The Metre Archives

The Éigse Michael Hartnett  Facebook group linked to The Metre archives this week. Here are poetic treasures including essays, interviews, translations and reviews. The link that I just embedded above contains two Hartnett translations, Clocán Binn and Cén Áinius , introduced and discussed by Michael Smith. Metre was edited by Justin Quinn and David Wheatley.

I decided to add the site onto my Irish Poetry Imprints blogroll so that my readers can do their own exploring rather than have me discuss the poems that I like. 

Clocán Binn

Calling bell

Brought here by wild wind nightly
I would contest your clarion
Rather than war with women.

Translated by Michael Hartnett

I am linking my favourite download here with a recommendation to read the entire. The essay discusses a few preoccupations of mine with regards to dissipation of (unrenewable) poetic energies, performance, audience and response.

O’ Driscoll quotes  George Mackay Brown who interests me, and  who is represented on this blog with his poem, The Masque of Bread.  I feel that George Mackay Brown is quite a neglected poetic voice, given the cragged and ruggedness of his expression, and  his use of symbol (especially in his use of light symbol).

O’Driscoll brings Pliny’s letters into his discussion, and the art of Vona Groarke. I tend to subscribe to the Yeatsian adages about solitary writing myself, but it is interesting to look at an aspect of poetic writing which I feel intrigues many poets. Wallace Stevens had a horror of public-reading and is quoted here saying that he had no interest in being a troubadour and that he found public readings of poetry ghastly.

I remember coming up against the reading or not reading issue in college whilst studying Julian of Norwich, who I believed to have written or dictated her works just for the inner ear, where the reader of the pages she offered could discern The Revelation of Love‘s musicality all by themselves. Needless to say my theory was met with a consternation (which I have not forgotten).

I have linked the entire O’Driscoll essay here. 

There is an under-developed Sound and Voice category on this blog which I have linked. I hope to add some new Kit Fryatt links there soon. I am also becoming fascinated with contemporary textual and sound poetry as a result of finishing the Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Pennsylvania course which I detailed in my Open Salon Blog.

About Metre

Metre was a magazine of poetry that ran for seventeen issues from 1995 to 2005. For most of that period it was edited by Justin Quinn and David Wheatley. It presented original poetry, reviews, interviews and essays. Published and printed in Ireland, edited by two Irish people, it nonetheless billed itself as ‘A Magazine of International Poetry‘: the desire was present from the outset to provide a platform for the best of Irish work alongside the best from the UK, US, Australia as well as work in translation.

The magazine could not have continued without the generous support of the Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, and occasional support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Also, patrons and sponsors generously contributed to our costs from the outset.

This site presents a database of PDFs of original contributions to the magazine, and is hosted by the Faculty of Arts, Charles University Prague, under the auspices of the Centre for Irish Studies.

2 responses to “The Metre Archives”

  1. Very elucidating. Clocán Binn beautiful. Confused about who composed it. I agree with Stevens. I have attended many readings by great or good American poets, i.e., Galway Kinnell, Adrienne Rich, Richard Howard, Auden, but their poems recited aloud always seem lessened from the reading of them. Poets are not actors. So their readings come across as amateurish. It takes great skill ad training to convey a poem verbally and effectively. On the other hand, poets can give excellent lectures on the art of poetry. I have attended some of Auden’s lectures, Marianne Moore’s, Louise Bogan’s, May Sarton’s and especially that of Stanley Kunitz, and have always come away from them fulfilled.


    • Isn’t it great when archives are made available to the reading public ? I have to go get the electric acorn archives and add ’em.

      I think that Clocán Binn is from ‘The Hag of Beare’ translations,judging from the comment by Smith. It also look likely that the archive may be confused and in need of ordering. I would gladly help sort through some of these archives.

      My contacts are in the ‘about Poethead ‘page.


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