The recently published Green carnations, Glas na Gile, is a compelling anthology told through the voices of 25 Irish LGBTQ + poets, capturing today’s queer experience.
The anthology traces the ups and downs of first loves, longer couple relationships and sexual encounters, pleasure and pain, self-reflection and celebration, all through the talents of a wide range of people. range of LGBTQ + people.
Speaking about the origins of the LGBTQ + poetry anthology, publisher John Ennis shared, “The book grew out of a conversation I had with UCD student Moxie Lofton, who hosted a poetry workshop without see you in Dublin at the end of January 2020. I walked around, I could learn something. During snatches of intermittent conversation, Moxie remarked on the newfound confidence in young LGBTQ + poets to express their innermost thoughts and fears in the minefield of relationships.
“Having edited and published a number of anthologies, I suggested that perhaps there was a need to publish a modest booklet of poems reflecting this? We met a few times later to explore the idea: the covid intervened but the notion accelerated, finally after many twists and turns to end up with a 198-page book featuring 25 poets.
To celebrate, I found a seat in a bar. A lady
thanked me for all my dead legs, my bleeding toes.
She couldn’t bear to ask people
to allow him to marry his girlfriend.
My heart swelled with pride.
At nightfall I was with my friends,
drink cocktails. I felt like a full citizen
of this country for the first time.
An Indian summer has arrived early.
We lit paper lanterns.
They floated up and away
under the woolly clouds.
Count Day (an excerpt) – Diarmuid Fitzgerald
Ennis continued, “This bilingual anthology of 25 young LGBTQ + poets living in Ireland refutes the notion of the ‘gay’ stereotype still in the minds of many people, especially the ‘objectively messy’ person of Catholic religious fundamentalism. Some poets in the book still bear the scars of these humiliations.
“Each voice among the 25 is varied on its own, to begin with, and then blooms with that individuality, among the others, as the verse unfolds. In their motley way, the poets are “proud to be homosexual”, despite the struggle that some must wage daily to defend their right to homosexuality, as individuals, human beings and fully engaged members of society with equal rights due in all spheres of life. “
Ireland does not welcome that which is strange,
for years “abnormal” men have loved out of reach
suspicious eyes and hateful looks,
they escaped from here given their chances.
The land of saints, scholars, tales and joy,
some stories were forgotten, never free.
The song for him (a sample) – SJ Saighead
There are poems dedicated to supportive parents who have helped their children during the coming out process – which is a recurring theme – and poems decrying the lack of support from extended family members. The creators describe: “Life as it is lived is the object of this book: life with its individual acts of reflection”, there are moments of self-reflection, frightening moments, conversations (including one with a drag queen) and the everyday. the daily life of a queer person in Ireland.
Ennis described: “When Moxie Lofton and I sat down to try and set some parameters for Green carnations, Glas na Gile, we wondered if there might be traces of the spirit of the original Oscar in the expected poems. We were not to be disappointed.
I never imagined freedom
It could come
To be in a room
Surrounded by people like me.
To know that we all got irritated at
The kind that society assigns to us
And struggled to find the courage
To be truly ourselves,
Gave me a feeling of peace
That I have never lived before.
The minority has become the majority;
Confidence and the power of numbers.
Lighthouse (an excerpt) – SH Bramble
Green carnations, Glas na Gile is available for purchase at bookhubpublishing.com.
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