Category Archives: Blog

AN ULSTER PSYCHE

AN ULSTER PSYCHE

I was shocked by her photographs. How could she dare? As well as projected slides she had a dozen cibachromes on display whose marvellously luminous surface makes the paper itself a fresh lens. It becomes a pool of water in which everything is gently enhanced by the limpid medium. And yet, this pool is pinned to a wall.

I had to leave the room. Such things should not be shown without a warning. Continue reading AN ULSTER PSYCHE

Short Story in ‘The Honest Ulsterman’

I am particularly pleased to have my short story ‘Runner’ in The Honest Ulsterman, online on Thursday June 28th. Launched 40 years ago as ‘A Handbook for Revolution’, it has showcased world-class writers such as Seamus Heaney, Medbh McGuckian, Michael Longley, Louis McNeice – an amazing list.

Time to pay a personal tribute. Continue reading Short Story in ‘The Honest Ulsterman’

Eborakon: Gwyneth Lewis – Henaint/Old Age

Gwyneth Lewis – Henaint / Old Age, a double pleasure in Welsh and English.

Pleasure despite excruciating pain. I find myself recommending a tormenting thrill. Gwyneth Lewis’s Welsh poem Henaint and her translation of it into English, Old Age are excellent examples of the wonderful double enjoyment that a poet working in two languages can offer. Continue reading Eborakon: Gwyneth Lewis – Henaint/Old Age

Gwyneth Lewis – Henaint / Old Age, a double pleasure in Welsh and English

Pleasure despite excruciating pain. I find myself recommending a tormenting thrill. Gwyneth Lewis’s Welsh poem Henaint and her translation of it into English, Old Age are excellent examples of the wonderful double enjoyment that a poet working in two languages can offer.

To read the Welsh poem and find its adjacent English version is like diving into one pool to discover it linked underwater to a twin, from which one emerges, amazed to have experienced two related worlds whose contents are refracted to the eye and ear by differing slants of colour, angle and echo: an exciting, astonishing experience – and repeatable! Do read these poems now in a special online edition of Eborakon poetry magazine. Continue reading Gwyneth Lewis – Henaint / Old Age, a double pleasure in Welsh and English

Dreams and the Writer: a skewed and fresh perspective?

‘A dream unquestioned is a letter unopened’. Apparently. Do you agree?

Twenty years ago I was in the grip of prolonged and serious physical pain due to a then-undiagnosed condition. I couldn’t work as normal. I spent long periods confined to the house. Someone was very unkind to me and, as a way of acknowledging his fault without having to say it aloud, he handed me a book, saying I might find it of interest. I had plenty of time to read it thoroughly, footnotes and all and, in one of those, discovered a reference to a book that came to mind forcefully this morning.

I woke from a  dream so vivid and engaging that I was able to write down the dialogue between the figures in it and to describe their outward and inward dispositions, partly because I had ‘been’ them all, inhabiting the action from their perspectives. This is not possible in waking life. At least not with the immediate and assured access a dream affords.

This morning’s scenes, I realised, in which I was both multiply participant and also the observer, opened up for me a way to go deeper into a character in the novel I’m writing.

I wonder how common it is for writers to take advantage of what dreams offer? Continue reading Dreams and the Writer: a skewed and fresh perspective?