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  • Northside West

Music, reading and boxing at poetry launch

Friday, 14th July, 2017 6:00pm
Music, reading and boxing at poetry launch

Poet and philosopher Anthony Colclough at the launch of his new book.

Music, reading and boxing at poetry launch

Poet and philosopher Anthony Colclough at the launch of his new book.

Jane Fogarty

LAST month saw the launch of the first poetry collection by poet and philosopher Anthony Colclough at an event that promised to bring the “vigour and violence” back into poetry.

The launch of ‘New Songs for the Greater Glory of the Irish State’ was held in the Arbour Hill Boxing Club, where the sense of community is embedded within the very fabric of the building, from the lovingly painted rust coloured floor to the high, church-like, beamed ceiling, maintained with care and commitment.

For the launche event, artworks by David Lunney hung on cages and were suspended from the ceiling, amidst the punch bags and equipment cages, offering pundits a chance to piece together the fragmented imagery from the poetry book. 

Esteemed poet Michael O’Loughlin officially launched the book before the evening bobbed and weaved between its different offerings to the enthusiastic crowd.

With the boxing ring doubling as a stage, the backdrop was set for an unexpected evening.

The poetry readings were fierce and passionate, in English (Colclough) and as Gaeilge (Larry Beau), mirroring the bilingual format of the book, which was translated into Gaeilge by Proinsias Mac a’ Bhaird.

The musical performances, both moving and soulful, were provided by Irish/Sierra Leonean artist Loah and by Galway native Emma O’Reilly who delivered her performance through English and as Gaeilge.

Larry Beau, accompanied by Ella DeBurca, gave a rousing whistling finale and an energetic sing-song.

Intermingled with these soft, powerful performances were several rounds of boxing.

As the evening progressed adrenaline and excitement rose.

There was a sense of increasing involvement from the audience, in the poetry and the fighting. 

The book, much like the evening itself, is light in delivery but heavy with sincerity and deals with the appraisal of the Irish State, its history and our legacy.

New Songs for the Greater Glory of the Irish State is a visually conscious collection of works.

Typographically, words are staggered and punctuated across the pages, rhythmically singing out at the reader.

It is illustrated with artworks by David Lunney consisting of skilfully hand drawn and fragmented images.

These illustrations, which play on the ready-made, ubiquitous green of souvenir shop Ireland, are placed alongside the subtly toned functional items of everyday contemporary Irish life such as; traffic lights, election posters, road signs and the historical site of Countess Markievicz’s family home in Rathmines. 

The resounding success of the event and book was Colclough’s attention to the values of community.

This is apparent not only within his book but also achieved through his unification of people through poetry recitations, art, music and boxing.

The value and importance of community to the State is not lost on Colclough, it is the foundation upon which they are born.

To orchestrate an evening which embodied these values is responding to the responsibility of the individual to the collective.

Often we can feel disconnected to the idea of State, with the gap between political agenda and the daily lives we lead seeming to grow ever wider.

This event succeeded in reinstating the very values at the heart of any State; members of various communities were brought together for an evening, to share in this sense of place. Our place within history, culture and our local community. 

It was an event of engaging poetry with scholarly weight.

Jane Fogarty is a visual artist based in Dublin.


Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here