I accidentally spotted it there in their Kilkenny branch.

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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phJQFM_YQtE  

Review of Jewtown from Israel

Today I received another review of Jewtown, my first from a Jewish reviewer and my first from someone outside of Ireland. Natalie Wood of PerfectlyWritePoetry published her review on the eve of Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year, and I was very pleased with her words. She also published "Tashlich", one of the poems in the collection, which is set around this time of the year. I always find people's favourite poems in the collection interesting and I was surprised that this was Natalie's. Tashlich nearly didn't make the collection. On the 1st edit, it was one place above the cut-off point so I made a few changes to bring it up a bit. On the 2nd and 3rd edit, it still hovered above, what I called, the "relegation zone" and just before the 4th edit, I cut out the bottom half of what was the poem and changed the last line. Natalie also...

Galway Advertiser Review of Jewtown

I was delighted to hear that Jewtown got another review, this time in the Galway Advertiser by Kevin Higgins. Here is the text of the review below: JEWTOWN, SIMON Lewis’s debut poetry collection, published by Connemara's Doire Press, tells the story of Cork’s Jewish community, from their arrival fleeing pogroms in 19th century Czarist Russia, to the closure of the last synagogue at South Terrace in February 2016. Reading the final poem, ‘The Last Sabbath at South Terrace Synagogue’, it is impossible not to feel something of the stoic grief the man portrayed must have felt: “His face red with the strain,/gave in by the first Kaddish, drooping back into the pew,/knowing he was part of the furniture, ready to be moved on.” You do not have to be Jewish, or religious, to mourn the passing of such a community. Immigration always brings...

The closest I’ll get to Michael Longley

One of my dreams when I got my publishing deal for Jewtown was to see my book on the shelf of a proper bookshop. Over the weekend that dream came true. Here is my book in Books Upstairs. 20160702_144906