Tributes to Jeremy Addis and The Level Crossing launches
Bookmarks: Books Ireland publisher dies; Dedalus Press produces a new poetry journal
Pat Boran: “We see The Level Crossing as a way to highlight what we already do at the press. (Our core mission is, after all, to publish and promote the best in contemporary poetry from Ireland.) But we’re also very much engaged with the wider poetry world, and we hope that – as well as playing the role of catalogue or sampler – The Level Crossing might usefully blur the distinction between ‘list’ and ‘non-list’ poets
The Irish literary community was saddened to learn of the death last Saturday of Jeremy Addis, the founding publisher of Books Ireland. His Requiem Mass was celebrated today at the Church of The Star of The Sea, Sandymount, Dublin, and the Books Ireland website booksirelandmagazine.com carried a fitting range of tributes to one of the Irish book world’s most dedicated and popular figures.
“We have been overwhelmed and touched by the flood of messages and good memories from the many people he crossed paths with in his 40 years of Books Ireland,” his colleagues wrote. “In fact, Jeremy was working, writing and reading up until just last week and his lifelong commitment and worthy contribution to the world of Irish books cannot be overstated. He was a true inspiration to the spirit of never giving up and will be greatly missed.”
Books Ireland this year celebrated its 40th anniversary with Jeremy as guest of honour at events at the Mountains to Sea festival in Dún Laoghaire and at the Irish Embassy in London. The publisher also wrote an article for The Irish Times, reflecting on his four decades with the magazine.
“Books Ireland established itself on the Irish publishing scene and gave not only much-needed publicity to smaller Irish publishers who found it hard to get space in the mainstream media, but also attracted well-known Irish writers, such as Maeve Binchey and Neil Jordan, and more recently the likes of John Banville, Joseph O’Connor and Eithne Shortall. It was not all plain sailing and the magazine did not always please the powers that be, like the time that a reviewer said that Michael D Higgins could be ‘accused of crimes against literature’.
“Magazines and newspapers can publish reviews of only a fraction of books submitted. Since the first issue, we included a list of ‘books received’. My first act as editor was to turn this into the First Flush column, where every book was accorded a description in 100 or 200 words – ie a mini-review. Unexpectedly, First Flush proved to be the mainstay of the magazine and the reason many subscribe to it.”
May he rest in peace.
The launch of a new magazine is a sign of a vibrant literary scene, so The Level Crossing, a poetry journal in print and online edited by Pat Boran of Dedalus Press, is welcome, even though, as a citizen of Greystones, Tom Mathews’ satirical dig at Co Wicklow’s last resort in Na Clocha Liath has rather taken the edge off my free porridge at the Happy Pear.
“Watch the war in Serbia/ On Sky News in suburbia./ Wouldn’t it disturbia/ If a black moved in?”
No, Tom, it wouldn’t. And to think, some of my best friends are poets.
As well as new works by Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Grace Wells, Catherine Ann Cullen and many others, there is an essay by Vincent Woods on his namesake Macdara, another by the editor on the haiku and the attractions of keeping it small, Kaith Payne on the new wave of Galician poets and Gerard Smyth on the storyteller US poet BH Fairchild.
“We see The Level Crossing,” says Boran in his introduction, “as a way to highlight what we already do at the press. (Our core mission is, after all, to publish and promote the best in contemporary poetry from Ireland.) But we’re also very much engaged with the wider poetry world, and we hope that – as well as playing the role of catalogue or sampler – The Level Crossing might usefully blur the distinction between ’list’ and ’non-list’ poets, as if readers’ interest stopped at arbitrary borders or brand names. As we like to say around here, living on an island doesn’t have to make you insular.”