Contemplating the Muse

No 13

Linda Ibbotson

Cork International Poetry Festival 2017

“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who transform a yellow spot into sun” ― Pablo Picasso

For me, Spring arrives with the welcoming blooms of daffodils (especially the deliciously scented Narcissus Poeticus) and the bounteous feast of the invigorating Cork International Poetry Festival. Flagging winter spirits were swiftly rejuvenated as the festival progressed from  14th – 18th February.

Notorious for its wide range of events the festival hosted a plethora of award winning International and Irish writers such as Nikola Madzirov, Thomas McCarthy, Carolyn Forche. Maram al-Masri, Theo Dorgan, Martina Evans, Brian Turner, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Lo Kwa Mei-en etc and included five days of poetry readings and discussion, masterclass workshops, manuscript makeover with James Harpur, panel discussions, readings and journal presentation; The Enchanting Verses Literary Review and The Well Review, The Griffin Trust Poetry event, Gregory O’Donoghue poetry prize, Fool for Poetry chapbook launch, New Irish Voices chapbooks and Homage to John Montague event which were held mainly in the Cork City Library and Cork Arts Theatre thanks to the Munster Literature Centre and the enthusiasm and hard work of director Patrick Cotter and his team.

Here are highlights from the events I attended. For more detailed information about all the poets, other events and festival refer to the Munster Literature Centre website. Link below.

 

Wednesday heralded the launch of Sonnet Mondal’s  prestigious The Enchanting Verses Literary Review  along with Patrick Cotter’s warm introduction at Cork City Library. This was a special Irish Edition edited by Patrick with the late John Montague as Enchanting Poet and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin  as Editors Choice.  Here also, a welcoming greeting to Sonnet from Paul Casey; O bheal ( Cork’s weekly poetry event.) Included in the anthology are many eminent award winning poets such as James Harpur, Martina Evans, Peter Sirr, Vona Groarke etc.

Poets reading at Cork City Library for the launch of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review are; clockwise- Mary Noonan, Matthew Sweeney, Afric McGlinchey, Eleanor Hooker, Gerry Murphy, Katie Donovan, Paul Casey, Eileen Sheehan, John W Sexton and Gerard Smythe. ( click on images for names)

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A full to overflowing Cork Arts Theatre shows the necessity of pre-booking tickets.

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Nikola Madzirov was born in 1973 in Yugoslavia, in what is now Macedonia and is the author of several books including Relocated Stone (2007) which received the
Hubert Burda European Award.
 He also won the Miladinov Brothers Award at the Struga poetry Evenings and was granted the International Writing Program (IWP) fellowship at the University of Iowa, the DAAD fellowship in Berlin, and the Marguerite Yourcenar fellowship in France. Madzirov’s work has been translated into 40 languages.

 

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Paddy Bushe is a poet, editor and translator, and a member of Aosdána. He has published ten collections of poetry, eight in English and two in Irish, as well as four books of translations. 

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Steven Heighton is a poet and fiction writer, widely published internationally as well as a reviewer for the New York Times Book Review.  His novel Afterlands (Penguin, 2007) was cited on “best of year” lists in ten publications in the UK, the USA, and Canada where he lives.

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Paula Meehan ( Ireland’s former Professor of Poetry) reading the poetry of Haken Sandell who was unable to be present. Ulkreeka S. Gernes (born in Sweden to Danish parents has published eleven collections of poetry since her first at the age of eighteen) here, reading one of Haken’s poems in Swedish. Haken was born in Sweden and has lived in Denmark, Ireland and Norway and is a translator and critic, and a co-founder of the artistic movement known as Retrogardismand has received several major Swedish awards for his poetry and essays.

 

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Brian Turner is the author of two poetry collections. Here, bullet which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection, the 2006 PEN Center USA “Best in the West”award, and the 2007 Poets Prize, among others; and Phantom Noise, which was shortlisted for the 2010 T.S. Eliot Prize in Poetry. 

 

 

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Introduced by Paul Casey at Cork City Library, readings by Eleanor Hooker and Eileen Sheehan.

Eleanor Hooker lives in Co.Tipperary and has published two poetry collections with Dedalus. A Tug of Blue was published in October 2016. Her poems have been published in literary journals, including: Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, PN Review, Agenda, The Stinging Fly and in The Irish Times and Irish Examiner.She is currently working on a novel.

Eileen Sheehan  lives in Co. Kerry. Anthology publications include Best Loved Poems: Favourite Poems from the Southof Ireland (Ed. Gabriel Fitzmaurice / Curragh Press); The Poetry of Sex (Ed. Sophie Hannah / Penguin); The Watchful Heart: A New Generation of Irish Poets (Ed. Joan McBreen / Salmon), and TEXT: A Transition Year English Reader (Ed. Niall MacMonagle / The Celtic Press). Her work is featured on Poetry International Web. Her third collection, The Narrow Way of Souls, is forthcoming.

 

 

kerrieKerrie O’ Brien is a poet from Dublin. Her debut collection Illuminate was published by Salmon Poetry in October 2016 and made possible by a literature bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland. She has received multiple awards for her poetry and is currently writing her first novel. She is the editor of Looking at the Stars, an anthology of Irish writing which raised over €21,000 for the Dublin Simon Community.

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Sonnet Mondal writes from Kolkata and is the founder of The Enchanting Verses Literary Review He has read at Struga Poetry Evenings, 2014, Uskudar International Poetry Festival, Istanbul, 2015, International Poetry Festival of Granada, Nicaragua, 2016 and Ars Poetica International Poetry Festival, Slovakia, 2016. He has been a featured writer at IWP, University of IOWA and his latest works have appeared in The Mcneese Review, Sheepshead Review, The Fieldstone Review, Indian Literature (Sahitya Academi) and Two Thirds North.

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Wonderful to meet again official photographer John Minihan, infamous for his portraits in the world of the arts eg;- Samuel Beckett, Princess Diana, Yves Saint Laurent, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol, Cecil Beaton etc and his photo documentation taken over forty years of the small town of Athy where he was raised until the age of eight.

Maram al-Masri and Theo Dorgan. An enthralling video Faces preceded the reading. Maram is from Syria, and is now settled in Paris. She studied English Literature at Damascus University before starting publishing her poetry in Arab magazines in the 1970s.Today she is considered one of the most renowned and captivating feminine voices of her generation. Thus far her work has been translated into eight languages. She has numerous accolades and awards. Barefoot Souls (Arc 2015) has been translated into English by Theo Dorgan.

 

Theo Dorgan was born in Cork. He is a poet, novelist, non-fiction prose writer, editor, translator, broadcaster, librettist and documentary scriptwriter. He has published five books of poetry. His most recent collections are Greek (Dedalus 2012) and Nine Bright Shiners (Dedalus 2014)  He is a member of Aosdána.

