Arguing with Edmund Spenser in Contemporary Irish Poetry

Thursday 15th February, 7-9pm
Poetry Ireland, 11 Parnell Square East, Dublin 1.
Tickets: Free, but limited – booking advised. Info from Poetry Ireland website.

The Tudor poet, Edmund Spenser, is not remembered fondly in Ireland, despite his having written most of his major works while living here as a planter and colonial administrator in the late sixteenth century, and despite the interest of W.B. Yeats in his potential uses as an Irish poet. The reasons for this disfavour are all too easy to identify: Spenser’s vicious polemic against both the native Irish and the descendants of the Norman settlers who had become ‘more Irish than the Irish themselves’ (as the saying goes) in his political dialogue, A View of the Present State of Ireland.

But Spenser has been an increasingly noticeable presence in contemporary Irish poetry, prompting exploration not just of the darker moments of Irish history during the plantations, and their implications for Ireland today, but also of the opportunities for reflection and even self-examination his poetry offers an Irish reader – and ultimately, perhaps, a re-evaluation of the usual narratives of the Irish literary tradition.

The School of English, Drama, Film and Creative Writing, University College Dublin and Poetry Ireland invite you to join five poets who have been thinking and arguing with Spenser in their recent work for an evening of discussion and readings: John McAuliffe (The Way In (2015)), Trevor Joyce (Fastness (2017)), Leanne O’Sullivan (A Quarter of an Hour (2018)), Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (Ireland Professor of Poetry (2001-2004)), and current Ireland Professor of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (The Boys of Bluehill (2015)).

Tickets: Free, but limited – booking advised here.

The_Faerie_Queene_frontispiece

Frontispiece to The Faerie Queene, printed 1590.

Advertisements

The Sonnet Man presents Hip Hop Shakespeare to Ireland in 2017

International Hip Hop Artist, The Sonnet Man, is preparing to visit various cities in Ireland.  While in Ireland, The Sonnet Man is also scheduled to present performances and sonnet-writing workshops to schools in Cork, Kilkenny, Carlow, and Wexford (among others) perform school assemblies, beginning with a performance at the Wexford Arts Centre.  Due to the interest, The Sonnet Man is also offering schools, theatres, and other venues the chance to sign up to be a part of The Sonnet Man Ireland Tour.

The Sonnet Man is Devon Glover, a rapper, writer, artist, and teacher from Brooklyn, New York.  The Sonnet Man uses hip hop to put a unique spin on Shakespeare. He sets sonnets first to rap music, singing them as originally written. Then, he raps them again, but with his own unique interpretation on The Bard’s poetry in today’s spoken word.

the-sonnet-man

The Sonnet Man

On April 24, 2016The Sonnet Man performed a three and half hour Sonnet Marathon, organized by the Stratford Literary Festival. He recited all 154 of William Shakespeare’s famous Sonnets, in Hip Hop, to hundreds of fans in Stratford Upon Avon, to celebrate 400 years of Shakespeare at the Stratford Literary Festival.

In addition to his festival work over the last five years, The Sonnet Man has presented live shows, as well as school assemblies and workshops, to thousands of people across the world (Prague, Netherlands, Bermuda, Canada, United States, including performing Sonnet 18 live in Negril, Jamaica, and more). The Sonnet Man has also appeared on NBC’s The Today Show and MSNBC’s (former) Melissa Perry-Harris Show and has been profiled on MTV. He has been honored as the winner of the 2014 LA Times Festival of Books Inspirational Poetry Award and has had his music video, Hamlet by filmmaker Deborah Voorhees, chosen as an official selection in the 2015 Shakespeare Film Festival. A number of other performances and workshops, including a trip to UK, France, and more cities in Ireland, and a Sonnet Man documentary film are also to come.

The Sonnet Man is always looking for more venues to sign up for The Sonnet Man’s Ireland tour. For more information about, please contact: sonnetmannyc@gmail.com or check out The Sonnet Man online at www.SonnetMan.com and on iTunes.

Poem: Shakespeare in Ireland

‘Shakespeare in Ireland’

One bearded me, hop-addled, the hour late;

a rug-haired kerne, grog-blossoms in full bloom.

“What business have you here?” The age-old hate

glittering in those bane-filled eyes; the room

full suddenly of music, flute and fiddle,

as snag-toothed locals gaily take the floor,

advance, retreat, advance, rehearsing battle;

a merry dance they led us. But what for?

A charnel-house, this place: rain-lashed, hag-cursed,

a song that’s sung shut-eyed against the pain.

There is no future here, only the past;

a blood-revenant, come to avenge the slain,

who’d this night gladly kill me, one brute blow

as jigs and reels come rivering off the bow.

John O’Donnell won the Hennessy Award for Fiction in 2013. He has published two collections of poetry; a third, On Water, is due out this year. Available on the Irish Times website here.