Sentence of the Day: “The Remarkable Rocket”

This is self’s favorite story so far in The Big Book of Classic Fantasy. It’s Story # 27. Kudos, Oscar Wilde!

  • “Indeed, I have always been of the opinion that hard work is simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatever to do.”

LOL

“The Remarkable Rocket” by Oscar Wilde

What a relief to encounter Oscar Wilde in this monster of an anthology (The Big Book of Classic Fantasy).

His “The Remarkable Rocket” is Story # 27, and I read a Tolstoy story, “Ivan the Fool,” before getting here, and that story is nothing compared to “The Remarkable Rocket.”

An excerpt:

  • The Prince and Princess were leading the dance. They danced so beautifully that the tall white lilies peeped in at the window and watched them, and the great red poppies nodded their heads and beat time.

Sentence of the Day: PAPPYLAND

We talked about ceviche, pancreatitis, and the beautiful, hyperviolent plays of British-Irish playwright Martin McDonagh.

— p. 129, Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last, by Wright Thompson

Poetry Saturday: John O’ Donohue

Fluent

I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.

— from Conamara Blues, which Dear Departed Father Richard Haslam gave to me on my first visit to Ireland, 2014

Poetry Saturday: Jackie Gorman

Met Jackie at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. Self ordered her collection The Wounded Stork, as soon as she got home.

Oh, wondrous.

DSCN0450

Shorn

Pale blue eyes looking up,
I put nitroglycerine under your tongue,
as we watch the football and
hum Nessum Dorma.
I help you to shave or tie a Windsor Knot,
each time noticing the beige circle
on your cheek,
melanoma erased by radiotherapy.

In July, you planted a rosemary bush.
Covered in ancient toil and sweat,
I help you undress in the hallway.
Closing the bathroom door, seeing you bare,
all of you was vulnerable and shorn,
shivering like a frightened lamb.
My skin burnt silently and slowly.

You looked at me and
I write you a poem with naked eyes.


Jackie Gorman has been published in a number of journals including Poetry Ireland Review, The Lonely Crowd, The Honest Ulsterman and in anthologies such as The Windows Anthology. She was part of the 2017 Poetry Ireland Introduction Series, a national programme to profile and support emerging poets in Ireland.

2019: Projected Reading List

2019 will be a great year. Self can feel it in her bones.

First, she’ll start the year trying to read Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series. If she makes it through just three or four of the series, she’ll be happy.

It will be the year she gets back to reading Jeanette Winterson: Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal.

She’s going to try re-reading If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, by Italo Calvino.

Then she’s going to work her way through The Guardian’s Best Books of 2018 list. Which includes:

Almost everything Sarah Waters recommends: National Service, by Richard Vinen; In Our Mad and Furious City, by Guy Gunaratne; The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter; The Vet’s Daughter, a 1959 novel by Barbara Comyn; Swann’s Way by Proust; and (a re-read of) Anna Karenina, by Tolstoy.

Self’s reading list in 2019 will still lean heavy towards fiction. Here’s a partial list from The Guardian’s Best Books of 2018. All the authors are new to self, except for Liz Nugent and Pat Barker.

FICTION:

Ghost Wall, by Sarah Moss; Milkman, by Anna Burns; The Silence of the Girls, by Pat Barker; Melmoth, by Sarah Perry; Red Birds, by Mohammed Hanif; Friday Black, by Kwame Adjei-Brenyah; West, by Carys Davies; Sight, by Jessie Greengrass; Everything Under, by Daisy Johnson; There There by Tommy Orange; Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday; Brother, by Canadian David Chariandy; All the Lives We Never Lived, by Anuradha Roy; Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata; Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, by Olga Tokarczuk; Normal People, by Sally Rooney; The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, by Hermes Gowar; Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan; The Western Wind, by Samantha Harvey; Now We Shall Be Entirely Free, by Andrew Miller; Painter to the King, by Amy Sackville; Murmur, by Will Eaves.

CRIME:

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton; The Stranger Diaries, by Elly Griffiths; November Road, by Lou Berney; Brothers in Blood, by Amer Anwar; Lullaby by Leila Slimani; Skin Deep, by Liz Nugent (who I’ve actually met); Fear, by Dirk Kurbjuweit; London Rules, by Mick Herron; Thirteen, by Steve Cavanagh; Tombland by CJ Sansom; The House on Vesper Sands, by Paraic O’Donnell, and The Vogue, by Eoin McNamee.

Many, many more.

Stay tuned.

Poetry Wednesday: From Thomas McCarthy’s MERCHANT PRINCE (Anvil Press: London, 2005)

He Considers His Great Luck, 1812

(for Catherine)

The moment that is lost is hardly ever found again,
As this minute, as the century.
Your love when I found it there was a brief day
For the asking, but you and your Sisters
and the Ursulines home from Havre
Might easily have snatched you away again —

Most utterly loved woman, most Callanan-like.

Out of this harbor the unlicensed ships sail.
The wind catches them, the fingers of heaven.
Even the most skilled Master can only protect
But not bring home cinnamon, not profit.

One moment in my life I did sail beyond Roche’s Point
So that you might catch my sail, my merchant eye.

I have traded off your love all my life —
The way a Bishop, the way a good Prince ventures forth.

Thomas McCarthy was born in Co. Waterford and educated at University College, Cork. He has published six collections of poetry, two novels and a memoir.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Poetry Friday: Omagh Freezes

by Aine MacAodha, from her collection Landscape of Self (Belfast: Lapwing, 2015)

It was early November
I remember because of
How cold it was
A mini ice age it was said.
15 below zero; small towns
In the north stood still
Phone lines came down
From the weight of frost and snow
Burst pipes in the hundreds
And the drains unable to cope
Backed up.
I slid on the ice; tore ligaments
In my arm when I was helped up.
I feel the aches again as winter
Loiters like a threat.
Bones shudder under skin
A warning of another ice age to come.
It was the talk of the town all winter season
From the post office in market street
To the butchers in campsite
It was something different to talk about I suppose.

Aine MacAodha is from Omagh in County Tyrone.

Poetry Wednesday: Another From Tom MacIntyre

from the poem Return Visit (in the collection I Bailed Out at Ardee, which I discovered in a bookshelf in my unit at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig)

There’s a sign,
you that’s one for signs,

you’ve climbed the mountain,
gone into the wood
to touch the stones —

the stones can’t be found.

Scan the view.
Weigh the lean
mid-winter air.

That sapper’s mark
has its eye on me.

I stand there years,

then know-nothing,

Poetry Tuesday: Tom MacIntyre

DSCN0087

After hours and hours of straight writing, self takes a break by perusing her cottage’s bookshelves for poetry collections.

She finds a collection called I Bailed Out at Ardee (Dedalus), by Tom MacIntyre.

Excerpt from Father

My shoulder knows his coffin
best of all, I was
the one who wasn’t there.

Tom MacIntyre was born in Cavan.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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