Interviews

Storyless, Sonnets, & Sites

Question: You’ve previously intimated that the’ Narrativist’ in those poems, the sonnet sequences you’ve written might be your father?

Well intimation could be another form of self-intimidation, maybe I was trying to be seen by you or someone else as being too clever by half by somehow suggesting that. There’s no point in a modern poet putting down a word that only has one meaning, the craft of poetry for me today is about finding words that let a light of meaning in and out from several sides at once. Every man that writes poetry is writing about his father at some level, my father died and my world changed, like any other son I was affected, that close source of smiles, slaps and stories that shaped my being was removed, yes there were no more of his narratives, no more of him, or stories of him, but I carried those that I could recall through me for another time and another place. That Narrativist is me too, I’m my own conduit for his story, our tales and yarns, I lost faith not just in story but in the word. I lost my connection to him and in some ways saw my own end. Saw it not as some glorious moving on of a soul but as an emptying, a void, just a removal. Questioning the worth of yourself and the possibility of an empty end, without ever having a story, now there’s a real tragedy. If stories died what could carry my culture forward? Pictures maybe, sounds and songs maybe, without stories or words in them, how’s that going to work?

Question: Does that Sonnet sequence deal with specific events in your life?

Events in my life were like pebbles, stones and big rocks. There was occasions when the only way to deal with hard things was just to bury them, hide them from myself I suppose. There was other times, few and far between I’ll admit, where I just had to face that hardness and fear and stand up for myself or the truth. When I went to Manchester station to find out about Paddy Prendergast, I wasn’t a happy man, I didn’t have any great love for the Peelers but I felt I had to go down there and speak up for another native Mayo man. Paddy was lifted and they were looking for someone to blame for all the bombings that were going on around then. I went in and Paddy was in the cell because when he was lifted he couldn’t account for his movements. I went in and made a statement telling them he was in the digs with me, they said they wanted the landlady to come and confirm my statement, they wouldn’t let me in to see Paddy but he found out I was there. I went back and eventually after pleading with her got the landlady down to agree with me that Paddy and myself were in the digs that whole week, which we were. They still didn’t release him until the following day. Paddy just went on home about his business, I don’t think he ever went back to England again after that. That was hard on me and hard on Paddy, we were on a lot of sites together over the years and I never saw or heard from him again after he got out that day.

Question: Can you tell me what you plan on working on next?

I never look that far ahead, if I get some more time, I might dedicate it to creating more of the cAMEltext.Net poems. I might even try having that website more commerical, I might try selling some stuff, who knows.