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EXPERIMENTAL POPULISM

Paul Durcan and the Survival of Irish poetry.
Literary criticism by Dave Lordan

 

 

 

Dave Lordan

Dave Lordan was born in Derby, England, in 1975, and grew up in Clonakilty in West Cork. In 2004 he was awarded an Arts Council bursary and in 2005 he won the Patrick Kavanagh Award for Poetry. His collections are The Boy in the Ring (Cliffs of Moher, Salmon Poetry, 2007), which won the Strong Award for best first collection by an Irish writer and was shortlisted for the Irish Times poetry prize; and Invitation to a Sacrifice (Salmon Poetry, 2010). Eigse Riada theatre company produced his first play, Jo Bangles, at the Mill Theatre, Dundrum in 2010. He has lived in Holland, Greece and Italy, and now resides in Greystones, Co Wicklow.

 

 

 

 

 

...it is difficult to tell ability by anything other than survival

Peter Adolphsen, Machine

 

We are living in a high-stress era of crisis, transition and change, as full of disappointments, frustrations, confusions and anxieties as it is of hope and possibilities. Old ways and old intelligence no longer fit the rapidly and unpredictably evolving reality. At every level and in every sphere of human affairs not least in literature and publishing new ways of thinking and new ways of doing are being sought and developed by the young, the innovative, the fully alert to the moment. How precisely our era's massive global economic and social reorganization, occurring in synthesis with unprecedented technological change, will impact on the form, content, distribution and reception of literature is of course impossible to predict. But that the impact will be transformational, and that it is already well under way, is surely self-evident.  For certain, those writers who do not react, relate and adapt to the depth and the speed of current social and technological change risk fading away overnight into total irrelevance.

 

Paul Durcan is poet who threw himself into an earlier and inspirational phase of Irish and of global and of literary change. Such change is always a double-movement, away from what no longer works and what we can no longer believe in, and towards new ideas and new practices. The depth of our repudiation of the old is often matched by the passion of our attachment to the replacing, resurrectional new. One cannot read the autobiographical accounts of mystics and faith-founders, from St Augustine through to Leon Trotsky, without being struck at how the strength of their rejection of evil, as they saw it, propelled an equally powerful allegiance to mythopoetic utopias. Durcan’s courageous public-artistic rejection of violent, repressive, collectivist, conservative Ireland was as passionate and as beautiful and as necessary as the creed of any purging saint. His visionary, surrealist utopia, filled with free and uniquely expressive individuals freely loving one another, is as luminously attractive a world as any I have come across in revolutionary literature.

 

A forest fire sweeps through and burns everything black and dead. For a while nothing moves in the woods but smoke and mist. Nothing but embers. Nothing but a sighing wind. Nothing but sad, transparent phantoms. All is lost. Nothing left do to but mourn, regret, and weep the bitter, inconsolable tears of regret. Then, as if by miracle, new shoots rise from the black decay, shimmering and beautiful in the light of the dawn that calls forth and nurtures them. The new saplings and flowers are different and exotic compared to the burnt away birches and oaks, the regal, long established trees that once unquestionably ruled the woods but now are humus. Yet the new ecosystem develops from the decayed matter of the old, reshaping it while adapting to the changed environment. Like so do novel human ideas, creeds, and movements in the arts and in society rise from the generations of collapse, from the fertile decay of old systems.

 

Before anyone decides to hop up and down about the notion that literary practices are ideological as well as closely related to technological and social contexts let me point out that both secular and Christian humanism are ideologies, that the book is a technology, and that mass literacy combined with mass passivity and alienation is the social context in which the humanistic page has held its long, but far from permanent, literary reign.

 

As a teenager, like many teenagers, I was in desperate need of a new faith to replace the old and decaying ones I had been born to but could not believe in because they made no sense to me and could not help me to live and grow. One of the places I looked for a creed was in the intense, inventive and brilliantly varied alternative music scene of the 1980s. Through the likes of Robert Smith, Morrissey, Nick Cave, Jim Morrison and Frank Black I learned to worship originality, individuality, sincerity and speaking from the heart, and to associate all these things with the highest standards of artistic genius. My favourite bands were pathbreaking innovators, but they wanted to be heard too, to passionately engage a conscious mass audience. They believed in the existence of large, dynamic, intelligent public which they sought by addressing its collective concerns in their particular work, and they found it. In other words, I found them only because they came looking for me. They passed their inspiration on. They were all experimental populists. It’s no coincidence then that they were all also interested in and inspired by the experimental populist vein in international literature. In line with my obsessive crush on them all, I read all the books they mentioned in interviews.

