Poetry at the Post: Post-Crash Irish Literature and Culture

I am the last woman off of the plane
that has crashed in a cornfield near Philly

“Inishmaan Gardens” by Eckhard Pecher. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons –


Date and Location: 27-28 May 2016, Hong Kong

In a 2003 Irish Times article, written at the height of the Irish economic boom and concerning the new trend for international publishers to set up shop in Ireland, editor Alison Walsh remarked upon a wider sense of expectation in the publishing world: “There is no great literary movement happening. […] There’s a feeling in the industry that we are waiting to see what happens next.” Few would have anticipated then that such a movement would come from the wreckage of that economic boom.

Following a period of prosperity, in 2008 Ireland entered recession, the first country in the Eurozone to do so. Popular unrest and anger followed. In the years since, Irish culture has been coming to terms with that economic downturn. Within literary and artistic domains, the crash has given rise to a range of new voices, and has served to re-shape old ones. Continuities with older periods of Irish cultural resurgence and emergence are central to this new flourishing. Perhaps the idea of “emergence” can itself capture this incipient wave in all its complexity. Emergence describes a process whereby qualitatively new configurations arise from more basic constituent parts. Irish cultural production of the last decade offers one intriguing case study for such a phenomenon, drawing its significance from a shared experience of boom and bust which has prompted multiple forms of aesthetic departure in unforeseen directions. We believe that such developments call for examination. How has new Irish writing been spurred on or bruised by recent historical events? If certain cultural products have not registered these changes, what allows them to remain cloistered? While Ireland is something of a poster girl for economic recovery, how have new forms of expression (both in English and Irish) dealt with the social and cultural anger and angst that accompanies this “recovery”?

“Trim Castle 6” by Andrew Parnell – Trim Castle. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons –

How have these new works figured a new Ireland, or presented an alternative to the public narrative? And if the idea of a “new Ireland” implies a misplaced unity, where can the cracks be found in this picture? After all, this literary and cultural movement, if we can use such a term, is transnational in nature; these writers and artists are part of an expanding diasporic community and their work resonates with communities experiencing similar transformations.

Gate of Wisdom, a 1987 bronze sculpture by Ju Ming,[30] standing outside of the University Library.
Gate of Wisdom, a 1987 bronze sculpture by Ju Ming,[30] standing outside of the University Library.”CUHK 仲門” by Skjackey tse – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons –
This conference seeks to explore the parameters of post-crash Irish literature and culture—temporally, geographically and stylistically—from its origins to its influences. We are particularly interested in papers which address the question of emergence, and which take a transnational or comparative approach to the Irish situation.

Possible topics for papers could include, but are not limited to:
• anger, responsibility, disillusion, culpability, blame, and activism in recent cultural products from, and about, Ireland
• the current publishing landscape in Ireland, from big to small, e.g. new magazines such as Gorse and The Penny Dreadful
• questions of periodization, demarcation, and tradition
• representations of recovery, reform, re-building
• the diaspora and the literature of the diaspora
• class, race, and immigration
• psychosis, mental health
• language, hegemony
• digital platforms/social media/multicultural online writing practices
• The relationship of the individual to the community
• Humorous and/or satirical responses to crash, recession and recovery
• Futurity and the future

Please send abstracts of 200 words for papers of twenty minutes to post.crash.emergence@gmail.com by December 15. We are also open to suggestions for panels and roundtable discussions.

Conference Organisers:
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Institute of Education
Hong Kong Shue Yan University

Conference Website: https://postcrashirishliteratureandculture.wordpress.com

Poetry at the Post: Moments of Becoming

Becoming a Redwood
Stand in a field long enough, and the sounds
start up again. The crickets, the invisible
toad who claims that change is possible,…


‘Moments of Becoming’ Conference


Moments of Becoming: Transitions and Transformations in Early Modern Europe

University of Limerick, Ireland, 20-21 November 2015.

The aim of this interdisciplinary conference is to explore the theme of ‘becoming’ in early modern European and Irish culture. The early modern period itself is often understood as a time of transition, but how did the people of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries experience periods of transformation/transition in their own lives and work, and how were these processes accomplished and accommodated? Conference papers will explore changes to personal, professional, religious or political identity and identifications, as well as understandings of transformations of state, status and nature more broadly.

"UniversityOfLimerick PlasseyHouse" by Lukemcurley - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia -
“UniversityOfLimerick PlasseyHouse” by Lukemcurley – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia –

Plenary Speakers: Professor Daniel Carey, Professor Raymond Gillespie, Professor Alison Rowlands.

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers on themes that might include:

Transition in religion and politics

Religious conversion
Alterations to political sympathies
Migration and naturalisation
Becoming a soldier, priest, rebel, martyr, hero or villain
Personal transformations

Acquiring competencies, skills or professional training
Social mobility, upwards or downwards
Becoming a parent
Rites of passage
Transition and the supernatural

Death and movement to the next world
Magical and miraculous transformations
Textual and performative transformations

Responses to societal transitions in poetry and prose
Transforming texts via translation, printing or performance
The use of space and material culture in ceremonial/ritual contexts

Please submit an abstract of about 250 words to Richard Kirwan (Richard.Kirwan@ul.ie) or Clodagh Tait (Clodagh.Tait@mic.ul.ie) before 10th July 2015.

This conference will occur under the auspices of the Limerick Early Modern Forum of the University of Limerick and Mary Immaculate College. The conference is funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme. The organisers plan to publish a volume of essays drawn from the conference papers.

