Over the course of the next few days, I’ll be posting interviews with those writers reading as part of the Poetry Ireland Introductions series 2013. One of this week’s featured poets is Cork poet Sheila Mannix, who reads on Tuesday 4th June at 6:30pm at the Irish Writers Centre, Parnell Sq., D1.
Philip Cummins: What is your earliest memory of poetry at home or in school?
SM: ‘Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren’t go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl’s feather!’
PC: Is there a particular poet, poem or book of poems that was, for you, like discovering rock n’roll for the very first time? Can you describe what it was like?
SM: A Season in Hell and The Illuminations by Rimbaud: I was introduced to him at college when I was seventeen and wrote an essay in which I called him the first punk. Then I fell in love with Mayakovsky and he became my pin-up poet.
PC: Which poets do you think best characterise the qualities that are found in your own poetry?
SM: I don’t know. I am experimenting at the moment, using collage/cut-up/mash-up techniques popularised by the Dadaists, the surrealists, OuLiPo, William Burroughs, and recent pop music. I have no issue with the autonomy of art, but I see my poetry as a way of critically engaging with politics in a manner I have found hard to do in my prose writing, which tends to be more lyrical/satirical/sociological. Hopefully these elements will all fuse at some point.
PC: What was your first “Eureka!” moment in writing and publishing poetry; the moment when you realized “Hey, I’m actually on to something here!” in terms of your work coming together and first getting accepted and published in magazines and journals?
SM: I was 21. I was living in Dublin and Cyphers published two of my poems.
PC: Finally, if you could own and keep just three collections of poetry on your bookshelf- excluding, of course, your own- which collections would they be and why?
SM: Henri Michaux, Oeuvres complètes, Gallimard (2004), The Collected Poems of Samuel Beckett, Faber and Faber (2012), Trevor Joyce, with the first dream of fire they hunt the cold, Shearsman (2001), because I can’t afford the first two and I gave away my copy of the third one
Sheila Mannix reads as part of the second in a series of three readings as part of the Poetry Ireland Introductions readings series on Thursday 4th June at 6.30pm at the Irish Writers’ Centre, 19 Parnell Square, D1.
Also reading with Sheila are:
Venue: The Irish Writers’ Centre, 19 Parnell Square, D1
Time: Thursday @ 6.30pm
T: (01) 8721302