Louis Mulcahy will be reading from The Potter’s Book at 3.30 on Monday 6th May in the atmospheric Chapel of The Diseart, Green Street, Dingle.
He will be joined by the celebrated young poet Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh who will read from her latest and much lauded collection the Coast Road.
Louis Mulcahy reflects on fifty years working in clay. With humour, scepticism and love, he relates the trials and joys of the artist craftsman from prehistory through Biblical times to his own ceramic sculpture, ranging from the classic pots of the Chinese Sung Dynasty through those of the Japanese Tea Ceremony to the excitement and vicissitudes of learning the Potter’s craft. His poetry has garnered appreciation from many respected poets, including Thomas McCarthy, who said of this collection, ‘Here is a poetry of childhood, memory, but mainly, and most triumphantly, a poetry of human longing and attachment.’
He has been published widely in quality magazines and on radio. He has been short listed in many competitions recently won the 2019 Robert Leslie Boland Poetry Prize. He will read in English from his latest collection of poetry, The Potter’s Book, which was published at the end of 2018 by Doire Press. He has four collections, three of which, including one in Irish, were published by An Sagart Press. This fourth collection was published at the end of 2018 by Doire Press.
With THE POTTER’S BOOK Louis Mulcahy has gone back to the heart of the matter, back to the hearth of clay and design. Here is life ‘linked to a fly-wheel/ spinning by kick of foot.’ From the smell of FLIT insecticide on his mother’s fine bone china to a rhapsody upon the potteries of Jutland and Japan, to unbridled joy in the pliability of clay, his new poems soar into heights of perception, hard-won knowledge and coats of silica. As poet of memory and sea, of family and craft, he has indeed mastered the alchemy of throwing. Here is important and unforgettable work. Thomas McCarthy, author of Pandemonium (Carcanet)
‘Louis Mulcahy has led a life of turning clay into beautiful pots, and now he has transferred his formidable talent into turning words into beautiful poems. The Potter’s Book deals with the raw materials of creation – clay, oxides of cobalt and copper – and transmutes them into gleaming verbal objects. Along the way we can trace Mulcahy’s odyssey from the ‘snow-ploughed roads of Jutland’, where he learned his trade at the hands of master potters, to the place he made his home in Dingle. In evoking his fascinating story, his words have the elegance of his pots, and his poems the uncanny sheen of their glazes.’ James Harpur, author of The White Silhouette (Carcanet)
Louis Mulcahy’s new collection is an ambitious book, an examination in poetry of the processes of creative art by way of an exploration of his other life as a ceramicist. It goes much farther, however, than the autobiographical, interesting and all as that is. The international cultural contexts of ceramics – from Japan to England’s industrial potteries – as well as the down-and-dirty elemental processes involved, are essential to the poems. Marital love and family, and an empathy with the physical and cultural landscape of the poet’s adoptive home in Corca Dhuibhne (to where the poet’s cremated ashes are to be borne in a “raku chalice” he has fired) , are also important elements in the clay of this “well wrought urn” by a master craftsman. Paddy Bushe, author of On a Turning Wing (Dedalus)
Deft, assured, these meditations on the creative process, on that ‘wrestling with the kiln’ where all true art originates, resonate long after the book’s last page had been turned. Distinguished by a quiet wonder at the thrill of the creative process, at life’s shifting sands, these are poems brimming with craft and love. Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, author of The Coast Road (Gallery)