Thomas McCarthy was born in Co Waterford in 1954. He is the author of several collections of poetry, as well as two novels and a collection of essays and diaries. He has wonnumerous awards. He lives in Cork. His most recent collection is Pandemonium from Carcanet (2016) He is a member of Aosdána.

 

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Brenda Shaughnessy  (left) is the author of Our Andromeda (one of the New York
Times’ 100 Notable Nooks of 2013, Human Dark with Sugar, Interior with Joy and most recently, So Much Synth. She has been a Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and is currently
associate professor of English and creative writing at Rutgers University.She lives in Verona, New Jersey, with her family.
Natalie Diaz is a Mojave American poet, language activist, and educator.She is the author of the poetry collection When My Brother Was an Aztec (2012). Her honors and awards include the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, the Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf, the Narrative Poetry Prize and a Lannan Literary
Fellowship.

 

 

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Hardworking Munster Literature Centre ladies! (Left to right)  Anne Kennedy,  Roisin Kelly and Emily Davis-Fletcher.

Griffin Trust Poetry event with Marek Kazmierski introducing the poets (clockwise) Ulkrikka S. Gernes, Carolyn Forche, Yusef Komunyakaa, Jo Shapcott, (Theo Dorgan chatting to Scott Griffin,) Mark Doty and Karen Solie. Also reading was Michael Symmons Roberts.

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In addition, the digital version of the beautiful and ornate Great Book of Ireland a gallery and anthology of modern Irish art and poetry, a project which began in 1989 was on display in the Cork City Library.

A diverse array of poetic voices, I am certain, still echo in the eaves as redolent and as inspiring as the heady fragrance of the Narcissus Poeticus, poetry and camaraderie enlightening and “transforming a yellow spot into sun.”  It is heartwarming to share this event by perusing the photographs and a pleasure to recollect cherished moments.

Finally,  I hope you enjoy a taste of this poetic feast and look forward to seeing some of you at Cork International Poetry Festival 2018. A huge thanks and heartfelt appreciation to Patrick Cotter and Munster Literature Centre for this wonderful poetry festival.

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Links

https://www.munsterlit.ie/

http://www.corkpoetryfest.net/programme_2017.html

http://www.theenchantingverses.org/poetry-from-ireland-issue-xxiv-december-2016.html

Photographs- Linda Ibbotson

 

 

 

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Contemplating the Muse

No 12

Linda Ibbotson

   Ó Bhéal’s 4th Winter Warmer festival

25th and 26th November 2016

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As the winter season grows ever colder, the end of November finds the Emerald Isle wrapped in a blanket of frost and fog.

At  Ó Bhéal’s 4th Winter Warmer festival we are warmly wrapped in a blanket of words as 22+ poets from a number of continents congregate at Cork’s Kino with both anticipation and appreciation for the festival organised by Paul Casey,  founder and director of  Ó Bhéal and his supportive team.

Here is a selection of my photographs from the events I attended along with information from Ó Bhéal’s website. More details on the poets in the festival see Ó Bhéal’s Winter Warmer Festival link at the end of this article.

Friday evening was a heartwarming start to the weekend with :- Seán Dennehy, Ross Donlon, Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Jessica Traynor, John Fitzgerald, Paula Cunningham, Kerrie O’Brien, Jos Smith, Martín Veiga and Emily Cullen

 

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Jessica Traynor

Jessica Traynor’s  debut poetry collection Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press, 2014), was nominated for the 2015 Strong/Shine Award amongst other numerous accolades and awards including the recipient of the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary in 2014, named Hennessy New Irish Writer of the Year in 2013 and won the 2011 Listowel Poetry Prize. She is Literary Manager of the Abbey Theatre.

Main picture-A very warm welcome from Paul Casey as he opens the festival on Friday evening. Top left-Billy Ramsell introducing some of the poets.

Saturday afternoon’s programme highlighted a selection of poetry films  which included the winner of the 2016 Ó Bhéal Poetry-Film competition, poetry in Performance Art with Francesca Castellano and a closed-mic set for ten local poets.

Chapbook launch:- Roisín Kelly Rapture, Paul McMahon Bourdon  both from Southword Editions: New Irish Voices series and Eibhlís Carcione. 

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Emily Cullen

Emily Cullen is a Galway-based poet, scholar and harper. She is the author of two collections of poetry and  was selected for Poetry Ireland’s Introductions Series in 2004. has performed internationally with a variety of music ensembles including Galvia, The Belfast Harp Orchestra, Ceoltóirí Maghlacha and The Cullen Harpers (with her three sisters). She has also recorded on a number of albums, such as the Grammy award-winning Tribute to the Celtic Harp with The Belfast Harp Orchestra and The Chieftains, and she gives recitals, workshops and lectures throughout Europe, North America and Australia

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Tara Bergin

Tara Bergin’s first collection of poems, This is Yarrow, was published by Carcanet in 2013. It was awarded the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize, the Shine/Strong Award for best first collection by an Irish author and was shortlisted for the Poetry Now Award. She is a PBS Next Generation Poet.

Wonderful to hear such an eclectic mix of poetic voices,  diverse styles and genres, especially poetry in translation as poets gathered from different countries and cultures including Germany, USA, Spain and Australia throughout the weekend.

Saturday evening’s wonderful programme with poets:-

John Ennis, Billy Mills, Gerry Hanberry, Josep Lluís Aguiló, Catherine Walsh, Michael Augustin, Tara Bergin, Raina J. León and Elaine Feeney, 

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Jos Smith

Jos Smith is a writer, editor and lecturer in contemporary literature based in Norwich.He is also the author of a critical study of the New Nature Writing and teaches and writes quite broadly on landscape and place in post-war British and Irish literature.

 

Annemarie Ní Churreáin has been awarded literary fellowships by Akademie Schloss Solitude (Germany), Jack Kerouac House (Orlando) and Hawthornden Castle (Edinburgh). In 2016, Annemarie was awarded a Next Generation Artists Award by the Arts Council.

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Evening Echo

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Michael Augustin

Michael works as a writer and broadcaster with Radio Bremen and directs the international literature festival Poetry on the Road. He writes poetry, mini drama and short prose and his collages and drawings have appeared in magazines worldwide.He studied Anglo-Irish Literature and Folklore at University College Dublin and the University of Kiel.

Mulled wine and the aroma of cloves sweetens the poetic air thanks to the expertise of Judenauld Marcus Penders and Patricia Walsh. A vast array of poetry books for sale thanks to Rosie O’ Reagan assisted here by Alexander Edgar.

