Every April the Cúirt literary festival kicks off the festival season in Galway, Ireland, where I live. This year, its 35th, events in their original format were cancelled because of the pandemic, but festival director Sasha de Buyl and team put together a terrific mini-festival entirely online.
I just caught up on the talks I didn’t see or hear live last weekend – live online, I mean – and you can do the same if you haven’t already. Nine are freely available to view on Cúirt’s YouTube channel, and two audio-only events can be listened to on Soundcloud.
It’s a feast of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Each talk is about an hour long and has one, two, or three authors speaking about literature, language, writing, and life, including short readings from their new work. If you’re not sure where to start, try Kevin Barry and Jan Carson talking with Peggy Hughes:
Last weekend I read The Long Gaze Back, a wonderful anthology of short stories by Irish women writers, edited by Sinéad Gleeson. I felt the book’s title – borrowed from Maeve Brennan’s novella The Visitor – could work in a book spine poem. So here it is.
[click to enlarge]
A Quiet Life
A quiet life
on Chesil Beach,
loving and giving
bliss, breath, broken
words, the broken shore,
The long gaze back
under Milk Wood.
Johnny, I hardly
Quench the lamp, the image,
The chalice and the blade,
Silver threads of hope
Booking passage in the modern idiom.
Thanks to the authors and editors: Alice Taylor, Daniel Boorstin, Riane Eisler, Sinéad Gleeson, Thomas Lynch, and Leo Hamalian & Arthur Zeiger; and to Nina Katchadourian for the idea.
Since my last bookmash, the game has continued to spread – most notably to the great US public radio show on words and language A Way with Words (full episode here), which read out a few and encouraged listeners to compile their own.
I haven’t read all the books in this stack, so feel free to recommend. Some of you might know Silver Threads of Hope, a new anthology of Irish short stories in aid of mental health charity Console; it appeared in an older Sentence first post on turn-taking in conversation.