Skip to main content

Irish Poet Kevin Higgins Turns 39 Today

Let's all cheer for the jolly good fellow Kevin Higgins, (see left) whose 39th birthday coincides with today - April 6.

Higgins is one of the best Irish poets currently writing, under the age of 40 (he still qualifies) - for reasons that are starkly plain to the eye and ear when one opens his debut Salmon collection, which has sold very well indeed over the past year.

No one else in Ireland, in the race to outdo Heaney or Muldoon, has thought to reconsider Patrick Kavanagh's path - that is, the jaded, satirical voice of the countryman faced with city realities.

Moreover, Higgins writes with something of the satirical savagery of a Yeats (himself wrestling with Swift's vicious if ghostly tongue) - but, and here's the showstopper - he does so in a style all his own. In an age when most poets would arm wrestle over a scorpion to get their own signature voice, Higgins just has it.

It isn't always the prettiest singing voice, but it gets the job done, and well. Once you've read Higgins, you actually know what Ireland in the 21st century is like - you know how globalisation has altered Galway life - and you know what an ordinary Irish man, with uncommon poetic gifts, feels and thinks about life, love, family, history, and the future. And you also laugh. Few Irish poets have ever been as funny as Higgins.

If Higgins keeps to it, sticks to his guns, and publishes another two or so books in the next decade, by the time he is 50, he'll be exactly where any poet would want to be - in the unforgettable zone.

In the meantime, let's cheer him on, as he enters the last lap of his 30s, on the cusp of the 40s where all sorts of wonderful poetic challenges still await.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

SEXTON SHORTLIST!

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
GIMME THAT. DON’T SMITE ME, Steve Kronen
SCHEHERAZADE AND OTHER REDEPLOYMENTS, David McAleavey
AN AMERICAN PURGATORY, Rebecca Gayle Howell
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!