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Elaine Feeney

Elaine Feeney won the Cúirt Poetry Prize, North Beach Nights’ Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for The Fish Poetry Prize, amongst others. Her work has been widely published, translated and anthologised. In 2016 she was commissioned to write the narrative to a feature stage production by Irish Choreographer, Liz Roche and Film Director, Mary Wycherley, entitled Wrong Headed. It premiered to excellent review at the 2016 Dublin Fringe Festival..

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Kerrie O’ Brien

Kerrie O’ Brien a poet from Dublin launched her debut collection Illuminate (Salmon Poetry) in October 2016. She received a literature bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland. She is the editor of Looking at the Stars, an anthology of Irish writing which aims to raise €15,000 for the Dublin Simon Community.

 

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Slideshow with John Fitzgerald ( b and w ) and Seán Dennehy ( color )

John won the 2014 Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Prize and was shortlisted for the 2015 Hennessy New Irish Writing Award.His career as a professional librarian commenced in Trinity College Dublin Library and he has been the University Librarian at University College Cork since 1996.

Sean is a Clare poet living and working in Dublin. In 2012 he won the All Ireland Poetry Slam in Cork. Though focusing on performance and the spoken word his first collection in print, No Poetry, was published in 2013 by QS Press.

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Gerry Hanberry

Award winning Irish poet, writer, musician and teacher  Gerry Hanberry has published four collections of poetry and biography of the Wilde family, More Lives Than One, The Remarkable Wilde Family Through The Generations ( The Collins Press 2011)  Gerard teaches English at St Enda’s College, Salthill and  creative writing on the BA Connect course at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

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Raina J. Leon

Raina J. León is a member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective. She has received numerous fellowships and residencies and is an associate Professor of Education at Saint Mary’s College of California, also is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of LatinX arts.

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Martin Veiga

Martin Veiga is a Cork-based Galician poet and academic. He is a lecturer in Hispanic Studies at University College Cork, where he is also the director of the Irish Centre for Galician Studies.

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Catherine Walsh

Catherine Walsh currently lives in Limerick and is author of many poetry books as well as featured in numerous anthologies including the Anthology of Twentieth-Century British & Irish Poetry (Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, 2001),.  She co-edits hardPressed Poetry with Billy Mills. She was Holloway Lecturer on the Practice of Poetry at the University of California, Berkeley for 2012/13 and was a research fellow with the Digital Humanities cluster at An Foras Feasa, Maynooth University during 2014/2015.

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Kenneth O’Flynn. Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork

 Kenneth O’Flynn is a great supporter of Ó Bhéal and the arts in Cork

Paula Cunningham, Josep Lluís Aguiló and Billy Mills

Paula Cunningham lives in Belfast.  Her books, A Dog called Chance (1999) and Heimlich’s Manoeuvre (2013), are both from Smith/Doorstop. The latter was shortlisted for the Fenton-Aldeburgh, Seamus Heaney Centre, and Strong Shine First Collection Prizes.

Josep Lluís Aguiló (top right) was born in Manacor, Mallorca and has written a number of poetry collections particularly in the Catalan language where he has won a several awards. Llunari (Lunarium), now published by Arc Publications, was the winner of the Prize Jocs Florals de Barcelona and Josep Lluís Aguiló was appointed Poet Laureate of the City of Barcelona during the period 2008-2009.

Billy Mills, author of several poetry collections. He is the founder and co-editor (with Catherine Walsh) of hardPressed Poetry and the Journal. Since 2007, he has been a regular contributor to the Guardian Books site, including the popular Poster Poems series.

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Michelle Delea

John Ennis ( left )is author of nineteen books of poetry. He retired in 2009 as Head of the School of Humanities at Waterford Institute of Technology, where he was also Chair of the Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies.

Ross Donlan  has read his poems in Eastern & Western Europe & is widely published both at home & in Ireland. Winner of international poetry competitions & spoken word events, a sequence from his first book, The Blue Dressing Gown, has been produced for national radio in Australia.

 

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Paul Casey with the final few words between heartfelt applause as the exhilarating and much celebrated festival sadly draws to a close along with farewell hugs from both new and reacquainted friends.

Poetry, akin to wine tasting is a skill, speaks to the senses and is a shared experience. We all have a unique palate with preferences. Whether we personally identify with the traditional, lyrical or the more contemporary style of poetry etc, there is no doubt that words are very much alive, piquant, immensely powerful, even visionary and play a significant and enriching role in all our lives.  “Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful. – Rita Dove”

I hope you enjoyed the photos, a taste of the increasingly vibrant Cork poetry scene and I look forward your company in my next poetic adventure.

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Photographs all my own with the exception of Chapbook launch:- Roisín Kelly Rapture, Paul McMahon Bourdon  both from Southword Editions: New Irish Voices series with kind permission from The Munster Literature Centre

Links to websites

http://www.obheal.ie/blog/

http://www.obheal.ie/blog/winter-warmer-festival-2016/

http://munsterlit.ie/Bookstore%20Other%20Titles.html

https://gerardhanberry.com/

https://jessicatraynor.wordpress.com/

https://www.theguardian.com/profile/billymills

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Contemplating the Muse

No 11

Linda Ibbotson

Cork Fleischmann Symphony Orchestra

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” Victor Hugo.

Etymology – The word music derives from Greek μουσική (mousike; “art of the Muses”) It is constantly audible in our daily lives in some form if we quieten our minds for a moment to listen.

 

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My ears have an insatiable appetite for music and on Saturday May 7th 2016 they led me to the salubrious venue, Aula Maxima (Great Hall), University College Cork built in 1849. It was the Inaugural Concert of the Cork Fleishmann Symphony Orchestra where multi award winning Irish violinist Mairead Hickey joined the orchestra and leader, first violinist Nuala Ni Chanainn in performing under the baton of renowned violinist and conductor Keith Pascoe. A compelling and engaging performance from the first ‘draw of the bow’ to the final note of which I am certain still resonates in the eaves.

In 1934 Professor Aloys Fleishmann, ( 1910-1992)  born in Munich to Irish-based parents composer, conductor, musicologist of the UCC Music Department, founded the orchestra and performed with it till his retirement in 1980. He was an enthusiastic forerunner in establishing music in education and in the community throughout Ireland and received many honors and accolades including an honorary doctorate of music from Trinity College, Dublin. In 1932 he had studied composition, conducting and musicology at the Academy of Music and University of Munich. It is wonderful that the orchestra proudly continues to embrace his name.

Programme:-

Ludwig Van Beethoven ( 1770-1827) Overture to Egmont Op.84

Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Violin Concerto Op.64 Mairead Hickey

Georges Bizet (1838-1875) Symphony in C

 

The next concert is on November 16th 2016, 8pm Cork City Hall where Tasmin Little will be joining the orchestra.

