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Reading by John Kelly and Gerard Smyth
John Kelly was born in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh. His poetry has been published in numerous journals and anthologies. A novel, From Out of the City was shortlisted for Novel of the Year at the Bord Gáis Book Awards in 2014, and a radio play The Pipes was broadcast by RTÉ. His first collection Notions was published in 2018 by Dedalus Press. He works in broadcasting, and is best known for his radio show Mystery Train.
Gerard Smyth is a poet, critic and journalist whose poetry has appeared widely in journals in Ireland, Britain and the United States as well as in translation. He has published nine collections. He was the 2012 recipient of the O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award from the University of St Thomas in Minnesota and is co-editor, with Pat Boran, of If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song (Dedalus Press). This was Dublin’s One City One Book in 2013. He is a member of Aosdána and Poetry Editor of The Irish Times.
Constantly inventive and unerringly precise, the poems in John Kelly’s debut collection reveal an author at home with both the stand-alone lyric and the longer, apparently improvisational pieces that contribute so much to this book’s extraordinary brio and style. The breadth of cultural reference is perhaps a given. Kelly’s real achievement is to make sense of a sometimes teeming field of vision. From the natural world to the troubled north of his youth, through encounters with art – and its creators – to poems that chart the seismic changes that come with love, fatherhood and loss, Notions is a book full of humour and play, wonder and woundedness. ‘These are very remarkable and compelling poems. With strong narratives and events, vivid and surprising language and a marvellous square-on exactness.’
With Thanks to Nicole Shanahan and Maura O’Halloran
Sponsored by The Clifden Book Shop