Poems from Prison and Life by the Spanish communist poet Marcos Ana (1920–2016), translated by David Duncombe and published by Smokestack Books, fills one with hope and despair. Hope comes from the motto found in the author’s note to the book: To live for others is the best way of […]
George Bernard Shaw wrote: “Keats achieved the very curious feat of writing a poem of which it may be said that if Karl Marx can be imagined writing a poem instead of a treatise on Capital, he would have written Isabella.” The 200th anniversary of Keats’s death this month is an opportunity to celebrate this revolutionary romantic.
The Black Death was the most devastating pandemic ever recorded, resulting in the death of between 75 and 125 million people. It reached its peak in Europe between 1347 and 1351, having come on Italian merchant ships from Asia via the Silk Road. In fact the idea of quarantine originates […]
The recent demonstrations that began in Minnesota following the murder of George Floyd by a white cop are not only a continuation of the past seven years of the Black Lives Matter movement but of decades of struggle by black people against a racist police force, which functions to uphold […]
It is belief in the working people that will tear down this sham democracy It is belief in the working people that must be our philosophy It is belief in the working people that martyred James Connolly who believed that without a socialist state 1916 was for nothing who believed […]
THANKS TO the current pandemic, Ireland was unable to publicly remember the Easter Rising of 1916, its aspirations for an independent socialist republic, its heroic leaders. Many of these leaders were poets and writers. Patrick Pearse’s poem “The Wayfarer” was written on the eve of his execution, in Kilmainham Gaol.
The beauty of the world hath made me sad, This beauty that will pass; Sometimes my heart hath shaken with great joy To see a leaping squirrel in a tree,
Or a red lady-bird upon a stalk, Or little rabbits in a field at evening, Lit by a slanting sun,
The most famous, fabled and fêted Irish filí (poets) are male. The reasons lie clearly in patriarchal class society. All the more reason for us to seek out the female representatives of a skill that in the old Irish days was associated with prophesying or “seeing,” in fact the Irish […]
Gabriel Rosenstock, Walk with Gandhi / Bóthar na Saoirse, illustrated by Masood Hussain (Dublin: Gandhi 150 Ireland, 2019, paperback, hardback, and Ebook).
This is a beautiful book to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on 2 October 1869. The book is a collection of haiga—a style of Japanese painting often accompanied by a haiku poem.
Jenny Farrell (editor), The Children of the Nation: An Anthology of Working People’s Poetry from Contemporary Ireland (Newcastle upon Tyne: Culture Matters, 2019).
This anthology deals with the identity of the working class, the marginalised, people in precarious employment, the unemployed, the homeless. The title of the collection recalls the pledge made in the Proclamation of 1916.
Thanks, capitalism. You started off all right and all, but I’m afraid you have to leave! You’ve eaten, binned or hidden all the food, you’ve drunk all the drink or poured it down the sink, you’ve blocked all the toilets and used up all the paper. You’ve left the taps […]
On 16 August 1819 tens of thousands of working men and women demonstrated at a place known as St Peter’s Field in Manchester, demanding reform and the repeal of the Corn Laws. The yeomanry and then hussars were ordered to attack, killing eighteen people and injuring more than four hundred. With the recent memory of the Battle of Waterloo, this slaughter went down in history as Peterloo. Shelley reacted with one of the earliest works of socialist literature, his famous ballad “The Mask of Anarchy.” This month we mark the 200th anniversary of those events and of Shelley’s great poem.
Thro’ the shattered mainstream of life the waste land bears testimony to the shadow Hear mothers wail for dead children whose fathers slave to re-erect the rubble Upon the rubble their fathers erected This alter for sacrificed generations Build fast! Build furious! Erect the citadels of despair Light high in […]
Originally a poem by the great Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet and translated into English by Jeannette Turner. Here Gabriel Rosenstock translates Pete Seeger’s version of this great antiwar song (https://tinyurl.com/pnyykae). Im’ sheasamh ar gach tairseach bím Im’ sheasamh ar gach tairseach bím Ní chloistear áfach mo choiscéim An […]
Leabhar dátheangach (Fraincis–Béarla) é If the Symptoms Persist, dánta le Francis Combes aistrithe go Béarla ag Alan Dent agus foilsithe ag Smokestack Books (www.smokestack-books.co.uk). Creideann Combes san fhilíocht, filíocht de shaghas áirithe, une poésie d’utilité publique. Is réabhlóideach an dearcadh é sin ar go leor slite. File réabhlóideach é Combes. […]
A Francis Ledwidge poem translated to Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock
Maxim Gorky was born 150 years ago this month. His works remain widespread on all continents and contribute to the consolidation of proletarian class-consciousness. Gorky’s socialist-realist method is his ground-breaking world literary achievement. His books, stories and plays continue to be a touchstone and benchmark for socialist writers all over […]