Programme:-

 Franz Schubert Symphony No 9 in C Major  “The Great”

Variations on the name of Fleishmann. Ian Wilson

Tasmin Little who will perform the four movements of Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy,

 

 

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Mairead Hickey

Irish violinist Mairead Hickey started playing violin at the tender age of 3 and  has won several awards  including Irish National Concert Hall Young Musician of the Year 2011-2012. She studied at CIT Cork, Conservatoire de Nantes, France and now as a Young Soloist at Kronburg Academy. She regularly performs throughout Ireland, ie in the West Cork Chamber Music Festival and her recent solo performance in Carnigie Hall, New York was described by the ‘New York Epoch Times’ as “magical, penetrating to the heart and soul of the music.” Mairead is the co-founder and Artistic Director of the Ortus Chamber Music Festival which took place for the first time in February 2016.  More details about Mairead can be found on the link to her website below.

 

 

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Keith Pascoe

Keith Pascoe, conductor, has worked with distinguished soloists such as Nigel Kennedy, Tasmin Little, Julian Lloyd Webber and Barry Douglas.His professional career began in 1981 as founder member and leader of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Since then he has been sub-leader of the London Philharmonic, assistant director of the Academy of Saint- Martin- in-the- Fields with whom he appeared as soloist, the Britten Quartet amongst other positions such as lecturer in chamber music at the Dublin Institute of Technology, external examiner at the Royal Acadamy of Music, London and has published many articles as well as fulfilling a busy performance schedule. More about Keith in the links below.

 

 

 

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Keith Pascoe

 

I hope you enjoyed the photographs and I want to take the opportunity of wishing the orchestra every success in the future.

I look forward to you joining me next time.

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Photography-Linda Ibbotson

Links:-

http://corkfleischmannsymphonyorchestra.ie/

http://corkfleischmannsymphonyorchestra.ie/cfso/forthcoming_concert.html

http://standpoint.ie/Mairead/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloys_Fleischmann

http://corkfleischmannsymphonyorchestra.ie/cfso/keith_pascoe.html

 

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Contemplating the Muse

No. 10

Linda Ibbotson

Chatsworth House

To sit in the shade all day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment” Jane Austen

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Close your eyes for a moment and imagine gently strolling alongside the Derwent river one hot June afternoon  in the verdant landscape, dreaming of Mr Darcy. This I am sure is what Jane Austen did when she penned her novel ‘Pride and Prejudice.’ The location: ‘Pemberley’ or should I say Chatsworth House and Estate, Derbyshire, UK and home of the Cavendish family-Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, where it is thought she based her novel. She was so impressed with Chatsworth and its beauty whilst residing in Bakewell, a short distance away.

Having written the novel in 1797, which was initially entitled ‘First Impressions’ it was sent by her father to London bookseller Thomas Cadell  who rejected it for publication. Jane significantly revised it in 1811 and it was thankfully published in 1813 under its new title. She sold the copyright of the novel to Thomas Egerton of Whitehall in exchange for £110. It posed the question: What if the novel had been accepted and published in its earlier version; or if Jane had lost heart and completely abandoned her novel? Clearly,  we would not have the literary masterpiece  we are all so familiar with and regard with adoration!

Below are photographs of my recent visit to Chatsworth including some of the locations used in the 2005 film ‘Pride and Prejudice’ with Keira Knightly starring as Elizabeth Bennet and Matthew Macfadyen as Fitzwilliam Darcy. I do hope you enjoy accompanying me on my tour of this magnificent home of the current 12th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Not only is it a stately home but a home that feels ‘lived in’ and that clearly has been lovingly restored largely due to the perseverance and acumen of the 11th Duke and his wife Deborah Mitford who moved into the house in 1959. The love of ‘the arts’ of both Deborah and the current Duke and Duchess, particularly contemporary art is represented throughout the house and gardens.  It is also well known for its wealth of sculptures, of Renaissance and Baroque art, including Rembrandt’s  painting ‘King Uzziah’ displayed and surrounded by landscape drawings by the Dutch master, in a small gallery known as the Old Master drawings cabinet.

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The Emperor Fountain

The magnificent Emperor fountain which was improved with Paxton’s engineering skills. This was to welcome the Czar of Russia in 1844,Sadly the the Czar never visited Chatsworth, but the new fountain was still named after him. It is on record as having reached the height of 90m (300ft). .

The 4th Duke engaged Lancelot ‘Capability Brown’ ( 1716-1783) to change the mains views in and out of the house and to change the approach thus expanding and beautifying the park which now covers 400 hectares..

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The Painted Hallway

The magnificent Painted Hallway and the grand staircase and ceiling of the Painted Hall where Lizzie and the Gardiners start their tour of Pemberley. Painting by Louis Laguerre1663-1721 and depict scenes from the life of Julius Caesar.

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The Great Chamber ceiling depicts the ‘Triumph of the Virtues over the Vices’ painted by Antonio Verrio. Atropos (one of the three fates) is shown cutting the thread of life with her ‘abhorred shears’ Verrio, who was quarrelsome with the Duke’s first housekeeper choose to paint this character as the servant Mrs Hackett!

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The focal point of the altarpiece in the Chapel is the oil painting of’The Incredulity of st Thomas’ by Antonio Verno 1639-1707

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One of the bedrooms in the State Apartments

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Here is the location of one of the touching scenes in the 2005 movie.

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State Music Room housing the infamous Trompe l’oeil painting hanging on a door—— Jan der Vaardt 1723

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Moi, playing Bach on the Steinway in the Ante-Library

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The Library which is often used by the family

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The Sculpture Gallery

 Here sits a bust of Darcy made especially for a very moving scene in the 2005 movie. Sadly, in my haste to take afternoon tea in the carriage house I missed it which  calls for another visit for certain.

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Chapel Corridor, wall to wall masterpieces of art including Jacobo Tintoretto (1519-1594), Salvatore Rosa (1615-1673 ) and Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669) and sculpture including the fragment of a colossal foot from an Acrolithic statue dating back to the first century and two Egyptian granite statues of Sekhnet from the temple of Mut at Karnuk carved in the 18th Dynasty- ) 1386 1349 BC) which I forgot to photograph!

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Anyone for dinner! The magnificent dining room!

Linda in Painted Hall

I may not be Elizabeth Bennet but I could get used to this lifestyle!

Much more could be written here about Chatsworth House and Estate:- The society Mitford sisters, the connection with the Kennedy family and Fred Astaire’s sister, Lismore Castle, Ireland etc so I have added some links on those topics.