Organisers: Dr Liam Chambers (MIC), Dr Michael J. Griffin (UL), Dr Richard Kirwan (UL), Dr Clodagh Tait (MIC).

Poetry at the Post: It’s Going To Be All About Ireland in South Dakota!

Behind the Plow
I look in the turned sod
for an iron bolt that fell
from the plow frame
and find instead an arrowhead…

A harvest in South Dakota in 1898
A harvest in South Dakota in 1898

Call for Papers

The 31st Annual Meeting
 of the
 American Conference for Irish Studies Western Regional “Ireland: Memory and Monument” Rapid City, South Dakota October 16-18, 2015

Submissions due July 1, 2015 to aciswest2015@gmail.com

We invite you to join us in Rapid City, South Dakota for the 31st annual ACIS-West conference. This interdisciplinary conference features a range of scholarly panels, lectures, readings, exhibits, and performances. We welcome papers on any aspect of Irish studies, including literature, theatre, film, dance, history, economics, sociology, music, religion, politics, language, culture, diaspora, conflict and border studies, the material and visual arts, and comparative studies. We particularly encourage papers and panels that explore the theme of “Ireland: Memory and Monument.”

Topics may include, but are not limited to, Official forms of commemoration, like statues, plaques, monuments, parades, ceremonies, holidays, as well as their reappropriation Contested memorials and counter-memorials Buried or erased memories; modes of forgetting Private versus collective/public memory Memorialization and the sacred Geography and regional or local memory Literary and artistic commemorations Transnational memory (e.g. the Irish diaspora, immigrants to Ireland) The business of commemoration: tourism, financing, the media We welcome not only papers that consider the question of the memorialization within Ireland, but also comparative work that addresses Irish intersections with the global circulation and preservation of memory.

A South Dakota farm during the Dust Bowl, 1936
A South Dakota farm during the Dust Bowl, 1936

The conference features keynote speaker David C. Lloyd, Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, and keynote performer Donal O’Kelly, award-winning playwright and actor who will stage his play Fionnuala for conference participants. Western South Dakota, home to some of the nation’s most famous and contested monuments and counter-monuments, provides a rich site in which to explore the preservation and politics of memory. Downtown Rapid City, founded during a gold rush in the 1870s, is steeped in history—statues of U.S. presidents grace every corner, and stories of the Lakota are told through commemorative plaques and statues—while also boasting a lively arts and music scene, restaurants, shopping, and nightlife.

The conference will take place at the historic Hotel Alex Johnson, which appears on the National Register of Historic Places, has hosted six U.S. Presidents, and is also said to be haunted. The conference organizers invite you to explore Rapid City, “The Gateway to the Black Hills,” as well as its many nearby attractions, including Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, the historic Black Hills 1880 Train, the city of Deadwood, the Badlands National Park, and the Devil’s Tower. Please submit your proposal by July 1, 2015 to aciswest2015@gmail.com.

Panoramic view of Sixth and Main Streets in Rapid City, ca. 1912
Panoramic view of Sixth and Main Streets in Rapid City, ca. 1912

Individual paper and panel submissions (3-4 participants) are welcome, as are proposals for live performances, dramatic readings, poster presentations, or exhibits. Individual proposals should be 250-500 words in length and include a brief biographical statement for the submitter (50 words). In the case of panel proposals, live performances, dramatic readings, posters, or exhibits, please submit a rationale (250-500 words), as well as biographical statements for each of the presenters.

To recognize undergraduate research in Irish Studies, we will also organize a special undergraduate panel at the conference, and we encourage exceptional undergraduate students to submit individual paper proposals. For more information, visit https://aciswest.wordpress.com/

Poetry at the Post: The Travels of an Accordion

Урок по акордеон * by Alice-Catherine Jennings, as translated from the English by Dimana Ivanova

Те се вмъкнаха в ретро колата и седнаха на предните й места.

Това беше времето, което прекарваха заедно всяка

Oaxaca skyline photo credit: John Jennings
Oaxaca skyline
photo credit: John Jennings

To see your work in print in your own language is pretty great but to see it transformed into another language is totally awesome.

“Accordion Lesson” began as a response to a  prompt: ‘Write something from your childhood.” Uh oh! I really did not want to walk down the stairs to that dark basement of memories yet I felt committed to the exercise.

In Oaxaca, Mexico to study Spanish, I was feeling removed from my life in the States, and even more so from my life as a child growing up in Ohio. I was stumped. One morning on my way to the university, I found a connection—the acordeonistas of Oaxaca.

Yes, I admit it. I played an accordion as a child—for about 5 years. My accordion was big, emerald green with a tiny diamond in the center to  mark the middle C. I was a tall, skinny kid and the accordion overwhelmed my body.

My green accordion has traveled far via this poem—from Oaxaca to publication in Ireland and south to Bratislava, where my translator, Dimana Ivanova, currently lives.  Dimana, is not only a scholar and translator but also a poet. Here are the opening lines of her lovely poem “Come.” You can find the full poem is on her website. 

Come by Dimana Ivanova

Translated from Bulgarian by Katerina Stoykova-Klemer

Come and enter my soft sorrow,

with a velvet tail of silver!

Enter me like a gray fox,

enter and run tenderly on my flesh,

*”Accordion Lesson” was first published in Boyne Berries,  March 2014

Accordion Lesson by Alice-Catherine Jennings

They slip into the front seat of the station

wagon. This is their time together