Joseph Woods speech at High Lanes Gallery for launch of Plaything of the Great God Kafka

I’ve enjoyed reading these poems for their range and their depth of experience and also for their ambition. The title poem of the book is a concrete poem and it’s worthy of e e cummings or poets who wrote in that style and in a sense it sets the agenda of the book to come. It’s a very open book, excoriating sometimes and frank and often very revealing. So it’s book of many parts and narratives and he doesn’t shy from the scurrilous in a poenm like Learning from Boccaccio but there’s also the bitter joke of the poem called Prejudice Begins at Home, which is a poem that deals with racism which put me in minjd of that old adage “The family that prays together stays together” but, in this case it’s ‘prey’ as opposed to ‘pray’. Always In Black is another poem that displays how rRoger (and it’s another talent of hi) Roger the novelist is a natural depictor of character and is able to weave a perfect character description into the stuff of poetr. And there’s also some wonderful poems about Dublin. Impressions of Dublin would put you in mind of Louis Macneice’s Dublin which I’m sure some of you know. LM’s poem that goes This is not my town, I was not born or schooled here and she will not have me alive or dead. It’s a lovely elegy to Dublin and further elegies to other neighbourhoods in Dublin like Stoneybatter and Phoenix Park and, as the Lord Mayor mentioned, not to be left out is Drogheda – Drogheda on the Boyne is a wonderful homage to Drogheda.

Joe Woods

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