Poetry Ireland Review Issue 29 Editorial
Poetry Ireland Review Issue 29 :
I think the primary purpose of a journal such as this is to provide a showcase for new poetry. For some, it is a way of displaying work in progress and for others, an opportunity to test the ground. I believe that this issue has a fine array of new poems, ranging from some of the best-known poets to at least one who is publishing a first poem.
Another function of a poetry periodical is to serve as a forum for those interested in the art of poetry. This means that the articles, the interviews, the reviews and the rediscoveries of poets can play a significant role in the process of choosing the canon of a tradition with all the ambiguities and the inherent dangers that implies. As has often been pointed out, most of the poems eventually find their way into collections and possibly the most enduring aspect of a journal like this will be its essays. At any rate, I hope there is much of interest in Number 29.
It is a great privilege to include an interview with the American poet Louis Simpson, whose new book In The Room We Share was published in April last. There are two new poems of his in this issue.
Robert Pinsky, whose latest collection The Want Bone was published in May, has very kindly contributed his essay, The Poet in the Faubourg Jewish, and his translation of the Yiddish poet Halpern's elegy for Peretz, a major figure in that tradition.
Thomas McCarthy continues our poet at work series with his piece called Poet as Librarian. Dennis O'Driscoll has contributed a major re-assessment of Padraic Fallon's work and Sean Dunne shares with us his enthusiasm for the Scottish poet Kenneth White.
In view of the controversy that naturally follows the publication of any anthology, I thought it important to obtain as objective an assessment as possible, ideally from a non-practitioner, of The Penguin Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry. Augustine Martin, Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at University College Dublin, readily agreed to
review the book in this spirit and his contribution to the debate appears in this issue.
We also have a review of Thomas Kinsella's Personal Places and Poems from Centre City and Seamus Heaney's Selected Poems by Douglas Sealy. Tom Halpin surveys a number of recently published books.
I'm afraid several others which I would like to have sent for review arrived too late for possible inclusion in this issue, including books by James Liddy, Eithne Strong, Rita Kelly and Hugh O'Donnell. I will pass all the books received to the incoming editor.
Once this issue was full, contributions which reached the Poetry Ireland office before the end of June were returned without being considered for publication.
Any work sent from the end of June onwards will be dealt with by the new editor.
I have enjoyed editing the Review and I hope I have given some service to the trade. A knowledge of what is happening in the poetry of other cultures has always been of importance to me and my only regret on leaving the editorship is that there wasn't any issue devoted to the poetry of another culture during my time. As the Director of Poetry Ireland had proposed the Franco-Irish issue under a guest editor, I didn't consider one and, unfortunately, that special issue fell through.
Due to the wealth of material available for this issue, I have been allowed a bonus of some thirty pages. The Director of Poetry Ireland hopes that this, along with the ninety-page Scottish Supplement due with PIR 30, will compensate for the missing issue.
My thanks to all who contributed. I am grateful to Theo Dorgan, Director of Poetry Ireland, and Pat Boran, Administrator, for their help and co-operation, I wish my successor, Maire Mhac an tSaoi, a good journey!