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Days of Clear Light – 1 Feb 2021
February 1 @ 9:00 pm
We are delighted to join with our friends to mark the occasion of 40 years of Salmon Poetry and to celebrate the work of Jessie Lendennie. To mark that achievement 100 writers have come together in contributing to a special Festschrift presented as a complete surprise to Jessie at Christmas 2020. Editor Nessa O’Mahony interviews Jessie for the ILS and a number of the poets have contributed recordings of their poems for this online celebration. The marvellous Festschrift, so assiduously shaped in secret by our friends the editors Alan Hayes and Nessa O’Mahony, gathers together poetry, prose and memoir, full of love, gratitude and acknowledgement of the central role Jessie and Salmon have played in Irish literature. The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins writes in the foreward of Salmon publishing his first volume of poetry, The Betrayal back in 1990 and notes of Jessie’s grá for experimentalism: ‘For Jessie, the world of publishing has always been a space of offering new possibilities and exciting opportunities. In exercising choice on what to publish she has been unafraid to take a risk, to follow her heart and her instinct down roads untravelled. In doing so she has also brought many readers down new pathways, introducing them to remarkable writers who may have remained undiscovered or ‘off the beaten track’ if it were not for Jessie.’ Alan Hayes in his introduction writes of the transformative effect of Salmon’s redress of the gender imbalance in Irish publishing, his work at Arlen House also deserves great credit in publishing and reviving Irish women poets. The quality of the collections which stream from Salmon today stand up to the great work of Eva Bourke and Rita Ann Higgins on which the Press was founded. Alan quotes the late Eavan Boland writing of Salmon as “one of the most innovative, perceptive and important publishing houses in the UK and Ireland. It has fostered and supported the work of new writers and has established them in the public consciousness.” The book is available from Salmon. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin is first up and reads for us from her poem In Ostia, then Nessa O’Mahony joins Jessie in conversation and some of the poets from the volume have recorded their readings to share with us, we’re delighted to have Gerry Dawe, Martina Evans, Jane Clarke and Nessa reading their work. Brava Jessie, happy anniversary Salmon!
Speaker: Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin Born 1942 in Cork, she is an Emeritus Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, where she has taught, researched and written on Renaissance literature and translation, since 1966; with her husband Macdara Woods, Leland Bardwell and Pearse Hutchinson, she was a founder and (since 1975) co-editor of the Irish poetry journal Cyphers. Her seventh collection of poetry, The Sun-Fish, was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and won the Griffin International Prize for poetry in 2010; The Boys of Bluehill was published in 2015 by Gallery Press, and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize, the Irish Times Poetry Now Award and the Pigott Prize at the Listowel Writers’ Week.
Speaker: Jane Clarke
Jane Clarke is the author of two poetry collections, The River and When the Tree Falls (Bloodaxe Books 2015 & 2019), and an illustrated chapbook, All the Way Home, (Smith|Doorstop 2019). She grew up on a farm in Co. Roscommon and her work explores enduring connections to people, place and nature. Jane’s awards include the 2016 Hennessy Literary Award for Poetry and the 2016 Listowel Writers’ Week Poem of the Year. She now lives in Glenmalure, Co. Wicklow where she combines writing with teaching & mentoring creative writing. www.janeclarkepoetry.ie
Speaker: Gerald Dawe
Gerald Dawe is a retired Professor of English and Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin. He has published eight collections of poetry and several volumes of essays, and he is the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the Macaulay Fellowship in Literature. His latest poetry collection Mickey Finn’s Air, was published in 2014; Of War and War’s Alarms: Reflections on Modern Irish Writing appeared in 2015. In Another World is available from online retailers and the Irish Academic Press.
Speaker: Martina Evans
Martina Evans is a poet, novelist and teacher. She grew up in County Cork in a country pub, shop and petrol station and is the youngest of ten children. She is the author of ten books of prose and poetry. She is currently Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University, London and a Lector for the Royal Literary Reading Round 2014-2016. Watch, a pamphlet was published by Rack Press in January 2016 and The Windows of Graceland, New & Selected Poems was published by Carcanet in May 2016. Her latest collection Now We Can Talk Openly About Men was published by Carcanet in May 2018. It featured in the Times Literary Supplement, Observer and Irish Times Books of the Year and has been shortlisted for the 2019 Irish Times Poetry Now Award as well as the Pigott Poetry Award. Currently she is Royal Literary Fund Advisory Fellow and poetry reviewer for the Irish Times.
Chair: Nessa O’Mahony
Nessa O’Mahony is a Dublin-born poet and novelist. She has published four books of poetry – Bar Talk (1999), Trapping a Ghost (2005), In Sight of Home (2009) and Her Father’s Daughter (2014). She is co-editor with Siobhán Campbell of Eavan Boland: Inside History (Arlen House, 2016). Her first novel, The Branchman (Arlen House, 2018) was recently published. O’Mahony won the National Women’s Poetry Competition in 1997 and was shortlisted for the Patrick Kavanagh Prize and Hennessy Literature Awards..