 

My grandmother had taught me to read at the age of three from the Old Testament. I was famous in the neighborhood for being able to read from the Southern Star and the Examiner before even having started schoola trick I often performed for the neighbours at the behest of my father. But I gave up reading and books at the age of six or seven, except for the occasional comic. To be honest, I spent so much time hiding out in my imagination that I didn’t have any need for books in those years. Now, at fourteen, thanks to alternative rock, I found myself being enchanted, thrilled, and inspired by immersion in the literary tradition of the international cultural underground. I read Henry Miller and Dostoyevsky, Allen Ginsberg and Albert Camus, John Fowles and Jean Cocteau, Kerouac and Kafka. In doing so all the doors in my head were blown wide open and I was spiritually and intellectually remade.

 

By the time I got to UCC on October 1992 to study English, I knew what I definitely wanted to be, a rebel poet, whatever the hell that might mean. And it was in UCC that I first came across the poetry of Paul Durcan, the raver from Mayo, ecstatic trickster, shrine-maker of the shining margins of our land.

 

I discovered the transcendence of Paul Durcan’s poetry at about the same time as I discovered the transcendence of dancing in Sir Henry’s and the transcendence of sexual love with my first real girlfriend. So, the poems of Paul Durcan’s inspirational period, from the mid 70s to the late 80s, remain burnished in my memory as part of a collage named Liberation, Development, Experiment and Discovery.

 

This isn’t an attempt at an objective critique of the work of Paul Durcan, no more than I could be objective about my first true love, or about the nomadic and bohemian rave culture I plunged into along with the luckiest mindbodies of my Cork generation. The effect of Paul Durcan on me was far from objective. He spoke to and inspired me at a time when I most needed to be spoken to and inspired. I owe him the sincerity, and the risk, of a personal response to his work.

 

Yet my subjective being arises out of the objective and the dead, the monstrous cold of history. My person is an historical person, (as well as a creature of billion year old drives, and of the mysterious imagination). Let us return briefly to the notion of the double movement of change, and locate it historically, in our own place and time, so that we can view with greater clarity the context in which I became entranced by the poems of Paul Durcan.

 

In periods of large scale social transformation such double movements of change away from and towards can take place across a whole society. Since the 1960s, and accelerating since the early 1990s, such a period has been taking place in Ireland. By and large we have rejected the faith and ways of our fathers during this time. At long last, the Roman mass has ended, although our mental liberation from the church has not yet been completed by our bodily freedom. Medieval doctrine still stands in dark-robed triumph over the corpses of women in our hospitals, for example.

 

And we have not yet to any degree entered the second movement, the movement of rebirth and renovation, of the construction of new ideas and values suited to our own time and experience and that could drive our society forward, as Renaissance culture drove society forward after humanity’s emergence from a previous dark age. Instead, what we often have is the old returning in new guises with a multiplicity of ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ religions emerging in Ireland, from Buddhism to African Evangelism. Besides this, the personal liberation of the 1960s and 70s has been corporately recast into the individualist consumerism of our own day. Freedom isn’t in our actions or philosophies anymore, but is a brand of anything you please and you can buy it on credit on Grafton Street.

 

Cultural critics of the reactionary right cast a negative light on our national loss of religion and obeisance. They argue that the narcissistic, pleasure-seeking consumerism that has in large part replaced the sado-theocratic collectivism of the 1920s to the 1970s is worse. They long for the days of the strap and the bamboo stick. They prefer castor oil to tiramisu, and the self-flagellation of the whip to the self-orgasming of the vibrator. They argue that we are collectively doomed by the limited individual freedoms that the uncompleted social and cultural struggles of the 1960s and 70s tenuously won for us.

 

If we had actually reached the end of history, if the current neo-liberal order were the permanent replacement for the previous neo-medieval one, the right would have a stronger argument. Deepening economic inequality is restricting the freedom of more and more individuals by the minute. However, time knows nothing permanent. The story of old Ireland isn’t over just yet. Ireland isn’t fixed and finished now, but is in ongoing and unpredictable flux in the context of a global transformation. So the moment we are going through isn’t some kind of historical terminus, although it may justifiably seem so to many feeling stuck in it. It’s more of a stop at which we have been delayed for some time due to lack of power on the line to drive us forward. Ireland will metamorphose once again, terribly or otherwise none can say. 

 

But we can safely predict that the nature of the next phase will develop from the substance of the response of the social majority to our common contemporary crisis. If the majority the 99 percent as the Occupy movement denotes them continue to passively accept the economic policies which are deepening social inequality and rigidifying social hierarchy, then the future will certainly be more authoritarian and less liberal for most people than the present is. If, on the other hand, the majority awake and begin to try and actively shape a better future for themselves, then tomorrow may well be a whole lot freer than today. It’s all to play for yet. A living Irish poetry will surely have to relate to the metamorphoses of Ireland’s future, just as Durcan’s related so well in form, content, and delivery to the metamorphoses of Ireland’s recent and yet palpable past.

 

Durcan is the great recorder of the first part of our uncompleted double movement of liberation. This is the exhilarating movement of rejection, rejection of the brute and petty minded theocratic capitalism of mid-20th century Ireland, and repudiation along with it of fixed and fixing notions of morality and personal and sexual identity. No wonder Durcan’s best poems are so often great whirlwinds of motion, full of flux and exchange and transformation, where we are no longer sure what’s what, where’s where, who’s who and what it all means anymore. His poetry is our best individual artistic record of this recent period of spiritual revolt and radical questioning. It is a revolt in which I and many, many others have partaken, which explains why Durcan’s work chimes so widely. It had a particular chiming with me because, when I first encountered it, I was at the most intense and critical period of own personal rebellion, my own double movement of liberation, away from my asphyxiating small town past, and towards the utopian, bohemian internationalism of cult literature and far left politics.

 

Paul Durcan doesn’t detest the clergy, as the far left and radical writers most often do his is certainly not a poetry of detestation but it is obvious he was repulsed by theocratic repression of sexuality and love. He certainly mocked the clergy at a time when it was not advantageous to do so in Ireland. The mockery, while comedic, was sometimes laced with a devilish cruelty. It was a kind of counter-sadism, at times, employing surrealistic hybrids and juxtaposition and paratactic narrative and image constructions in a highly intelligent, highly political manner. In 'High Speed Car Wash' two nuns are peeping toms watching a couple "flowing into one another like Christ flowing into the cross", the sadistic transforming into the erotic in this image. The positioning of the nuns as perverts and the juxtaposition of their celibacy with the frenzied lovemaking at a garage today we would call it dogging undermines the clergy in two ways. Firstly, it makes visible the hidden but organic connections between sexual regulation and sexual perversity, between the sadist and the moral guardian. You can’t regulate desire without forcing it into hiding, without cruelly punishing and restraining.

 

The other and more hopeful revelation contained in this excellent poem is the ultimate  and indeed comical powerlessness of the sex Pharisees, who, in the end can do nothing to stop the lovers from loving wherever they want, whoever they want, however they want:

 

As we drove off, the car was dripping wet

the two nuns in black gleaming in the sun

each with, in her hands behind her back,

a rolled up red umbrella twirling to and fro.

 

A third and connected point of note about this 'High Speed Car Wash' is how the poet positions himself (or at least positions the male lover who is the protagonist of the poem) as the one who is watching the detectives, as the true moral agent responsible for bringing the crimes of the oppressor-guardians before the court of progressive human culture: "I saw two nuns/ peering in the back seat of my new Peugeot/ they were not aware that I could see them".

 

Durcan’s populist deployment of surrealism was a great breakthrough for Irish poetry, though it had been pioneered elsewhere by the likes of Adrian Mitchell and the Beats. It allowed him arrange symbols and images with a far greater deal of originality, and to greater creative effect, than writers in either mythical or realist poetic modes (both of which rely on fixed symbolic orders) are typically able to. Surrealism works best when the writer or artist avoids descending into gibberish by skillfully combining elements of familiarity and unfamiliarity with the aim of maximizing the connotative quotient of the work. Employing this open, generative and (especially) participative approach to meaning production means that in the best works of surrealism everyone who looks sees a different picture, and sees a different picture every time they look. Multiple and un-predeterminable meanings are suggested in the encountering mind. Surrealism treats both its materials and its audience uniquely, offering a distinct aesthetic experience to each individual. Durcan was a master of this technique. We enjoy him because he does it the way no-one else is doing it, and because he makes us into partners in creation through the connotative openness much of his best work. Durcan’s reader is an active, happy, engaged reader, very much a participant in the dance of the imagination initiated by his most spirited poems.

 

It should be pointed out that Durcan is uncomfortable with being categorized as a surrealist, although the influence of surrealism is pervasive and obvious throughout his oeuvre. Of course, he is more than a surrealist. Also, I’d concede  that Durcan is not a surrealist at all in the sense that Shakespeare is not a writer of sonnets. I mean in the sense that he is an exceptional and brilliant one.

 

Surrealism is one of the currents in 20th century culture which delivered far less than it promised. It has been smothered to a large extent by a combination of a mass of sub-standard practitioners with its association, at least in the public mind, with the modus operandi of one rather limited artist: Salvador Dali. To gain a truer understanding of the term, and how we can relate it generally to Paul Durcan and other radical contemporary writers, we need to go back to the  original surrealists like André Breton, who, explaining the need for a new kind of literature and art, wrote that his decadent society had "proscribed every way of seeking the truth which does not conform to convention". In its essence then, surrealism is an unconventional way of trying to get at the truths of the self and the world, and it is made necessary by the fact that conventional ways in politics, literature, religion and across the whole of an exhausted culture no longer seem interested in or capable of telling it, and in fact are means of obscuring, denying and killing it. Surrealism, then, an artistic faith if ever there was one, was also born in dialectical double movement, with the strong rejection of the old propelling the artistic ‘antennae of the race’ towards new creeds of their own invention. Durcan certainly does not believe in surrealism as a political-artistic religion in the way that André Breton and his early followers did. However, Durcan does make use of techniques the 1930s true believers pioneered. To argue otherwise might justifiably be deemed surrealist.

 

*****

 

Back now to the hate of the world I grew up in, the powering hate that drove me to strange foreign music, later to literature. I hated the caged animal faith of the men of our sub-proletarian neighbourhood, their belief in brute strength and hard work (a faith which got stronger the less chance they had of gainful employment) and hard drink and hard gambling. And hard luck and hard prejudices and inflexible loyalties to even harder men who towered over them with giant hurleys that were also the giant Gatlings that put their grandfathers down in 1923. Hard everything. The hard religion. Their chalice was the sledgehammer held aloft, about to smash and crack. Their pomp and ritual and even their crucifixions took place on Sunday afternoons in the pub. But I was soft. I couldn’t make myself hard like these men who choked everything feminine within them. These men whom nobody loved, whom nobody, least of all themselves, gave a hot snot about. Inevitably, in my unguided teenage years, I tried to be hard in their image, having no other image to try for. I tried drinking and fighting and manual labour and I failed at all three, I’m glad to admit. I am what I am because of these serendipitous failures to act out the pre-determined script of my social destiny. Using my softness to be hard, my "feminine" intelligence and creativity to escape my fatal inheritance, was the only adaptive option I had left.

 

So I loved Paul Durcan for his mocking rejection of rural machismo and his embrace of and identification with the transgressive, visionary "feminine" in poems like 'The Haulier's Wife Meets Jesus on the Road Near Moone':

 

My soul is empty for the want of affection.

I am married to a haulier,

A popular and a wealthy man,

An alcoholic and a county councillor,

Father with me of four sons,

By repute a sensitive man and he is

Except when he makes love to me:

He takes leave of his senses,

Handling me as if I were a sack of gravel

Or a carnival dummy,

A fruit machine or a dodgem ...

 

What Durcan often pointed to as the murderous root of the evil of our time was not theocratic authoritarianism or rural brutism per se, (though, naturally for a rebelling Irishman of the mid to late 20th century this is what his satire focuses on). Beyond this his work also includes a deeper and more globally relevant critique of a system of inflexible and barbaric hierarchy which fixes and imprisons desiring individuals within narrow exploitable confines and genocidally quashes those who differ and dissent.

 

In 'Margaret Thatcher Joins the IRA' Durcan asserts the essential mirror-identity of war machines, particularly those in conflict with each other, no matter what the flag they wear:

 

In a ritual ceremony in a fairy ring fort ....

 

Margaret Thatcher joined the IRA

And the IRA joined Margaret Thatcher.

 

Against both the murderous Brits and the counter-murderous guerillas Durcan proposes allegiance to ( an idealised version of ) Theobald Wolfe Tone who "was a thoroughgoing dissenter", a line in which Durcan may still place himself, I suppose. Durcan’s equivalence (at least) of the British Empire, which has invaded all but twenty-two of the world’s countries, oppressed hundreds of millions and murdered tens of millions on the one hand, with the provincial guerillas of the IRA on the other, does not stand up to much thought or scrutiny on a world-historical scale. He reacted to the unfolding tragedy of the North with the heart and the gut, but not so much with the intellect, and understandably so. It was when he moved away from raw and emotional Ould Ireland altogether in 'The Death by Heroin of Sid Vicious' that a more penetrating critical intelligence shone through. Perhaps this is Durcan’s clearest, truest and greatest poem:

 

The Death by Heroin of Sid Vicious

 

There but for the clutch of luck go I.

 

           At daybreak in the arctic fog of a February daybreak

Shoulder-length helmets in the watchtowers of the concentration camp

Caught me out in the intersecting arcs of the swirling searchlights.

 

There were at least a zillion of us caught out there
Like ladybirds under a boulder
But under the microscope each of us was unique,

 

Unique and we broke for cover, crazily breasting

The barbed wire and some of us made it

To the forest edge, but many of us did not

 

Make it, although their unborn children did

Such as you whom the camp commandant branded

Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols. Jesus, break his fall:

 

There but for the clutch of luck go we all.

 

Here Durcan leaves Ireland behind for an encounter with the dark specters of nihilism in global history and contemporary youth culture. For me, the camp commandant stands for any unjust power that imprisons and selects, brands, homogenises  and destroys. Sid Vicious stands for all who have been purposefully branded by power, and who have played a role in accepting and promoting their own branding. In this he is in the same category as the branded hard chaws of rural Ireland, whose deaths by drink-driving, by turpentine mistaken for *poitín in the shed, by cirrhosis and by throttling vomit are a combination of murder and suicide, as Sid Vicious’s death was. *(Editor’s note for foreign readers: poitin– in Ireland, illicitly distilled alcohol, moonshine.)

 

The ladybirds of the poem, uniform and easily slaughtered in the glare of the spotlight, assume individuality in closer inspection, under the microscope. The poet’s role might be to focus the microscope of consciousness, to show clear images of individual uniqueness and beauty, to return the specificity of each individual being and the essential beauty of individual difference to the centre of human thought and morality.

 

Some of the ladybirds make it, some of them don’t. The difference is luck. But also perhaps strength, though luck has also played its role in the distribution of strength. Some of the ladybirds are lucky enough to be stronger and fitter than others, they can run faster, they can climb more determinedly, they can make their way out of the camp of death. Which leads us to the central social and existential question of our time (or of any time of catastrophe and unavoidable transformation) which the poem gracefully and tantalisingly leaves up the reader to try and answer: should the strong and lucky keep moving and save themselves and "their unborn children" or should we go back and try and help the weak along, at the risk of all being placed in the firing line? Shall it be Nietzsche or Christ to guide us? (Personally, I think it depends on what we are talking about; I’m for Christ and Gramsci in the social realm, and for Satan, Blake, and Nietzsche in the realm of art.)

 

 

'The Death by Heroin of Sid Vicious' is a great poem, as succinct in its expression as it is infinite in its reverberations. The more one thinks on it, the deeper it gets. If it was the only poem Durcan had ever written he would still be among our greatest poets.

 

However, Durcan famously lays a poem a day, and some critics have taken issue with what they see as his overproduction, with the many average and occasionally mediocre poems which threaten to obscure his overall achievement. A more sympathetic approach might see Durcan’s inability to clip and cut, his inability to repress his own weakling work, as a further enactment of the democratic and all inclusive philosophy his outpouring poetry seeks to express and to embody. Walt Whitman, another great poetic liberator, and the man whose flexible, performative and breath-measured long-line, conversational diction, and visionary social inclusiveness have served as a basic DNA for the democratising poet ever since, seems to have been similarly compelled to publish everything he wrote. Wordsworth and Coleridge wrote reams of crap, as well as their classics. Although it might be thought indecent to set it in writing, it’s considered obligatory to point out in pub conversation that much of Patrick Kavanagh’s poetic output is substandard on many different counts. Yet critical attitudes to all these have by and large been more forgiving of the excess.

