Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Have A Shed - Will Share

Here is a review on the Shed Poets by Dilys Wood in Artemist Poetry, Issue 9, November 2012

Not a store for the lawnmower but a garden room overlooking Killiney Bay, County Dublin: here six women poets (Carol Boland, Marguerite Colgan, Bernie Kenny, Maureen Perkins, Judy Russell, Rosy Wilson) have regular meetings. In her poem, Poets’ Shed, Bernie Kenny refers to “the only sound pens writing” and to a postcard pinned on the wall showing “the Dylan Thomas writing shed in creative disarray”. This lively Irish ‘co-operative’ have been highly productive — anthologies, individual collections and a DVD (The Poets’Shed) with a booklet of poems. In the DVD, beautiful images of landscape and people relate to poems read by the six poets; music is by Elizabeth Purnell.

Bernie Kenny and Rosy Wilson had books published in 2011 and 2012 respectively, and Maureen Perkins has a new collection due out in 2013. Kenny’s Always Dalkey, Always the Sea includes poems which compare with those of the much-admired US poet, Mary Oliver, in their spirit of open invitation to walk out with the poet, “Soon after dawn, today decides / to be delightful. I’m out early // ears awake / eyes finding miracles” (Summer Solstice at Liscannor). Like Oliver, Kenny has found a way to be movingly confessional but also classically constrained, obviously taking much care with choice of words, line-breaks and the shape of the poems. In Rosy Wilson’s Keeper of the Creek there are also superbly economical poems with very pure diction, for example Butterflies, “are scarce this summer// but on my mourning walk / between the hills // I see some flutter / singly and in pairs // among long
grasses / low gorse, purple heather.” Though writing about grief, she has mastered the art of not writing too circumstantially, cutting straight to the heart of loss with the daring conceit ‘mourning’ where we expect ‘morning’.

Dilys Wood

The Poets’Shed, little fish films, 2012, manager, Rosy Wilson, music, Elizabeth Pumell

Always Dalkey, Always the Sea, Bernie Kenny, Boland Press. 2011. €10 ISBN 978-19078550-3-O

Keeper of the Creek, Rosy Wilson, Belfast Lapwing, 2012. £10 ISBN 978-l-9092520-O-4