Tuesday, 24 February 2009

PERPLEXED SKIN - STRONG AWARD SHORTLIST



I'm delighted that my friend Patrick (Pat) Cotter's poetry book Perplexed Skin has been shortlisted for the Strong Award. The book is sexy, witty and learn-ed. Here's what I said back in September when I launched it alongside three other Arlen House titles, at the Unitarian Church in Dublin:

"In his collection Perplexed Skin, Patrick Cotter writes frank and sensuous love poems, many of them embedded with a sudden and painful kick in the teeth: a girlfriend is stolen by bad feng shui; lovers lie with each other ‘like siblings’; and in ‘A Tigress is..’ the big cat ‘is a girl who licks up all your purring like milk, before leaving you’.

Pat’s poems are also ripe with a rueful self-criticism: the narrator compares himself unfavourably to sculptures in a museum; or laments his hair which stands in ‘shocked thin peaks of grey flames’. In the poem ‘The Poet Contemplates Book Cover Portraits’, the poet at 22 years old, and the poet at 42, have different ideas about the youthfulness of the now ubiquitous jacket photo. Expect to see a portrait of the poet as a banana on the back of Pat’s next book. You’ll know what I mean by that when you’ve read this one.

In a poem about the act of writing, the narrator observes that writing in a bar is more companionable than ‘a silent room’ because the noise there makes ‘the great trek through the word-veldt less lonesome’. Pat uses a rich Hiberno-English on his great trek, though his influences are doubtless European; he is unafraid of the local and the colloquial, the subversive and the funny, the searing truth and the wry observation."


The other shortlisted authors/books are:

Áine Moynihan: Canals of Memory (Doghouse)
Simon Ó Faoláin: Anam Mhadra (Coiscéim)
Ciaran Berry: The Sphere of Birds (Gallery Books)

Galway poet Mary O'Malley is the judge and I wish Pat the best of luck at the Strong Award at the Poetry Now Festival on the 29th of March and I'll be there shouting for him. Well, not literally shouting or I'd be kicked out, but you know what I mean. Pat's new collection Making Music is due for publication very soon and he blogs here.

12 comments:

Tania Hershman said...

Brilliant, congratulations to Pat, and good luck to all!

Anti-Laureate said...

You're too kind.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Tania - it's great. Well deserved. Let's haope he wins now!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Pat - not at all.

Liz said...

Nuala, your write-up has piqued my curiosity about this poet...best of luck to him.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Good good, Liz. That's the idea!

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Pat's book is available to buy from the incomparable kennys.ie, for all you interested parties.

BarbaraS said...

Best of luck to Pat, but I will be shouting for my stablemate Aine from Doghouse - first time I've ever seen a Doghouse book on their shortlist ;)

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Hi B
I was thinking that re Doghouse. Nice one.
I wonder did Mary choose the shortlist? As far as I know, Louis de Paor chose the shortlist himself as judge last year.
Interesting. Anything could happen!
N

Jen HE said...

That's great news and much deserved - many congrats to Pat.

PJ Nolan said...

I enjoyed Patricks' reading at the UnitarianChurch last Nov (?). Best of luck to him. Ciaran Berry's book is well worth a dip too.

WOMEN RULE WRITER said...

Probably was November, PJ. Don't mind me...nappy brain...