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Showing posts from March, 2012

Kunsthaus Tacheles

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I first found Berlin's Kunsthaus Tacheles on 4 September 1997, purely by chance. It blew my mind. This is (with slight edits) what I wrote in my travel journal the next day: We got to this place! It was a cafe-bar as you go in, with cool, industrial decorations. There was a back door which lead to a garden/small park. Wow! It was mad. There was another bar next door and the building was four storeys high and severely run down. We went up and on the second floor there was another bar and cinema which was showing Kubrick's Dr Strangelove. On the fourth floor was an art exhibition of contemporary East German paintings. As we walked through the park there was all sorts of junk and small stones dotted around, and lots of people with weird clothes just hanging around. On the far side there was a temporary stage with some sort of performance going on, with people shouting and banging drums and singing. On the left there was yet another bar, a few wooden tables and a path leading to a …

A Tour of the Lattice, by Maurice Scully (and Kevin Kiely's review)

What has been overlooked in the "controversy" over Kevin Kiely's review of Michael D Higgins' New and Selected Poems, published in the February 2012 issue of Books Ireland, is that in the same batch of reviews Kiely also responds rather dismissively to Maurice Scully's most recent volume A Tour of the Lattice (Veer Books, 2011). I have no issue with anybody reading any text in any way that they wish - and whether they find it wonderful or objectionable I'll defend their right to write or speak about it without fear or prejudice. It seems important, though, to point out that there have been no dissenting voices over the way Kiely has trashed Scully's latest book in the way that poets, broadcasters and official bodies have rallied to the poetic defence of (president) Higgins.

I have heard Maurice Scully being described as Dublin's, if not Ireland's, best living poet - and done so in no sycophantic or PR terms. It's a rather simplistic statement,…