Poet Paula Meehan

The Lit Review |55| Poems for Safe Keeping

Poems for Safe Keeping

UCD library has launched the Irish Poetry Reading Archive, to present readings of poetry by Irish artists and to preserve our cultural heritage for future generations.

The archive is composed of works by Irish poets in English and Irish, bringing them together in carefully curated, digital form. This archive offers recorded reading by numerous poets, who provide explanatory musings to give context to their poetry.

36 poets have contributed to the archive, including Michael Longley, Paula Meehan, Bernard O’Donoghue, amongst others. The repository also hosts historical content, material that may have been lost without the establishment of this archive. This project will help to extend the reach of this poetry and to nurture and preserve material that may have otherwise become inaccessible.


Read Your Bus Ticket

Metro stations in Brazil are encouraging passengers to read by transforming boring old metro tickets into books. Pocketbook publishers, LP&M Editores in São Paulo, is expanding its current series of classic literature that doubles as metro cards.


The concept, initially a temporary promotion for World Book Day, was such a success that the publishing house have decided to make the books a permanent part of their publishing itinerary. Each book has an RFID card embedded within the cover, a passenger can take a maximum of ten train journeys with this ticket. Books can be topped up online once they run out of steam. The updated list will join classics such as The Art of War by Sun Tzu and The Great Gatsby by Scott F Fitzgerald, Hamlet by William Shakespeare, and Chives in Trouble! by Mauricio de Sousa, a book I hadn’t heard of before now, but it sounds really excellent, with or without an RFID card in the front cover.


Marlon James: Stop Pandering to Publishers

Marlon James Man Booker 2015 -Headstuff.org
Marlon James Winner of Man Booker Prize 2015

Man Booker winner Marlon James has criticised books that ‘pander to white women’. He has stated that publishers are pressuring writers to appeal to what the market desires, a market dominated by white women.

This article suggests that 50% of women consider themselves avid readers, verses 26% of men. Publishing houses desire books targeting women of a certain class. James gave the example of the ‘long-suffering, astringent prose set in suburbia … older mother or wife sits down and thinks about her horrible life.’ James went on to say that writers must not feel the need to pander: ‘This is the story I want to write and this is how I am going to tell it, publication be damned.’


Nikesh Shukla Supports BAME Writers

Marlon James is joined in his criticism of the publishing industry by writer Nikesh Shukla who has attacked UK publishing houses for their ‘failure to take diversity seriously’.

Writing the Future, a report assessing the role of black, Asian and minority ethnic writers in UK publishing, was launched last April pointing out that ‘an old mono-culture still prevails’. Shukla has further pursued the findings of this report, following the announcement of the books in the running for the 2016 World Book Awards, which has failed to include black, Asian, or minority ethnic writers.

Shukla posted on Twitter last week saying, ‘So you speak to writers, and they say they look at the prizes, the lists, the reviews, the bookshops, and they don’t see themselves reflected. So whose responsibility is it? I’ve taken It on myself to be my responsibility.’ Since then, he has been contacted by more than 40 BAME writers following his offer to pass on contacts to those looking for representation. He has also joined the bloggers Naomi Frisby @frizbot and Dan L @utterbiblio to launch the #diversedecember campaign. Shukla is also editing The Good Immigrant, a book of essays from British BAME writers on race and immigration.

Jon McGregor winner of the 2012 Impac prize for his novel Even the Dogs has echoed Shukla’s critique of the publishing industry. Speaking at the Cambridge Literature Festival, he said ‘The problem is one of structure. The problem is one of form. The entire culture and apparatus of the published novel was developed by an economic elite with leisure time on its hands.’


Morrissey Wins Bad Sex Award

Bambi deer in the wild
Young Fawn Frolicking in Hyssop or ‘Breast’

The Bad Sex Award has gone to singer Morrissey for his debut novel, List of the Lost.  The competition was pretty steep this year with Joshua Cohen writing about breasts resembling ‘young fawns frolicking in hyssop’ in his Book of Numbers. I don’t know about you, but that image has ruined Bambi for me.

List of the Lost tells the story of four relay runners from Boston who are cursed by an old man in the woods. The four lads get up to all kinds of strange sexual encounters; ‘bulbous salutation’ and ‘giggling snowball of full-figured copulation’ are the most bizarre of their exploits, earning Morrissey this undesirable prize. Morrissey was not present at the awards and was not available for comment. Too busy having sexy snowball fights, perhaps.