Lifesaving Poems: Ian Duhig’s ‘From the Irish’ and Maura Dooley’s ‘Mansize’

Anthony Wilson

Last night saw the launch of Magma 53 at the Troubadour Coffee House in London with guest readers and Lifesaving Poets Ian Duhig and Maura Dooley.

Although they are very different poets, what their Lifesaving Poems have in common is that I heard them before I read them, feeling them on the pulse as it were, before seeing them in black and white.

Ian Duhig’s ‘From the Irish’ is justly well-known, which he has nevertheless named ‘the most unsuccessful love poem of the past fifty years’. I saw him read it on a programme devoted to the art of love poetry on BBC2 in the early 1990’s. Poetry on telly was not common in those days and YouTube clips of poets and their performances did not exist. I taped it, as you did then, onto an actual video tape, and must have watched it a dozen times over…

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