I Dreamt I Wrote Another Me by Alex Smith (london_calling79). Out Now!
Posted by Insertponceyfrenchnamehere on Fri, 25 Jan 2019
The latest release by Cerasus Press - ' I Dreamt I Wrote Another Me' by Alex Smith has just been published.
You can order your copy here:
or from Amazon:
'Alex Smith grew up a Catholic boy in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, under the threat of the bomb and the gun and sectarian violence, beside a hard border and even harder men.
His poetry takes us back to those days and documents them in stark and unflinching detail.
Even when he turns his gaze to the wider world and later times, we find that although the boy has left Belfast… Well, you know the rest.
He is ‘Just another soldier / in the war of who was wronger / and when it stops mattering.’'
Here's a review by Ewan - as you can see it comes thoroughly recommended:
'I must confess I came to Alex’s collection with some trepidation, since my mother’s family lives on the opposite side of the Irish cultural divide, in a city that they call Londonderry and Alex doesn’t. I needn’t have worried, good poetry transcends many things.
This collection is divided up into sections using titles in Irish, I only recognised the obvious ones, and had to look the others up. I liked that, this extra effort can make a reader engage still more with writing.
Alex takes us on a trip from childhood in the poems of Tír na nóg via adolescence in Béal Feirste(Belfast), then finding love in Tabhair dom do lámhto later life events in An gáire na gruagac.
Tramlines opens the first sequence with a deceptively simple piece about how we pass on our beliefs and yes, prejudices even as the child is in the cradle. I heard strains of The Clancy Brothers bellowing out ‘Up the Long Ladder’. Songs, rhymes and stories recur throughout Alex’s thoughtful and considered poetry. Later, reading the Belfast section, I heard some of my uncles’ songs (the stirring, but dreadful “The Sash”) when I read in “Quixote by the chip shop light”
armoured in song and story,”.
There are softer emotions in play in Alex’s beautiful paean to his Mother, Mother’s Kitchen. I admit to searching for the grit in my eye at
“Neither use nor ornament
she scolded at our backs”.
The vernacular poetry of “Belfast Boun” was a joy to read and so I did, aloud, several times. “Soun’” as Alex himself might once have said, and surely did.
What grabbed me most about the Belfast section was the honesty of it all, the ambiguous feelings we have about places we have once called home, nowhere more apparent than in Going Home:
“You turned my head,
stroked my chin as you transfigured
from kitten to banshee,
a scuttled luxury.”
The wonderful In The Prisons, The Monsters captures the essential manachaeism of the troubles, particularly towards the end.
In FromSlieve Donard, Alex Smith has written a piece of bucolic beauty, evoking the drama of the Irish countryside, which forms those who inhabit it rather than be formed them.
The closing section of poems takes us includes Culpable,a subtle depiction of gritty violence. The ambivalence of familial relationships informsFreight. Ravines is a moving evocation of shared, unspoken grief. You will have your own favourites in this collection: like the last day of Shee-an-Gannon’s 9-day-wedding, the last poem is even better the first.
Read without prejudice, I did. '
Alex is an ABCTales superstar who writes as london_calling79.
Cerasus Poetry is an independant publishing venture by an ABCTales stalwart and ABCTales will receive a small percentage from any profits.