In this my new one man show, ‘Who Killed James Joyce’ Launched at the Cúirt literary Festival in Galway I have once again returned to the brimming well of Irish Poetry from both languages and summoned a meitheal of poets both living and the dead, to bring home a bountiful literary harvest set to music. Most of these poems have not been previously set to music and from the moment I clapped eyes on them they sung to me and are humourous and thought provoking by times.
Stories and anecdotes about the men and women behind the poetry, brings to life their passions and what prompts their awe-inspiring work. Occasional instrumentals, jigs and reels give the audience time to relax and savour the words.
I was surprised to find out that Joyce was an extrovert, practical joker and could have been a great actor. He was ‘the star turn when they play charades. He was a clever mimic and his impassive poker face helping his impersonations.
Late for school Joyce had to report to the Rector after quite a long lecture Joyce added, ‘Mr. Dempsey told me to tell you, Sir, that I was half an hour late also yesterday.’ This led to a second telling-off, Joyce took up the running again – this time almost with a, yawn Mr. Dempsey told me to tell you, Sir, that I have not been in time for school any day this month.’
Through Maud’ Gonne’s influence Yeats joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood though a police report described Yeats as a “more or less revolutionary” Yeats viewed Maud with suspicion and her world full of intrigues
I never before Yeats said of Oscar Wilde heard a man talking with perfect sentences, as if he had written them all over night with labour and yet all spontaneous.
Oscar when asked why he signed his name Oscar O’Flaherty Wilde replied. “They were kings of Ireland and he being descended from them had a right to”. Harris his friend burst out laughing and Oscar reprimanded. “How unkind of you Frank, the Irish were civilized and Christian when the English were keeping themselves warm with tattooing.”
Someone said that Gogarty would be happy anywhere except in prison; According to Gogarty, Mona Lisa’s smile was the effects of an ill-fitting denture. The first Irish doctor to have a pilot’s licence” During an acrimonious Senate debate when an opponent asked, Is it to be a battle of wits? Gogarty replied, “No I would never fight an unarmed man.”
Patrick Kavanagh, Who Killed James Joyce.
James Joyce, Gas From a Burner.
WB Yeats, Host of The air, The Stolen Child.
Mairtin Ó Direáin, Fís An Daill.
Louise Mc Neice, ‘Prognosis’ and Bagpipe Music.
Michael Hartnett, Ballad of The State of The Nation and I Can Read You Like A Book.
Seán Ó Ríordáin Cúl An Tí.
Oscar Wilde’s, Reading Gaol, Requiescat.
Padhraig Pearse, Bean tShleibhe ag Caoineadh a Mic.
Seamus Heaney, ‘Poem’
Rita Ann Higgins, Ode to Rahoon.
Mary O’Malley, Hormones
Connie O Halloran, Hung Out to Dry.
Paul Durcan, Making Love Outside Áras an Uachtaráin.
Phil Gaston, The World is Turning.
Oliver St John Gogarty, Ringsend.