Saturday, June 18, 2022
Friday, May 06, 2022
The Wild Goose by Kevin Gallagher
The Wild Goose was a hand-made magazine of verse written and edited by John Boyle O’Reilly aboard the Hougoumont, the last ship to transport British convicts to Australia. O’Reilly (1844-1890) was an Irish Fenian sentenced to life imprisonment for infiltrating the British army and attempted mutiny. O’Reilly escaped from Australia aboard a whaling ship and settled in Boston where he rose to become an editor of The Pilot, a noted poet, and abolitionist.
In a sense, these poems are a little magazine conceived of and drafted in 2018 and 2019 when Gallagher was a poet-in-residence at the Heinrich Boll Cottage, on Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland. In addition to a sequence on O’Reilly, the poems in this book engage the Irish landscape, and the history and myth that formed the identity of some of the Gallagher’s ancestors until British colonialism and associated famine took them to Massachusetts.
Kevin Gallagher’s new book begins with Irish myth and ends with his own myth, as he visits his father in a classically tinged underworld. Using a variety of poetic forms, Gallagher creates a blend of Irish-American family experience and Irish history that features both his father and a colorful nineteenth-century Irishman who ended up in America. This poetic blend of the poet’s imaginings, memories, and careful research is absorbing, entertaining, and enlightening. —Martha Collins, author of Because What Else Could I Do?
Kevin Gallagher shows us how his sense of an Irish identity is more than a hand-me-down, that it depends on an unflinching examination of the ways voices from the past—not all of them benevolent—shape who we are and how we see the world. Gallagher imagines an array of such voices, from figures in pre-Christian myths to historical figures who resisted British colonialism. The arc of the collection aims, however, toward the present, to the Irish-American experience as well as what the poet sees and hears in Ireland today. The culmination of The Wild Goose comes in a dream-vision in which the poet is granted access to the afterlife and meets his deceased father. Says that father to his grieving son: “Let me hear you talk. I’ll talk to you too.” Crystalline imagery and carefully crafted lyrics embody Gallagher’s difficult and demanding dialogue with the long and often painful story of the culture he comes from. —Fred Marchant, author of Said Not Said.
To over-underscore how Kevin Gallagher delves into Celtic mythology from the get-go with the wonderful love-poem “Birth of a Nation” and plumbs the raw contemporary ring of those legendary, gender-bendering heroes and heroines—Eithlinn and Cian, Deirdre and Diarmuid, Lir, Cairbre, Bres, all that—might be to miss the larger project, all-in, this collection’s vast and variegated canvas stretched beyond history and in your face. In The Wild Goose you will find and lose, often in the same breath, your compass points, become a bit, as the French say, déboussolé. All in a good way. Unmoored, not plot-lost. Gallagher’s poems read exquisitely and easily. With a preference for nifty, drop-stitch, loose-iambic couplets, villanelles that hypnose, The Wild Goose runs riot in lyric narrative gear, its best poems top-shelf distillations of story and meditation. And you won’t find many affirmations of a redemptive immigration policy that welcomes refugees finer than the sonnet sequence “The Journal of John Boyle O’Reilly.” —Aidan Rooney, author of Go There
Saturday, March 19, 2022
Before that, he’s worked as a farm laborer, entrepreneurial bait salesman, yard worker, golf pro shop assistant, factory assembler, clean room machine operator, holiday Santa, construction worker, hotel worker, office assistant, theater apprentice, busboy, waiter, bartender, wine steward, assistant maitre’d, website designer, lab experiment subject, and blackjack dealer.
He has published novels, over 70 short stories, collections, articles, jokes, and poetry, and has appeared on stage, television, and in Throg, an independent feature film:
Wednesday, February 02, 2022
“Áine Griffin’s A Foreign Home is an unfettered and undeterred accounting of life: life that hurts, life that hopes, life that fears, life that loves, life that scars. These poems reach into the earthy experiences of late night dances and early morning sunshine. They pulse with reality and spark with the divine. A.E. Housman once claimed that ‘poetry is not the thing said, but a way of saying it.’ Griffin’s work, here, is a mesmerizing, brilliant, and deeply affecting way of saying it.”— Luke Reynolds, Assistant Professor of Education at Endicott College and author of Fantastic Failures: People Who Changed the World by Falling Down First, Surviving Middle School: Navigating the Halls, Riding the Social Roller Coaster, and Unmasking the Real You, and many others
Wednesday, December 29, 2021
Wednesday, November 03, 2021
Opening with a response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Lockdown Letters & Other Poems ranges near and far in the author’s catalogue. While spared the devastating effects of the disease, he offers a view of the way daily life changes and new risks are confronted as people try to maintain routines. The book shifts to work inspired by travel—local, global, and beyond—routes giving rise to memorable observations and insights. More place poems and a cycle of sports pieces round out the volume, with its theme of home-and-away
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Where to start with Souljourner? Let’s start with the author - Paul Steven Stone is either a madman or a genius – probably both – and he’s written one of the most gripping and enjoyable books we’ve ever come across. It begins with a quote from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey, we are spiritual beings on a human journey.”– and that my friends sets the tone for everything that’s to come.David Rockwood Worthington is in prison serving a life sentence for the murder of his 3rd wife and his incarceration is not going smoothly.He’s being terrorised by rival gangs who insist he owes them each $6 million dollars – debts of which David claims to be entirely unaware. This perilous situation is complicated by the fact that the Internal Revenue Service wants to talk to him about the $18 million dollars he has stashed in secret Cayman Island accounts – accounts which David also claims to be entirely unaware of. On top of all that, his prison psychologist doesn’t seem to like him very much. The central premise of this novel - if it is indeed a novel (the narrator insists it is in fact a warning letter from your soul’s previous incarnation) - is that our souls make their eternal journey towards enlightenment in the company of a single unchanging ‘karmic pod’ of companion souls who take on different roles in each of our incarnations.In one life a soul may appear as your mother, in the next your best friend, in the next your sworn enemy, in the next your lover and so on for eternity.The identities of the souls in your ‘karmic pod’ are hidden from you in life – this letter/novel seeks to wise you up to who’s who in your karmic pod to help you avoid making the same mistakes that landed our David in prison.Souljourner is a cult-classic in the making. It is by turns bizarre, bewildering, hilarious, infuriating and utterly engaging – strap yourself in and prepare to be swept up in this extraordinary karmic rollercoaster of a book.