One aspect that caught my attention was that there was a warm and enticing atmosphere, along with a guide in every room to give information and assistance where necessary and chairs to luxuriate in for a few moments or longer if required, strategically placed throughout. In addition, along with wheelchairs and a lift in the house there are small vehicles/ buggies in the grounds for transportation especially helpful for those in need.

My personal fascination is for the arts, architecture and ambiance that touched me again as it did when I was a child and spent time in this magnificence. I distinctly remember there were deer in the park then, now there are sheep and all allowed to freely roam, just as Jane Austen did

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Travelling back to the Emerald Isle feeling refreshed. Thank you for keeping me company and see you next time.

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Links:-

.http://www.chatsworth.org/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yj__ZLXrXk

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deborah_Cavendish,_Duchess_of_Devonshire

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZqOhS2M-DU

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Contemplating the Muse

No 9. 

Linda Ibbotson

Cork International Poetry Festival 2016

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Ernest Hemingway.

Having reminisced in my previous blog article upon my idyllic experiences of the Abroad Writers Conference held in Lismore Castle 2013 I have now recently and blissfully enjoyed the poetic events at the Cork International Poetry Festival   10 – 13 February 2016.

I felt as if in a poetic retreat,  four days of creative stimulation, inspiration and relaxation held mainly in the Cork City Library and Cork Arts Theatre thanks to the Munster Literature Centre and director Patrick Cotter along with his team, especially Jennifer Matthews. Here a few photos from the events I attended.

Main photo: Patrick Cotter opening the festival with the Irish Examiner Tuesday Poem event at the Farmgate Cafe, English Market. Inserts: Jennifer Matthews, Louis Mulcahy and Linda Ibbotson reading their poems published in the Irish Examiner. Other readers included Roisin Kelly, Gerard Smyth and Madelaine MacNamara.

 

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An extensive programme of poetry readings included poets from around the globe such as Tomica Bajsic-Croatia, Paisley Rekdal-USA Bronwyn Lea-.Australia, David O’Meara-Canada to name but a few. Here, a plethora of poets are gathered together at the Cork Arts Theatre for readings and events along with visitors, some of whom participated in Masterclasses given by Deryn Rees-Jones and Gerard Smyth  and the Manuscript Makeover by James Harpur.

Other readings and events included widely known and well respected poets such as Moya Canon, Thomas McCarthy, Matthew Sweeney, Ailbhe Darcy, Kyle Dargan,  Thomas Lynch, Vona Groarke, Michael Cody etc the list is endless…….

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Doireann Ni Ghriofa reading at the Cork Arts Theatre.

In addition to the readings and events which included The Penny Dreadful journal showcase, The Irish Examiner Tuesday Poem readings there were two book launches. Paul Casey Virtual Tides  and Afric McGlinchey Ghost of the Fisher Cat, both published by Salmon Poetry.

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Paul Casey reading at the launch of his new collection as mentioned above. Paul is the organizer of O bheal, Cork’s weekly poetry event.

 

Further events were the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize- Winner- Leila Chatti, the Prebooked Readings and Fool for Poetry Launch where the two winners of the chapbook prize; Tania Hershman and Victor Tapner  gave readings and IMRAM, a music and bi-lingual event that explored the landscapes,history and people of Cork. Poets Louis De Paor and Liam O’Muirthile read in Irish and Thomas McCarthy in English accompanied by guitarist Enda Reilly with artist Margaret Lonergan creating on screen projections of the poems featuring art and archive images, an event curated by Liam Carson.

 

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Leila Chatti on the left and the ‘Itinerant Poetry Librarian.’

 

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Tomica Bajsic and Gerard Smyth during questiontime after their respective readings at the Cork Arts Theatre.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tomica Basjic

 

 

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Kyle G Dargan

 

 

 

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Paisley Rekdal

 

 

Wonderful to meet again  John Minihan, official photographer, renowned for his black and white images of Samuel Beckett, Princess Diana and Jimmy Hendrix etc. Here he is photographing the selected readers in the The Penny Dreadful event hosted by Marc Euclio O’Connell ( The Penny Dreadful) L to R- Roisin Kelly, Elaine Cosgrove, Richard Hawtree, Cal Doyle and Sarah Clancy.

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Readings from the Penny Dreadful event. Main photo: Marc Euclio O’Connell ( The Penny Dreadful)  Inserts- Roisin Kelly, Elaine Cosgrove, Richard Hawtree, Cal Doyle and Sarah Clancy.

Paul Casey’s Virtual Tides and Afric McGlinchey’s Ghost of the Fisher Cat Both collections published by Salmon Poetry.The Cork Arts Theatre, and me relaxing a moment for a photo!

 

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Off to bleed over my typewriter now!

I do hope you enjoyed a glimpse of the annual festival held in this  poetic corner of the Emerald Isle and am looking forward to you joining me in my next adventure!

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Photographs- My own.

Patrick Cotter and my reading. Photo credit-Afric McGlinchey.

 

Links-   http://www.munsterlit.ie/

http://www.corkpoetryfest.net/

http://www.headstuff.org/2016/01/cork-international-poetry-festival-2016-patrick-cotter/

 

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Contemplating the Muse

 

No. 8

Linda Ibbotson

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” Vincent van Gogh

In my last article, I was delighted to interview  Clifford Brooks III who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Georgia Author of the Year for his first book of poetry. I was meditating on the quote from Anis Nin where it was more painful not to take the risk, to remain tight in a bud, than the risk to blossom.

Welcome to another article in my ‘creative adventures’ and I thank you all for your companionship.  

I am really looking forward to the Abroad Writers Conference organised by Nancy Gerbault. This year it is taking place in Butlers Townhouse, Dublin 12th to 19th December 2015. Finishing Line Press authors will again be joining Nancy with Editor Leah Maines. Also joining the conference will be Declan Meade publisher of the Stinging Fly, LITERARY AGENT, JEFF KLEINMAN will be reading MS submitted from participants.

 

The authors are John Banville, John Boyne, Noel Duffy, Deborah Henry, Ethel Rohan, Ruth Padel, Britt Tisdale Staton, Gabrielle Selz, Delta Willis, Mary Costello, Kevin Barry, Medbh Mcguckian, Jacqueline Mitchard, and Michele Roberts. Some of whom will be giving a workshop.

Full details are to be found on the Abroad Writers Conference link at the end of this post. As spaces are limited the workshops are filling up rapidly therefore it is advisable to book early. Irish residents can partake of an individual workshop. For details contact Nancy via the website.

I am excited to be a participant in a two day workshop with Irish writer Noel Duffy.

Thrilled that his poem ‘The Beekeeper to his Assistant’ will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Poetry Please’, hosted by Roger McGough, next Sunday (6th Sept.) at 4.30pm, with a repeat on Saturday 12th at 11.30pm. The show will also be available on the BBC iPlayer in between times. Podcast link below.

