Joanna Walsh Joanna Walsh’s writing enacts what Chris Kraus has called “a literal vertigo—the feeling that if I fall I will fall not toward the earth but into space—by probing the spaces between things.” Walsh, a British writer and illustrator, is fascinated by liminal spaces, especially in the many varieties encountered by tourists. She’s sometimes… Read More »

Source: Travel Souvenirs: An Interview with Joanna Walsh


GALWAY WRITER Claire-Louise Bennett will launch her debut collection of short stories, Pond, this Saturday at the Hotel Meyrick, as part of the Cúirt International Festival of Literature.

Source: – ‘I wasn’t ever going to write a novel along familiar lines’

My thanks to Lia Mills for her review of the first Salon Night with The Dublin Review, Mark O’Connell and Sally Rooney. I hope it whets your appetite for November 4th!

Libran Writer (Lia Mills)

‘Only the dead are free’ Wayne Jordan’s chorus sang to us from the Abbey stage in his version of Oedipus during the Dublin Theatre Festival. The very next night I was in Dun Laoghaire listening to Mark O’Connell talk about transhumanism and cryonics. (Transhumanism (H+) has the goal of extending current human abilities using technology; cryonics is the term used for preserving the dead in freezing temperatures so that they have a chance of being resuscitated in the future.)

I have my own reasons for being leery of the long drawn-out process of decay so many of us experience at the end of our lives, so the notion that we can be resuscitated and kept in a state of suspended animation into an indefinite future – not to mention at the mercy of whoever is charged with our care – fills me with dread. It’s good to know that Sophocles…

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John Clare, “Trespass”

I dreaded walking where there was no path
And pressed with cautious tread the meadow swath
And always turned to look with wary eye
And always feared the owner coming by;
Yet everything about where I had gone
Appeared so beautiful I ventured on
And when I gained the road where all are free
I fancied every stranger frowned at me
And every kinder look appeared to say
“You’ve been on trespass in your walk today.”
I’ve often thought, the day appeared so fine,
How beautiful if such a place were mine;
But, having naught, I never feel alone
And cannot use another’s as my own.

Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Thinking of Aoife’s map of her ‘Shangnam’ pale, this caught my attention.

Proletarian Poetry

Back home, our area of Coventry was originally named in the Doomsday book, and in the 19th century when still largely unpopulated, was a place for wealthy tradesmen. However, the city spread to this outlying area in the early 20th century and housing estates began to encroach on the land. My parents bought a two bed terrace there for about £1,500 and all around us, mainly families from Ireland bought up their own. In a way, they were the new pioneers, to borrow from Sarah’s borrowed phrase.

But this was a divided area: between those who owned their houses and those who lived in the identikit council alternative; of course it was only divided by banter. We were no sociologists, but we took on stratification when taking the piss out of those who weren’t allowed to paint their own house, where the streets had the same fence, where…

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An epigraph to James Attlee’s Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey reads:

IMG_5461“‘Isolarion’ is the term for the 15th-centry maps that describe specific areas in detail, but that do not provide a clarifying overview of how these places are related to each other.’ From the publicity for the exhibition Isolarion by Sophie Tottie, Lund Kunsthalle, Sweden 2005.

His own Isolarion dwells on the Cowley Road in Oxford and represents a pilgrimage of sorts to and from his own doorstep. He journeys through the census past to discover workhouses and geriatric hospitals, through the busy kitchens of the street’s Asian restaurants, via allotments, football matches and reggae nights, in and out of conversations with friends and strangers: all observations authorized simply by his desire to know his adopted patch of turf and consider how it takes its place in the wider world.

A friend, Wes Williams, gave it to me. Wes has a scholarly interest in pilgrimage and monsters.  He turns up here to advise on miraculous waters. James Attlee, Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey, University of Chicago Press, 2007.

This evening, the Pale Project Workshop convenes for the first time. We will range in age from an 11 week old baby (hopefully our one sleeping participant), to an explorer in her seventies. The group includes a marine ecologist, several artists, curators, broadcasters, writers, a councillor, a textile artist, a biologist, graduating students and a retired teacher. Our chosen territories range from Dalkey Island, to Shanganagh Cliffs, to Carrickgollogan, to Churchtown, to Seapoint and points in between. We are not aiming to provide a clarifying overview of how these places relate to each other, but perhaps this process of exploring our county on foot and with all five senses open, will anchor the digital maps that appear to slide free from our devices and assert coordinates of their own.

Tonight I’ll be distributing excerpts from Simon Garfield’s, On the Map: Why the World Looks the Way it Does, Profile Books, 2012, and inviting participants to draw in their territories on a master-map of the county’s electoral districts.  PS2 did something similar back in 2009, when they invited 7 artists all living and working in Belfast to be home-tourists and conduct an alternative urban survey of the city’s Cathedral Quarter. Images from Keith Winter’s map are reproduced below.

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