Poetry Ireland Review Issue 2 Editorial

Issue 2

Poetry Ireland Review Issue 2 :

Edited by John Jordan


The first issue of PIR has been, so I am told, a success, in so far as a magazine devoted to verse can ever be a success in this land. At a POETRY IRELAND session held at St Enda's, Rathfarnham, on 12 June, at which Eavan Boland and Frank Ormsby were the readers, I was called upon to "introduce" the Review: I affirmed my belief that editors, ideally, should neither be seen nor heard, since they were open to intimidation, contamination, and commination, - or words to that effect. (The reading was graced by the presence of Nora Clarke, her husband's helpmate for forty-four years: 'Pleasant, my Nora, on a May morning to drive ...' The only poets I identified in the audience were Richard Murphy and Gabriel Rosenstock). Very seriously, literary editors, unless they are ruthless and farouche, are sitting ducks in a city where, for better or for worse, so many people aspire to write. That is one problem. Another is that in Dublin, at least, (but probably elsewhere as well) there is a bizarre notion that the publication of even the slimmest of volumes confers on the poet in question a regal status. The editor is thus on one side chivied by aspirants who avail of Dublin's notorious easiness of manner (which some might call bad manners) and on the other oppressed by awareness of all those waiting to be asked. For myself I have to decide whom to ask and when: an editor of a "little" magazine, even one as long in the tooth as myself, has eventually to eat humble pie. But, as indicated, there is a limit to solicitation.

It will be noted that this issue does not contain biographical notes. I made the decision not to have them on the grounds that they consume valuable space. If any reader wants information about any poet he can either find it in a reference book, or write to me, including of course an S.A.E. And I might add that I could count on one hand the number of S.A.E.s I have received since I took on the job .... . I suspect that some poor souls subconsciously do not wish to see again verses they fear may be rejected. And very few are willing to accept even the mildest criticism.

It is not, in my opinion, the business of an editor to proclaim the quality of his wares: although at St Enda's I felt justified in drawing attention to the importance in PIR 1 of Austin Clarke's 'The Frenzy of Sweeny', the play being in effect a paradigm of the poet's own life, and Seamus Heaney's 'The Names of the Hare' since it represents for him a wholly new direction. In this issue I find especially interesting Anthony Cronin's new direction and I am titillated by Frank Corcoran's German version of Gabriel Rosenstock's Gaelic boutade. I hope others will join in the language game.


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