Site Meter

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Maria Johnston

I mentioned Maria Johnston’s chucklesome article ‘Reading Irish Poetry in the New Century: Poetry Ireland Review 2000-2009’ the other day. Poetry Ireland have now put it online here.

And as chance would have it, once again, the author is speaking here in Hull next Monday, on ‘The “Effetest Fop of Formalist Poetry?”: Modern and Contemporary Rondeaux’ (Graduate Seminar Room, University of Hull, Monday 12 April, 4.30pm).


Peter McDonald said...

I'm sure praise from me is the last thing she needs in the circumstances, but Maria Johnston's essay in PIR is wonderfully clear-sighted, intelligent, and funny. (Ten years and more since I was burned in effigy, or something, after daring to say BAD THINGS about the work of a GREAT IRISH POET in that journal. I do hope things have changed since then.)

Desmond Swords said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Desmond Swords said...

I've read it now, at the link Poetry Ireland put it up at for free viewing here, O'Mahony.

I googled her and cannot find any of her own poems, and gather she's a Dr. teaching AmPo in Trinity and Mater Dei.

What I noticed first is she lays into about seven women before any blokes get it.

The next thing I noted was the critics she approves of. William Logan, a two-dimensional vaudevillian, the Glenn Beck of American poetry criticism.

Joan Houlihan, a woman who writes, what in my opinion is - to use Johnston's term - 'dross' poetry herself, whilst running, what I think of as, rip off $25 entry-fee manuscript competitions that draw 1000 entries, with 'readers' sifting 90% out and ranking the rest so the judges don't have to judge themselves. For an extra few hundred quid you get the special eye cast over your ms, and for a few hundred more get to go on the poetry retreat.

Then she quotes Mark Haddon who, Ranjit Bolt concluded - when reviewing 'the ghastliness of Haddon's verse', in the Observer, 2005 - writes some of the worst poetry going; so bad the reader may wonder if he's taking the Michael, or not, Bolt wondered.

An 'expert' Critic. Just one person's opinions. A woman who can't drive waxing lyrical about how cars work. A person who can't play music telling the piano player where they're going wrong. A person with a void that needs filling, so dishes it out to the sisters. She mocks Bernie O'Reilly for being 'less than second-rate', completely missing the point, that poetry is about embracing everyone at every level, not just about parading the thoroughbreds so she can whet herself over the 'best'. Suck up to those higher in the IrePo-biz foodchain and stick the stilleto into those who are never gonna hit ollamh.

At least she's saying what she thinks.

Desmond Swords said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.