Full details of Noel’s workshop are on his blog, link at the end of this article along with a link to his website.

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Delighted to have been present for Noel’s brilliant and most captivating reading,  O bheal, Cork, March 2015.   

Noel Duffy was born in Dublin in 1971 and studied Experimental Physics at Trinity College, Dublin. After a brief period in research he turned to writing and went on to co-edit (with Theo Dorgan) Watching the River Flow: A Century in Irish Poetry (Poetry Ireland, 1999).

He was the winner in 2003 of the START Chapbook Prize for Poetry for his collection, The Silence After , and also won The Firewords Poetry Award(Galway City Council) in 2005. A play, The Rainstorm, was produced for the Dublin Fringe Festival in 2006.  His debut collection In the Library of Lost Objects was published in 2011 by Ward Wood Publishing, London, and was shortlisted for The Strong Award for Best First Collection by an Irish Poet. His second collection On Light & Carbon was published in autumn 2013, again with Ward Wood.

Noel has taught creative writing at National University of Ireland, Galway, and the Irish Writers’ Centre, Dublin, and screenwriting at the Dublin Business School, Film & Media Department.

Butlers Townhouse, Dublin.

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Abroad Writers Conference, Lismore Castle, Co.Waterford Ireland 2013.

In December 2013 I was privileged to have been asked to read at the Abroad Writers Conference at one of the world’s top destinations, Lismore Castle, Co. Waterford, Ireland, home of Lord and Lady Burlington. Lord Burlington is the son of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire whose main home is Chatsworth House, Derbyshire.

I joined the Finishing Line Press poets with Editor Leah Maines, who read alongside such well known writers such as Jane Smiley, Robert Olen Butler, Patricia Smith to name a few. I felt as if I had “dreamed a painting and I was painting my dream.” There was a warmth and a bonding between the participants that will remain unbreakable. Memories such as sitting around the crackling log fires chatting, the new friendships formed and the social highlight of the week, the dinner party in the Banqueting Hall where multi-talented musicians Mo O Connor and Brendan O’ Ruaigh kept us on our toes! A special mention too for Dennis the Butler!

 

Lismore Castle   Michele Roberts Aroad Writers Conference Lismore Castle

 Lismore Castle                                                       Michele Roberts reading. 

 

Linda Ibbotson, Deborah Henry and Sarah Gristwood at the Abroad Writerr Conference Banqueting hall,Lismore

With Sarah Gristwood and Deborah Henry            Dinner party in the                                                                                                                            Banqueting Hall

 

 

Billy O' Callaghan Abroad Writers Conference, Lsmore Castle         Edward Humes Abroad Writers Conference Lismore Castle

     Billy O’Callaghan reading                       Edward Humes reading

 

 

Robert , Kelly, Linda ,Darothy Abroad Writers Conference. Lismore CastleLinda Ibbotson Lismore Castle Abroad Writers Conference 2

With Robert Olen Butler, Kelly Butler and Darothy Durkac. My reading.                                                                                                                                                     

I also thoroughly enjoyed and benefited on many levels Ethel Rohan’s two day ‘Brilliance of Brevity’ flash fiction workshop where we were also joined by one of the worlds leading poets Patricia Smith. Ethel is also giving a workshop here in Dublin.

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Lismore Castle Entrance Hall

It was a week of incredible workshops held from early morning, readings in the evening before dinner by the authors and Finishing Line Press poets. There was a wonderful mutual exchange of ideas and emphasis on learning, encouragement and support for writers at various stages of their careers.

 

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Patricia Smith’s reading.         Ethel Rohan’s workshop. ‘Brilliance of Brevity’

 

Linda relaxing in Lismore Castle.

A moment to relax, in style!

Looking forward to meeting some of you in Dublin. This is an event that remains etched in my diary and my heart.

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All photographs Linda Ibbotson’s except Butlers Townhouse.

Links

http://abroadwritersconference.com/

http://noelduffy.blogspot.ie/

http://noelduffy.net/

http://www.butlers-townhouse.ie/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b068sjpg#play

 

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Contemplating the Muse

No 7

Linda Ibbotson

Charles Clifford Brooks III

Risk-Anaïs Nin

And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to Blossom.

Anaïs Nin

Welcome to a new beginning, a ‘blank canvas’ and a new series of interviews and events I am looking forward to sharing with you. 

Listening to the rain and wind battering on the skylight above my head it is heartwarming to look forward to the blossoms of spring and a reawakening of nature from her slumber.I am sitting here in my chair reflecting on the power of words. Positive words can both comfort and inspire us to blossom, with confidence, in all the arts and in life.

I am excited to begin a new journey in 2015 and to meet in these interviews,  writers, artists, and musicians who are not afraid to blossom, whose art burns deeply into their soul and for whom it is painful to hold back from fulfilling this yearning.

One writer I have been delighted to meet on facebook is Clifford Brooks III. A writer who is passionate, honest and innovative in his writing. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Georgia Author of the Year for his first book of poetry, The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics. Clifford has an wonderful use of language in his poetry that paints words with music and a book I personally recommend.

Links to Clifford’s website and other sites are listed at the end of this article.

Welcome Clifford and I am looking forward to hearing about your life and your work.

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BIO

Clifford Brooks is a teacher, freelance writer, and poet living in North Georgia. He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and Georgia Author of the Year for his first book of verse, The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics. Clifford’s next book of poetry, Athena Departs, is currently in the last stages of editing. Another epic poem, The Salvation of Blue Crawford, nears completion with the help of a few friends.His newest accomplishment, with the help of many brilliant artists, is the creation of The Southern Collective Experience (https://www.facebook.com/TheSouthernCollectiveExperience), who will soon have a website of their own. The expression he creates alongside his brothers among The Last Ancients (https://www.facebook.com/TheLastAncients?ref=hl) is a whole other downtown midnight.

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1) Tell us about yourself Clifford.

I am a son of two wonderful parents. As a child, I detested school, but loved being outdoors. I’m still very much a Huck Finn kind of cat. I’ve been blessed to call Georgia my home as life came with kissing gifts of lovers/friends/family and brass knuckles of hard wisdom. My education is a Bachelors of Science in History/Political Science from Shorter College located in Rome, Georgia. While in college, I began taking poetry seriously, but prose was still my primary focus as a man of letters. After graduating in 1999, I went on to a career with the Georgia Juvenile Justice System and the Department of Family and Children’s Services for ten years before leaving to devote                                                               myself to writing, music and teaching.

