As I type, the Yeats Family Collection is being sold in Sothebys in London.
I was happy to be one of the signatories to Adrian Paterson’s letter to our Arts Minister, requesting that the State do something to keep the collection – or some of it – in the country. Poetry Ireland was going over to London to bid for Yeats’s writing chair and desk. They’ve sold for much more than the estimates – so I’m not sure that they will be coming back to Ireland.
What is interesting is that the Olivia Shakespear letters failed to sell. Will any of the Irish cultural institutions now step in and buy them, supported by the State … or by someone of a philanthropic nature?
Just as well I’m broke and can’t attend auctions. I love ’em. I could do serious damage.
As it is, I got a bit carried away and leapt into action – even as the auction began. I rang Sothebys, got instructions, and emailed an absentee bid for a little silver box (photo above). It was a gift to WB from his wife, George. Guiding £100-120, it sold for £3000.
Now, about those Persian tiles that failed to sell …
Last Friday was Culture Night in Ireland – and the goodies on offer were only legion! My contribution was reading poetry in two different parts of Clare.
Firstly the Clare Poetry Collective linked up for a reading in the Library in Ennis, with contributions from the floor, including Michéal FitzGearailt – a young man from whom we hope to hear more.
Then it was zoom! off in Might Aphrodite the Blue Polo, back to North Clare and the Salmon Bookshop & Literary Centre in Ennistymon. I joined Eleanor Cummins at 7pm for round two. The shop was cosy with rugs, and lovely lights, and the audience was warm and receptive. Everyone first said what their favourite poem was. Then Eleanor and I read some poems. Thanks Ellie, for having me over and, ‘Get Well Soon, Jessie!
Saturday saw me back in the car, motoring down along the coast to Kilkee. The Clare Poetry Collective had a gig at the Che Do Bheatha Festival. Is it not the best name for a festival that you’ve ever heard?
Well, Irish people will get it.
The rain stayed away until we got into the Sweeney Library – which was fine with us. We read turn and turn about, with contributions from the audience. Thanks to Anne at the Library for delaying closing up until the last Che-themed poem was read! We really enjoyed ourselves, and it was lovely to meet up with friends from out Moyasta way. A well-deserved chowder and brown bread in Bay View; where I stayed as a tiny tot with Grannie (now changed, changed utterly!). Then it was home again to the Burren.
All in all, a stimulating weekend. And lovely to be invited to participate. Thanks, lads.
I’ll be hoping for evenings like this next week when I head to Bantry – the lovely town situated between the Beara and Sheeps Head peninsulas.
I’ve been to the West Cork Literary Festival several times as part of the audience. This time – HUZZAH!! – I’m going as one of their featured writers.
I can’t wait to be there. WCLF is one of those events that has everything: a great line-up, a wonderful bunch of volunteers, a superb location, and a fantastic hinterland to explore when you get a bit of time off. If the weather is good – well, that’s a bonus.
I will be chatting to Eibhear Walshe, and reading from This Little World, at 11.30am in the Bantry Bookshop next Wednesday, 19 July. Thanks to Margaret and her staff for having us. If any of you are down for the Festival – please come, and say Hello!
This gets to be a bit of a working holiday for me. I’m taking an extra night off so that I can take in as much of the other writers’ events as possible. Lucky me.
We’re due a write-up about the whole book thing. Life in the book lane has been pretty fast and furious this past month. And, real life has also got in the way – as it does. I think time to regroup is in order; then I promise a ‘daycent’ sit-down-with-a-cuppa post over on the Writer’s Blog.
In the meantime – enjoy the summer, my lovelies. And if you want to purchase This Little World, please visit www.doirepress.com where Lisa & John will be only too happy to sell you a copy!
Pass it on to any friends or rellies in the Limerick area:
On Tuesday 4 July 2017 I’ll be reading from This Little World at the ‘On the Nail Literary Gathering’ hosted by the Limerick Writers’ Centre.
Venue: Chez le Fab Café at Arthur’s Quay Time: 8pm
I will be reading with Terry McDonagh, and signing copies of THE BOOK, of course!!
And don’t forget … there’s an Open Mic afterwards, so bring some writing or music of your own to entertain us all. Many thanks to Dominic Taylor for the invitation. Chuffed to have been asked to do the gig.
The house elves in Doire Press and Ballyvaughan have been busy: organising wine, glasses, a lectern and – in my case – sorting out what to wear, Darlings!
It’s been an amazing few months: chock-full of poet-type angst, comradeship at Annaghmakerrig, excitement at being chosen by Doire Press, worry that I wouldn’t make the grade, delight in signing the contract. It was thrilling to see the proofs appear on the desktop; even more so to tear open the envelope and hold the first copy of my debut collection in my hands.
So now is the time to celebrate with Lisa and John from Doire Press, and with my family and kind, loyal friends. I’m extremely grateful to writer & poet Celeste Augé for launching This Little World into the wider world. Apart from the speeches, there will be wine, and a bit of poeting. Mostly though, PARRRTAAAAY!!!
If you happen to be in Galway on Saturday, don’t just stand there peeking through the window, or standing in the doorway. Come in and join us!
Last weekend was spent in the company of dear friends in London.
The timing was deliberate: Una & Mairead treated me to a visit to the Vanessa Bell exhibition.
I’ve a long lasting fascination with the Bloomsbury set. I’ve played Vita Sackville -West & Virginia Woolf, so I’ve read a lot written by and about them. But I’ve always had an affection for Vanessa – the other Stephen girl.
So it was wonderful to head to Dulwich on a sunny April day and take in what is the most comprehensive solo exhibition of her work since her death in 1961.
The range of work is wonderful: from still lives to landscapes; abstract to portraits.
Also included are designs she worked on with Duncan Grant, family photos, and letters – such as the one above written to Roger Fry in 1914.
And – of particular interest to this fan of the Two Vs – the dust jackets designed for the Hogarth Press:
The exhibition runs until 4 June. The Dulwich Gallery is set in lovely leafy grounds, with outdoor seating and great coffee. You could spend a day away from the city mayhem in an oasis of flowering calm, and visit Vanessa at the same time.
There are so many troubles in the world and so many loud voices of state trying to muffle, or murder, legitimate protest.
In parts of eastern Europe, the Right has been gaining steadily; especially in Hungary. This is disturbing, and also sad when we consider that the permitted movement of other nationalities through Hungary helped to contribute to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now Orban’s Hungary is shutting down dissent, borders, and institutions dedicated to independent thinking.
The EU must act decisively. NOW.
I’m glad to be a signatory of this letter of protest along with many others: