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Monday, November 23, 2009

A visit with Irish Author Brian Leyden

A visit from Brian Leyden to NUI Galway last week left many of us meandering around campus afterwards scribbling poems on pieces of paper. I have written all the pertinent information you need to know about this very talented Irish Author down below but before you swan on down their to read it, let me tell you what I loved about this guy.

1. He is making a comfortable living as an Author in Ireland today (yeah!)
2. He thinks we (students) have a huge advantage because we can learn what the publishers out there are looking for and then give it to them!
3. He read a poem by WB Yeats.

Admittedly Yeats is of my all time favourite poets so this was a shoe in for Brian Leyden were he looking for 'class appeal'. It was not what he read, but how he read it. He had his book laid out on the table in front of him as if he needed it for reassurance. He looked around the room and his voice hypnotised us for as long as it took him to recite this piece.

Adam's Curse

We sat together at one summer's end,
That beautiful mild woman, your close friend,
And you and I, and talked of poetry.
I said, "A line will take us hours maybe;
Yet if it does not seem a moment's thought,
Our stitching and unstitching has been naught.
Better go down upon your marrow-bones
And scrub a kitchen pavement, or break stones
Like an old pauper, in all kinds of weather;
For to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters, and clergymen
The martyrs call the world.'

And thereupon
That beautiful mild woman for whose sake
There's many a one shall find out all heartache
On finding that her voice is sweet and low
Replied, "To be born woman is to know -
Although they do not talk of it at school -
That we must labour to be beautiful.'

I said, "It's certain there is no fine thing
Since Adam's fall but needs much labouring.
There have been lovers who thought love should be
So much compounded of high courtesy
That they would sigh and quote with learned looks
precedents out of beautiful old books;
Yet now it seems an idle trade enough.'

We sat grown quiet at the name of love;
We saw the last embers of daylight die,
And in the trembling blue-green of the sky
A moon, worn as if it had been a shell
Washed by time's waters as they rose and fell
About the stars and broke in days and years.

I had a thought for no one's but your ears:
That you were beautiful, and that I strove
To love you in the old high way of love;
That it had all seemed happy, and yet we'd grown
As weary-hearted as that hollow moon.

Our teacher had to break the silence with a big 'bula bus' after Brian finished blindly reciting this gorgeous piece as us students were mesmerized. A standing ovation was in order but we were transfixed in time. Wishing, dreaming, hoping that someday, someone like Brian would stand up in a room full of people and read one of our poems - just like that!

A quick look at who Brian Leyden is:
An Irish Novelist, short story writer and teacher of Creative Writing. He also conducts writers workshops for adults. The winner of the Francis McManus Short Story Award 1988, and recipient of the Arts Council Bursary in Literature, 1993.

Short stories: Departures (Brandon, 1996), Novel Death and Penalty, (Brandon 1996).

Anthologies: The Alphabet Garden, (Brandon 1994),Irish Christmas Stories 2, (Bloomsbury, 1997), Brandon Book Of Irish Short Stories, (Brandon, 1998) Plays: Salvage, (with Wille Conlon, 1987) Experiments In Magic, (1989) Ink And Lunacy, (with Willie Conlon, 1990). Radio Documentaries: No Meadows In Manhattan, (RTE , 1991), Even The Walls Were Sweatin, (RTE, 1997)

I am searching around the archives of our local RTE (TV STATION) to see if I can get some recordings of his work to upload for y'all to have a would be a great distraction on a rainy day!

That is all the WiseWords I have for today,



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