Poetry of Warrenpoint in the Kalahari Desert
While there are a lot of things that separate them as poets, Galway’s Siobhan Campbell and Aoife Reilly share an earthy feeling about the human body that few of their male counterparts manage to put into words.
In ‘Woman Poem’, Reilly writes: âWe shed blood / without violence. While, in ‘Concentration’, Campbell recalls: “The scratching of the pot under the bed / would wake the dead. My great-aunt’s squat / balance as she aims, tying a flannel nightgown / high enough to miss its faded rose. “
The poems come from the new collections, Lilac and gooseberries by Aoife Reilly (published by Lapwing) and Thermal signature by Siobhan Campbell (published by Seren).
Although she lived in Britain for many years, Ireland remains Campbell’s main subject. ‘The Blessing’ is like a poem by RS Thomas that was rewritten by Pat McCabe or David Lynch. The narrator and his friends meet a newly ordained priest at the bend of a country road. He proposes “to give us his first blessing, / has just ordained this hour with no one to celebrate.” This newly appointed cleric comes to an end when “Right at the Amen, the Ford transit van rolled down / around the corner …”
Another striking feature of Campbell’s poetry is that she is one of our most cited post-Heaney poets. “Ravens” opens with the murderous couplet: “The crows in their buailie rush hear the tic of the trees which change seasons / they colonize as something moral to be despised. And in her beautiful rewrite of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘The War Got a Bad Name’, she shows that she can satire too: “But they say we should attend the Let Go / and Forget, free coupons sessions. with national newspapers. “
The fact that Campbell chose Brecht as a role model sets her apart, as he was arguably the greatest poet of the 20th century, although the decaying Clintonoid postliberals who dominate literary discourse won’t tell you, as they cannot forgive him for his anti-capitalism. . .
Aoife Reilly is perhaps a less experienced poet than Campbell, Lilac and gooseberries is her debut, but in ‘Traffic’ she transports us, in the blink of an eye, to what to most of her readers will seem a mundane landscape in another place: “I could be anywhere / when I drive through / the plains of northern Galway / even say, the Kalahari â. It’s a long way from Dunmore to the Kalahari, but not if you’re traveling via a poem by Aoife Reilly.
A desire for authenticity – not easy to find in a world where Rosanna Davison is the favorite philosopher of some – emerges from these poems. In ‘I want’ she writes [I want] “that smile / not the ‘big’ jawbone / give me the real you / with an icy plunge of pleasure in the Atlantic”. In “Unsymmetrical Slices” she partly pleads, partly demands “Please give me a man / who’s ready to grab me, not his keys / if the world decides to crack”. Reilly’s poems are enamored with the mess inherent in life, for this is where she finds poetry.
Lilac and gooseberries by Aoife Reilly will launch at the May Over The Edge Writers’ Gathering at The Kitchen CafÃ©, Galway City Museum on Friday, May 12 at 8 p.m. ET. Also read, Art Stringer, Ron Houchin, Lorna Shaughnessy and Marie Cadden. Everyone is welcome and admission is free.