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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Good Brogue is Hard to Find

Our professor's name was Ann Darr, which in my mind was always said deeply and with gusto.

He Man!

She Ra!

Ann Darr!

We met once a week for four hours for Advanced Poetry Workshop. The only poems we read were ours. One of my poems once reduced everyone to misty tears, which horrified me immensely, until I realized the feedback was all good. A question of word choice there, meter there, but all good.

But the highlight of every session was when Packy, who was from wartorn Belfast, read his work. Everything sounded poetic and wonderful in his trills and lilts and stretched out vowel sounds, and every girl would sigh almost without fail.

And then one day he read a poem about the unexpected loss of his brother, how cold it was in Belfast that day, how gray the sky, how his brother would "ne'er ope his eyes again." We shook our heads and wept, male and female. Oh, how we wept. Finally one classmate summed it up for all of us, "Damn the English!" And Packy looked around the room as if we were all nuts and said in his beautiful brogue, "What ar ye all oon aboot? Twere he died oove cot death."

Established in 1976, Wake Forest University Press is a non-profit literary publisher located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on the campus of Wake Forest University. Although small among university presses, we are the major publisher of Irish poetry in North America.

We publish approximately four to six titles per year, all from native Irish poets.


Wake Forest University Press

note: I edited this late this afternoon. All day long it niggled at me, but I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong. Finally I read Packy's bit aloud and remembered that he'd actually used the words "cot death" rather than "crib death". Both mean the same thing, of course; neither can be blamed on the English.
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