I had no Plan B when I bounced out of my work with the government. That wasn’t a well-thought-out decision for much of my family, but I knew in my bones the poetry I wrote would sneak into bookstores. The attention I’m getting from the legitimate world of book publishing has gone far beyond anything I expected. I think that many artists don’t make it because they don’t recognize creative art as work. It’s a business. The financial science of art is something I can jive with all day long. I come from a long line of successful business folk, so getting over the “you gotta be broke and miserable to write well” wasn’t a problem. I’ve never shown up to sweat for no dough in return (except for my mom and dad). I don’t plan to skate off this planet as some broke, drunk, sad cliché.

I quasi-enjoy being around people, but I get tired fast. Being alone for long periods of time doesn’t bother me, but I’ve learned in recent years that too much solitude doesn’t wear well on me. I am horrible about taking care of myself. If not kept in check by a friend or lover, I withdraw too far inward. This trait has been essential in my achievements with creative writing, but the hermit gene doesn’t translate as well in regards to the real world. Both worlds are “real,” but the one that involves other people might not be so taken aback by my appearance if I remembered to eat, shave, and shower.

Maxfield Parrish’s Cerulean blue is my favorite color. All my suits are black or brown, but I am mainly found wearing rock-and-roll t-shirts and jeans I should’ve thrown out from heavy wear five years ago. My curly-hair and addiction to books is shared by my brilliant momma. I inherited my passion for Motown from my gregarious father. I have a little brother named Justin Brooks who’s married to a lovely lady named Lee. They have a son named Charles Thomas Brooks who is magic to watch walk around, and a newborn named Justin Davis Brooks Jr.

I was married once. It didn’t work out. I am horrible with relationships. I’m moody, selfish, loud, intense, and constantly racing against growing bored. I talk like a machine gun, but I blame that on coming from generations of car dealers. I initially went to college in the field of theology. I love God. We don’t always agree, but it always works out.

I feel an innate connection to the blues, jazz, and classical music. These genres factor in with my next book like a soundtrack. I’m about 85% of the way through my second volume of poetry, Athena Departs. I have two collaborations scheduled with close friends for late 2015 /early 2016 (both poetry). After these mad dashes in song, I’m slipping back into prose.

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2) Why/when did you start writing?

I started writing in the fifth grade, I think. It was a personal venture where I created worlds in which I was in control – everything made sense. It never occurred to me that I should show other people these fictional creations. It was fun. It still is. I always stared out the windows in school and got called “space cadet” on more than one occasion. The trick, over a great deal of time, was to figure out how to funnel the dream state associated with creative writing to bend to a business-like mentality. I learned to do that in school. Education is the only fortune that can’t be taken away.

Family coaxed me into taking my stories to the public. My mom found a handful of my short stories one day and recognized the embers of something greater. Creative writing bolted me into public education. Before this epiphany, I made passing grades to make my parents happy. Once I discovered that I had a knack for writing, I became more invested in my education to hone that skill. As I became more involved with this process, music grew to be intrinsically linked to my writing as a source of inspiration –classical music taking the lead.

For a majority of my writing life, I’ve stayed in fiction and non-fiction. Somewhere in the years between 2001-2003, a literary agent became passionate about my poetry being the best vehicle into legitimate publishing. This surreal journey began when I sent his agency my novel synopsis, several short stories, articles, and then a handful of poems to show the breadth of my scribbling talent. The agent enjoyed the prose, but my poetry —for reasons I still don’t completely grasp — took his attention completely. As I continued this path, there were hard lessons learned and trials to be overcome, but I realize now that the Universe was priming me to appreciate the gifts coming my way. When you work for something, you don’t piss it away.

I write because it creates an inner peace where I am able to focus my thoughts, churn up the ill-will killing me, the guilt of a thousand wrong turns, lovers I didn’t treat fairly, and then a plethora of gorgeous experiences that are the silver lining to an artist’s existence.

This is especially true with poetry. Poetry and music are my most effective therapists and attentive confessors. It’s a beat-down phrase that writers use, yet I didn’t initially write any of my poetry for wide readership, if for publication at all. I kept to a strict practice of writing only what I knew, and being honest without slipping into melodrama.I told my life story and perspective through poetry as it is, and only for what it is, nothing more. I don’t preach, promise answers to life’s great questions, or choose a soapbox to pontificate bullshit. I think readers in general, no matter the genre, appreciate those traits.

download-13) As creative people we are inspired by our personal experiences in life and the world around us. I would love to hear what inspires your writing. Music, nature,literature, travel, etc ?

Dodging boredom, depression, and mediocrity inspires me. Beautiful faces and sounds inspire me. I notice the small things in everyday situations. I am an avid people-watcher, and, due to some glitch in my perception, I tend to pick up on subtle nuances many others seem to miss entirely. Music, nature, literature, family, love, loss, death, and mania/depression all play a part in what and why I create poetry. Music is the soul of my creative efforts. I listen to it every waking moment. If I am writing, I am listening to music. I realized early that I couldn’t beg out of a guitar the sounds necessary to pass on my feelings to an audience. Poetry allows me the next, best thing. Poetry and music are Janus faces to a single god of harmony.

I am moved to write about things that escape explanation. Spirituality, ethics, morality, adoration, demons, memories of long-dead relatives, classic cars, acrid smoke, and gospel music all play a part in the frantic motion I bind within what I compose. It’s a painful process to become comfortable with telling the public the whole truth of sins,insecurities, and bad sex, but if you’re not going to tell the whole truth, don’t do it.

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4)  What motivates you to keep writing?

I love doing it.

Writing is the single thing in this world I’m capable of producing with any great skill. I am not good with people. I’ve heard from more than one person that I “live too much in my head.” I agree with them. The downside to a rich imagination is that often it is far more attractive to occupy than real life. It is a struggle not to hide in the ephemera of my own invention.

Much of my writing in the first two books, printed in one volume (The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics), is me trying to figure out my place in mankind’s shuffle. In the poems that capture my thoughts on a certain social situation, I’m never judging anyone; instead, I’m trying to figure out the significance of what I’m seeing. Many poems are pulled from the moleskins I carry with me. I don’t have a set time every day to put down my thoughts on paper. Creation, for me, comes in spurts — which is whenever the hell it feels like snatching my attention. Of course, I believe there is a specific brand of professionalism demanded in the arts. I do sit down to carefully edit my work once I’ve amassed enough for an obsessive-compulsive sit down. Yet, I can’t tell you where the fire originates or why it’s difficult to contain. There is something divine in art that cannot be understood, and I like it that way.

5) Other writers you admire?

