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Poetry Books Launch at UCC Library: Home

Poetry Books Launch at UCC Library


University College Cork Library has recently acquired the archive of the SoundEye Festival of the Arts of the Word, along with the video archive ‘Meshworks’, formerly hosted by the Miami University (USA), and featuring many readings from the festival. This is a major event for UCC and establishes it as an international centre for research into contemporary poetry.

The SoundEye Festival of the Arts of the Word took place annually in Cork City from 1997 to 2017. It began as the Cork Alternative Poetry Festival, with funding from the English Department in UCC, and was organised by Trevor Joyce with two UCC post-graduates, Catriona Ryan and Matthew Geden. Joyce, whose attendance at a US poetry conference in 1996 had given the festival its initial impetus, was to be SoundEye’s central figure, as his house in Shandon was to be its headquarters and social hub. UCC’s direct involvement ended in 1999, and a single reading, by Joyce, Geden and Fergal Gaynor, was held in 2000 to keep the event alive. From 2001 to 2005, when SoundEye had its largest manifestation, as part of the European Capital of Culture celebrations, Joyce did the lion’s share of the organisation. From 2006 he was assisted by Gaynor, and in the festival’s latter years another two UCC postgraduates, Rachel Warriner and James Cummins, took the helm, aided by Sarah Hayden and Ellen Dillon. Joyce remained director throughout.

At the heart of SoundEye was poetry, and in particular poetry often relegated to the margins. That is not to say that no individuals celebrated in the poetry mainstream were among the 200 odd readers at the festival, with well-established names like Denise Riley, Medbh McGuckian, Ciaran Carson and Susan Howe reading alongside poets whose work was rarely, if ever, reviewed in the mainstream press. What mattered, as far as suitability for the festival was concerned, was that the prospective reader was considered a good servant of the art (sometimes this service was made by their publishing activity, often in the form of small presses or low circulation journals), and beyond the formulaic and the safe.

To mark this exciting acquisition – of hundreds of books, photos, pamphlets, recordings, posters, etc. – unique in the poetry world and an essential part of Cork’s cultural history, UCC Library is hosting a triple book-launch on Thursday 22rd February 2024 at 5.15pm:

‘Self-Avoiding Space-Filling Curve’ (Glasgow: Just Not) by Peter Manson

‘Conspiracy’ (London: Veer Books) by Trevor Joyce

‘The Electron-Ghost Casino’ (Ohio: Miami University Press) by Randolph Healy

Peter Manson is arguably Scotland’s finest poet, and certainly its most linguistically daring.

The poetry of Trevor Joyce, whose first collection appeared in 1967, has been described as ‘profoundly contemporary in its enjoyment of games, systems and constraints’.

Well-known to Leaving-Cert students for his poems ‘Frogs’ and ‘Primula Veris’, Randolph Healy is also an important publisher, being the editor of Wild Honey Press.

All are welcome! There will be short readings by each poet at the launch, and book-signings afterwards.