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Read Some Irish Writers Today, Won’t You?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! While I hate the fratty atmosphere of the holiday here in the States, and will not be indulging in any green beer at a pretend Irish bar, thank you very much, I may listen to some Pogues, drink a pint of Guinness, reread Molloy, and let my Irish half wreak internal revenge on my English half.  As you probably could guess, my favorite Irish writer is Beckett. Closely followed by Yeats and Shaw. Who’s your favorite Irish writer, poet, playwright, journalist, pen-to-paper-whatever? Throw names into the comments and then treat yourself to some shepard’s pie.

In case you feel like celebrating Irish writers today (and well you should, since we owe much of our great literature to the Irish, past and present), you couldn’t do better than check out Necessary Fiction. Wonderful Irish writer Ethel Rohan is curating a series of lovely fiction and poetry by Irish writers. A new piece is up everyday in March, so read through what’s already been posted and then bookmark the site to check up on the rest of the year.

  • Amber Sparks's work has been featured or is forthcoming in various places, including New York Tyrant, Unsaid, Gargoyle, Annalemma and PANK. She is also the fiction editor at Emprise Review, and lives in Washington, DC with a husband and two beasts.

12 thoughts on “Read Some Irish Writers Today, Won’t You?

  1. I’m a Flann O’Brien buff myself, and while At Swim Two Birds is one of the great metafictional dazzlers of all time, I find myself drawn toward The Third Policeman, with its quiet, understated absurdities that unfold gradually and somewhat ominously. De Selby is the most underrated philosopher of the 20th century if you ask me. His attempts to bottle darkness are laudable and unfortunately have not been followed up on. Actually, when I was in 6th grade we had to come up with a product and invent a commercial and a jingle for it, and I came up with canned darkness, so when I first read Third Policeman I knew I was in good hands.

    I’ll also throw in a favorite story involving Ireland by an Irish-American writer, Edward Delaney. His story “The Drowning” is one I’ve inflicted on hundreds of students over the years. It’s a great story, though, designed as intricately as nerve repair surgery but resoundingly powerful as well, one of those stories that compresses a lifetime in a few pages and pivotal instants. Plus a good excuse to learn quite a bit about Irish history to understand some of the setup, even though that understanding isn’t essential to appreciate the story.

  2. I’ve not read the Poor Mouth–though I do love The Third Policeman. I’ll have to read more of him–it’s a shame I haven’t done so earlier. I’ll have to check out Delaney, too.

  3. I’m the first to mention Joyce? Really? Six times through Ulysses, and it still titillates me like nothing else. I followed Bloom’s footsteps through Dublin on the Bloomsday centenary in 2004, and really, few memories mean as much to me as the ones I collected there, attaching the real present to fictional past. It’s the only piece of fiction to launch a national holiday. That’s crazy-awesome-huge! Pure magic, that book.

    To be fair, Joyce would not toast to Ireland, so maybe I shouldn’t put his name in the hat….

    1. I didn’t there was a holiday–holy smokes, that’s fantastic! Wow. Yes, of course Joyce counts, even if he did not love his country well…after all I threw Beckett in there. :)

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