Rilke, ee cummings, Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, Goethe, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Wallace Stevens, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, Poe, Tennessee Williams, David Bottoms, James Dickey, Rumi, Coleman Barks, John Aagard, Pat Conroy, Christopher Moore, Rick Bragg, Haruki Murakami, Charles Bukowski, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Coleridge, Robert Pinsky, Daniel Nathan Terry, Li Po, Wang Wei, William Wright, James Duncan, Chad Prevost, and Charles Simic

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6) What are some of the highlights of your poetic journey, particularly your recent work with The Last Ancients and The Southern Collective Experience?

Being published is the biggest highlight thus far in my career. When I find my book in Barnes & Noble, or see someone reading it in a coffee shop, there are feelings of shock and a subtle undertone of unease. I put every bad, beautiful, brutally honest thing I’ve ever done in those two books. Now, any stranger can read them with very little metaphorical subterfuge. Yet, I am unburdened by much of the soul-debt the book plucked out at its completion. There’s a freedom in full disclosure as long as you don’t choke the reader with it.

I was also floored by the nominations for Georgia Author of the Year and the Pulitzer for Poetry. At the time the nominations were announced, a friend saw the news before I did, so she called to tell me. I didn’t believe her. It was posted on the web page my publisher, John Gosslee Books, provided me. I was ecstatic and realized that I needed to pay more attention to details – including the small ones on the internet about a Pulitzer nod. I discovered that, when you pour yourself into the right things for good reasons, miracles occur.

This idea of miracles also manifested itself in two groups of artists I’m knee-deep in at present. The Southern Collective Experience and The Last Ancients are two direct gifts from Elysium that have provided me the rock-solid crowd of brilliant, generous,genuine, and humble folks who provide an oasis from the egotistical mainstream representing art today. The back-stabbing I’ve seen; the selfish motives that isolates one poet, writer, musician, or painter from the others; the childish gossip – it’s in every vocation, but it’s rife in the art world. It doesn’t depress me as I see it as an opportunity to fill that void with quality work. Not only that, but it’s shared through literary families that strive to promote each other and strike down the cliché that all creators are whiney, hormonal, brooding, unpopular teenagers. We are not sellouts because we succeed. We succeed because we are not sellouts.

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Two poems from Athena Departs:

To a Childhood Infatuation

Insane lady, lazy Penelope,

you have been the best,

bad omen.

You’re a legend

in interstate stalking.

I can’t buy you

no BMW,

no home in Paris,

no free ride in the bedroom I occupy.

There are already

plenty of secrets.

This poem is an epitaph

to a childhood infatuation

you refuse to lose.

The Lasting Melody Made of God

(dedicated to Fahim Ali)

When our species decided

to discover an adoring,

accessible deity,

a song was slung across

an abyss

we once suspected

was only dead space.

What we discovered

was another orchestra

willing to share with us

earth’s universal tongue.

Its uncommon notation

and tempestuous tempo

became our bloodless kinship.

That serenade cemented

a testament

that there is more

beyond our mindscape

than oblivion

laughing at us

through dense fog.

When Genesis split

its gentle night

with the mother of mornings,

our instincts

naturally listened for folks

who carve chords

that quell chaos,

not cause it.

The facts are not farfetched:

Prayers progressed into psalms

that grew from a fertile,

gospel womb.

Those notes, hammered

home through hymns,

resonate as the rhapsody

of God’s first words:

We are all kept safe

in the Old Man’s hands.

Our darkest deeds

are blown free,

like dandelion seeds in a gale.

Yet,

if my concept of soul

lacks enough evidence

to earn your certainty,

rely on reason,

sunflowers, white dwarves,

and spider webs.

The only theology

worth knowing is:

None of this

is meaningless.

Excerpt from Chapter 2 in The Salvation of Cowboy Blue Crawford:

Chapter 2

For four weeks of Tuesdays,

he was trapped by timid spinsters.

Without much booze,

or emotional ado,

Blue went into the hard truth:

He had to create his lewd lady.

Since Miss Dixie was deep in the farthest state,

this North Georgia necromancer knew

he could cash in enough Old World wizardry

to cause the cosmos to cough up

another eager girl giddy to listen.

It wouldn’t be free.

Old Scratch has the recipe.

It’s more of the same trade

that got the Old Goat in so deep,

and a cowboy so far behind.

Made by good manners

his sweet momma taught,

Blue has long been decent enough

to shake the devil’s hand.

Yet, the cowboy didn’t

believe in a bargain this time

for a brief release

in his back bedroom

at the Big House.

There is one angel there:

Where great-aunt ached when she walked,

there is a path he can follow

now to a quiet writing window.

Even the hollow have a hobby.

Daylight is muted by the caring

leaves of ancient trees.

Blue has climbed them, cherished them,

and they, now,

cherish him in return.

Blue would bend the elements

in a copper basin.

Water and gasoline boil

above a consuming, cerulean heat.

Tapping, stirring out toe-by-toe his siring,

the forbidden forming of Miss Dixie’s

knock-off, slender replacement

is sex sold for sorcery.

Blue became a Faustian blunder.

He stole Hell’s heart

and singed it into his breast

with the blessing

of a Haitian godmother.

That talisman allows him to slither out

of the moral middle ground,

and get busy building a beautiful untruth.

More than a few friends,

stalwart men,

will fail to sustain their strong bonds

with him.

Blue is in love with lightning,

and considers the casualties created

by this liking,

but quickly casts them off.

Links

His online presence includes:

Personal Website: http://www.cliffbrooks.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cliffbrooks3

Instagram: http://instagram.com/cliffbrooks3

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/charlescliffordbrooksIII?ref=hl

Artistic snippets of his work (as created by Holly Holt, a member of The Collective) can

be found on Pinterest here: Athena Departs:

and Salvation of Cowboy Blue Crawford: https://www.pinterest.com/poetnpractice/the-

salvation-of-cowboy-blue-crawford/

To buy The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics:

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-draw-of-broken-eyes-and-

whirling-metaphysics-cliff-brooks-3rd/1109476180?ean=9780983365532

Amazon (paperback): http://www.amazon.com/Draw-Broken-Eyes-Whirling-

Metaphysics/dp/0983365539

Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/Draw-Broken-Eyes-Whirling-Metaphysics-

ebook/dp/B00EYV2ADQ/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr&qid

Reads: http://www.0s-1s.com/poetry-shelves/the-draw-of-broken-eyes-and-whirling-

metaphysics

The photo of Clifford in a scarf is by: Sandra Smith of Freedom Photography
The photo of Clifford standing up is from Matthew Polsfuss
The original artwork is by Holly Holt and the lines are from the excerpt of The Salvation of Cowboy Blue Crawford that shall show in this piece.

Many thanks Clifford for this wonderful interview. I feel honored to have met you and to have had this opportunity to share your life and work .

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