Poetry Ireland Review Issue 105 Editorial

Issue 105

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 105 :

Edited by John F Deane
Includes poems by Michael Longley, Patrick Cotter, Gabriel Rosenstock, Catherine M Brennan, Isabelle Cartwright and Tom French; alongside translations by Gabriel Rosenstock and Robert Bly, an interview with James Harpur, Gabriel Rosenstock’s essay ‘Aspects of Irish-Language Poetry’ and reviews of Ezra Pound, Ruth Fainlight and Kerry Hardie.


I want to re-order the running of Poetry Ireland Review for the issues I will edit, to make it more reader-friendly by taking the reviews from clustering towards the end and integrating them more fully with the poems. It is still strange how many poems coming in make it clear that the writers are not up to speed with contemporary practice in poetry; there are more writers of poetry than readers. Placing reviews among the new poems will, I hope, emphasise the value of reviews; poetry needs them, but the reviews must be serious and well-intentioned and that, sadly, is not always the case in this country.

I want to have a special feature in each issue. In this, my first venture, I have been in a position to get material from Thomas R Smith, editor of the letters of Robert Bly and the new Nobel Laureate, Tomas Tranströmer. There is a large correspondence as these two great poets translated one another over a number of years, into English, into Swedish. Interest in this correspondence was not there, until now! So none of this has yet been published, and this is the first taste of what is to come. The letters selected here focus on two of Tranströmer’s poems, and one of Bly’s; the sequence presented offers, firstly, three new poems by Bly for Poetry Ireland Review, a short introduction to the letters, the letters themselves that incorporate comments on the translations, and a combined essay on the prose poem. I follow this by presenting the final published version of the three poems discussed, and then three new poems for PIR by Thomas R Smith. The feature, then, offers new work, thoughts on the challenges of translation, thoughts on the prose poem form.

Each issue I edit will also incorporate two further features, an interview with a poet who has a new collection due or just published, and an introduction to a poet who is not well-known in this country and whose work I think is of value. This time the introduction is to Dragan Dragojlovic ́ who lives in Belgrade and is in the fine line of Serbian poets, from Vasko Popa, Ivan V Lalic ́ through Miodrag Pavlovic ́ and others, offering a rich and different perspective on the world. Along with this will be the normal mix of new work by both established and emerging poets, by established and emerging reviewers.

It is a delight for me to see that Poetry Ireland Review has survived into its thirtieth year and is highly respected not only in this country but far afield. One of the sources of this strength is the ongoing commitment of the staff at Poetry Ireland to develop poetry in this country; the Review has, then, a strong backup team to keep it alive. Another source of its strength is the rotating editorship; may the Review never get mired in cliquishness or navel-gazing; I take it as an honour to be editing for the next number of issues.

- John F Deane, December 2011


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