ISBN: 978-1-59948-651-2, 46 pages, $12
Release Date: November, 2017
Release Date: November, 2017
Ann Curran is honored to return to Main Street Rag, where her first book of poetry, Placement Test, was published. She followed with Me First and Knitting the Andy Warhol Bridge, a Pushcart Prize nominee by Lummox Press. Curran has worked as a journalist for the Pittsburgh Catholic and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and freelancer with Pittsburgh Magazine and The Pittsburgh Press. She edited Carnegie Mellon Magazine for 23 years. Her late, great friends, Pittsburghers Pat and Harry Dolan often welcomed her at their house in Dunquin on the Dingle Peninsula, an area National Geographic called the most beautiful place in the world. Curran agrees but would explore other candidates.
If music is the spirit of the soul, then poetry must be the soul of the spirit! I visualized the places and people, they were familiar, I was there again! Irish Ayes is calling me back. People DO lose their hearts and souls to Ireland, and their spirits are rekindled. Read aloud these poems around the fire having a cuppa’ or a drop of something, listening, as Ann has dragged forward our past. Beautiful! ~ Diane V. Byrnes
Ann Curran’s Irish Ayes cuts throught the romanticized version of Ireland and offers fresh insights into the land and its people. As both insider and outsider, Curran casts a sharp eye on all she sees, and with wit and grace, she captures the rich complexity that others overlook. ~Jim Daniels
I love Ann Curran’s poems! Funny, prickly, and overflowing with heart Irish Ayes just might be her finest book yet. Curran is a gem of a companion to those emerald shores of Eire. From wonderfully gossipy pubs to “the most bombed hotel in the world’, Curran knows the best places to visit. Here are lovely poems filled with bright music perfect for sharing over a pint or two. And that’s no blarney! ~Kristofer Collins, Pittsburgh Magazine
A good puzzle would be to cross
Ireland without passing a pub.
—James Joyce in Ulysses
Sure, it’s an impossible puzzle.
Joyce himself couldn’t do it.
Wouldn’t even want to try.
He was Irish enough to raise
more than a few jars of the Celtic lubricant
which explains some of that nonstop talk
in Ulysses with characters running on
like a local biddy dropping commas
trampling every period spreading the dirt
on everyone in the parish and their cousins
and their kids. “God forbid I should repeat
this but nobody marries anymore
just like Joyce himself running off
with that Galway girl disgraceful!
I just have to tell you this part
though God is my witness
I never heard the likes of it before….”
When I first went to this island
Joyce abandoned, no one ever
mentioned his name, embarrassed
by this guy who showed the world
that “everyone knows everyone
else’s business,” even in Dublin
where a walk out meant
getting buffeted about by
“drunken men and bargaining women.”
What’s worse, of course, he let
everyone see them with their pants
down, sitting musing in the loo
fiddlin’ like a teen with his penis.
Next thing you know Joyce is OK,
and Kruger’s Lounge Bar
wins a James Joyce Pub Award
as an authentic Irish bar.
Local sots hold forth on stools.
Blow-ins gather to bullshit each other.
Sometimes to piss-ant persistent music
of the will-it-never-end repetitions.
You’re ready to shoot the fiddlers
but buy a round instead
so they’ll give it a rest.
God love them all.
They’re Blessed Ireland’s best.
Friends. This is what it’s all about.
–Pat Dolan, my other mother
In a comfy, candlelit Irish kitchen in Dunquin,
Dolans, Cunneens and one Curran call Harry back in “da Burgh.”
My turn to talk: “I’m sleeping in your bed, Harry. It’s great!
The crowd roars. Digs into Maire Cunneen’s luscious supper.
After more laughs, stories and drinks in the cozy parlor,
guests drive a half minute away to Dolan’s double house.
Dingle nights bring out millions of stars, little light.
People as full of fun as us can drown in a ditch.
Funny, how your mind takes you somewhere else.
Lipstick to lip, I switch from my bedroom
in Pittsburgh to a cottage in Ireland.
I stand before the Dolans’ dim mirror.
I can’t see without light there or here.
Will have to go into the frigid bathroom.
There, not here. But wonder how my head went
with a mere lift of arm to lip from here—
without a ticket or frisking—to there.
In this cobble
collected on an Irish shore,
I feel the comforting chill
of summer in a milder land,
the throb of a heart
longing to go home.
I watch the Atlantic lift,
curl and toss
this broken token
on a troubled island.
I carry this stone
like some confused Goliath
struck once and forever
by the indestructible dream
of some perfect place.