by John Kearns
Photos by Daisy Kearns
On January 30, 2015, thanks to the generosity of IAW&A Boardmember’s University of Missouri at Saint Louis (UMSL), I hosted the first IAW&A Salon west of the Mississippi. Thanks to the hospitality of the Webster Groves Public Library, it was a warm evening of poetry, music, prose, and an enthusiastic, standing-room-only crowd!
Tom Cooper of Webster Groves Public Library welcomes us
IAW&A Boardmember Eamonn Wall welcomes us on behalf of Irish Studies at UMSL
John Kearns introduces IAW&A and Salons
Andrew O’Brien and Terry Corcoran played three times during the salon
Jennifer Fandel started off the readings with selections of her poetry. Jennifer had this to say about her experience, “What a wonderful night! I’m honored to have asked to read. Beautiful, transporting music by Andrew O’Brien and Terry Corcoran, and arresting poetry and fiction. And, to top everything off, a huge and amazing audience. Many thanks to Eamonn Wall for his organization of the event, and to John Kearns for producing the Irish American salons.”
Ron Ebest author of Private Histories: the Writing of Irish-Americans, 1900-1935 and The Dave Store Massacre, about Walmart culture, read from his novel-in-progress.
Sharon Bangert Corcoran
Native St. Louisan and translator of the works of Isabelle Eberhardt, Sharon Bangert Corcoran, shared some of her poetry with us.
Eamonn Wall read poems about his aunts who taught him how to drink and about Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. He has a poem appearing in the Irish Times on Saturday, February 7th, and his new book Junction City: Selected Poems 1990-2015 will be published in April.
The Webster Groves Public Library ran out of chairs
Poet Katy Gordon, who holds a Ph.D in Scottish Literature, read “Ghost Estate,” “For My Daughter on Her Birthday,” “Road Trip,” and “The Difference Between Love and Poetry.” “Ghost Estate” was inspired in part by time spent studying in Galway at the National University of Ireland.
Mark Shaw read an excerpt from his forthcoming novel, Eagles Circle the Drum, set on his reservation (the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Nation) in Northwoods, Wisconsin. Being of Irish and American Indian descent, Mark began my presentation discussing how Irish Literature and Native American Literature have a lot of common themes: the importance of their language, the importance of their art, the importance of the representation of their people, and the struggles of coexisting with a dominant culture.
UMSL professor, Drucilla Wall, author of The Geese at the Gates and winner of the Prairie Schooner Short Story Award, shared a few poems, including one about a possible bat home invasion.
I read an excerpt from my novel in progress, Worlds, in which Janey Logan finds that the A&P has sent her son, Paul, home on his bicycle on a rainy day with a jar of mayonnaise in only a single brown paper bag. Janey takes Paul back to the store and makes a scene to humiliate the manager into giving her a new jar — in a double bag.
Presenters take a bow
Andrew O’Brien and Terry Corcoran conclude the evening
More IAW&A Salons in Saint Louis to come!