 

On the other hand, it would be obsequious not to admit that Durcan’s work has suffered a steep artistic decline since the publication of the selected A Snail in My Prime in 1993—certainly the book to start with for new readers looking to explore Durcan. Also, in retrospect, it can be admitted that Durcan’s often gentle and comedic satire, though it helped undermine the theocracy, was not equal to the savage iniquity of the bishops and the political mafia who still, despite the fact that no one believes in them anymore, rule Ireland. It will take some combination of De Sade, Pasolini, and Bret Easton Ellis, with a dash of Swift at his most vicious, to come close to the abyssal cruelty and heartlessness of the ruling class of the Irish Republic. Deepening and sharpening Durcan’s critique is an open and uncompleted task for future Irish satirists with the fire and the guts and the talent to go for it.

 

However, let’s not forget or seek to deny Durcan’s seminal and pathbreaking achievement. Durcan managed radical stylistic and thematic innovations, within the context of the Irish tradition, while at same time reaching a popular audience and refreshing the image and reception of poetry among the general public. No one should underestimate the importance of this achievement to both the present and the future of Irish poetry.

 

In Durcan’s hands poetry become a method of personal and political liberation rather than a narrowband "CB"-style conversation between intellectuals determined that no one should overhear them or break their code—to discover perhaps that nothing of consequence, even to the poets concerned, is under discussion. His poetry moved towards public engagement in a period when many of his contemporaries were retreating into high mythologising, theological hankering, and the marginal comfort zone. Failures are inevitable when risks are taken and one thing that is undeniable about southern Irish poetry is that it has not failed half enough of late. Durcan’s failures have done more for Irish poetry than many a safer, more equilibrious poet’s triumphs ever have.

 

In conclusion, Durcan is a model experimental populist, and it is experimental populism, wide open to risks and to failure, and to trying again and again to fail better, that may steer poetry away from the desiccated margins and into the living, surging flood of existence where Durcan guided it. Durcan was among the few contemporary Irish writers I encountered in my youth whose work was both politically fearless and artistically inspiring. The others included Pat Ingoldsby and Gerry Murphy, but Durcan has managed a much greater public impact then these over a longer period. There might be a highfalutin temptation to dismiss poetry which achieves the kind of popularity and general airing that Durcan’s has, but such contempt, I believe, is often made up of one part envy, and two parts incapacity. Writers might be well advised to learn from Durcan’s groundbreaking ability to reach a mass audience without sacrificing artistic standards, rather than consoling their own marginality with a rosary of his failures. His methods including especially his combination of themes of national public relevance, comprehensible yet unpredictable narrative writing, and continual touring and broadcasting of his work offer us an inspirational example of how poetry can survive and go forward in the multimedia age. This is an age when the potential audience for poetry which wants a public is larger, easier to reach and more widespread than ever before. It is also an age when the life support system for academically styled and oriented poetry is being withdrawn as arts subsidies decline, as publishing reorganizes to face the pageless centuries ahead, and as corporate demands on third level education gradually but inevitably erode the conditions of existence of the academic-habitat poet and of the liberal intelligentsia in general. Humachinism, rather than humanism, is shaping the new era. We'd better get used to it.

 

The Irish poet of the future is a Durcanian poet, a multimedia, performative, publicly relevant, artistically original hyper-poet, freely able to roam and survive in the slums and the suburbs and the clubs, able to confidently present her work in a wide range of styles and settings and mediums. Much of Paul Durcan’s poems may not have the relevance or the power they once had, at least not to me, simply because Durcan is a poet immersed in his time, and time has moved on. But time is the only realm there is and in our time, writers who place posterity above contemporaneity and imitation of literary tradition above dynamic inter-media innovation are, for the most part, simply dooming themselves all the quicker.

 

It is in his progressive, outward reorientation of Irish poetry in the direction of engaged and engaging public speech (and yes, public entertainment too), alongside his metamorphic reforging of the poet’s relationship to Irish society, that Durcan’s most valuable legacy lies. In the long run, Paul Durcan will be seen as foundational within the Irish tradition to a long overdue renovation. Inspired by his ladybird waltz to freedom, time is now ripe for the willing to climb up and over the walls of the past and leave behind the poetic camp of death... for the sake of all the unborn poems.

 

(DON’T PERFORM!!! I hear the ancient guards bark out. NO POLITICS!!! NO LAUGHTER!!! STAY AWAY FROM THOSE UNGODLY MACHINES!!!)

 

©2012 Dave Lordan

 

Author Links

 

Dave Lordan home page

Lordan page at Salmon Publishing

Article on and poems by Lordan at Poetry International Web

Articles by Dave Lordan in Irish Left Review

 

 

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