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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

You are invited to the Galway launch of Song of Songs 2.0 - New & Selected Poems

The Cúirt Festival of International Literature and Salmon Poetry invite you to the launch by Dr Philip Coleman of Trinity College Dublin of Song of Songs 2.0 – New & Selected Poems by Kevin Higgins at The House Hotel, Spanish Parade, Latin Quarter, Galway City Centre on Monday, April 24th, 7.30pm.

Dr Philip Coleman
Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway. He teaches poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre, Creative Writing at Galway Technical Institute, and is Creative Writing Director for the NUI Galway Summer School.

Kevin has published four collections of poetry with Salmon, The Ghost In The Lobby (2014), Frightening New Furniture (2010), Time Gentlemen, Please (2008), and his best-selling first collection, The Boy With No Face (2005), which was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award for Best First Collection by an Irish poet. His poetry is discussed in The Cambridge Introduction to Modern Irish Poetry and features in the generation defining anthology Identity Parade –New British and Irish Poets (Ed. Roddy Lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed. Neil Astley, Bloodaxe, April 2014). A collection of Kevin’s essays and book reviews, Mentioning The War, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2012 and 2016 – The Selected Satires of Kevin Higgins was published by NuaScéalta in early 2016. The Stinging Fly magazine recently described Kevin as “likely the most read living poet in Ireland.”

Song of Songs 2.0: New & Selected Poems is published by Salmon and includes a substantial number of new poems as well as selections from his six previous poetry collections, poems written between 1996 and 2017. 

Praise for Kevin Higgins’s poetry:
Ireland’s accomplished political poet and satirist Kevin Higgins”,

Diarmaid Ferriter, The Irish Times

I read this twice. Now, will make a coffee and read it again.”

Gene Kerrigan of The Sunday Independent

The satirist trades balance for excess, overstatement and savagery, uncovering the hidden dissonances of the social process. Prominent among the younger poets to have set themselves this challenge is Kevin Higgins…Satire is a form of war by other means, and…Higgins shows himself an enthusiastic (verbal) combatant”. David Wheatley

Likely the mostly widely read living poet in Ireland”,

The Stinging Fly magazine

As nasty a man as he is poor as a 'poet'

John McTernan, former advisor to Tony Blair

good satirical savagery”. The Cambridge Introduction to Modern Irish Poetry, 1800-2000

Higgins picks apart the human condition, its disappointments and indulgences, with vigour and acumen.” Roddy Lumsden

His contribution to the development of Irish satire is indisputable…Higgins’ poems embody all of the cunning and deviousness of language as it has been manipulated by his many targets... it is clear that Kevin Higgins’ voice and the force of his poetic project are gaining in confidence and authority with each new collection.” Philip Coleman

With backstage guardians in Paul Durcan (see his titles) and Patrick Kavanagh, Kevin Higgins's work has a buoyant spoken immediacy (often taking the form of dramatic monologues), his poems springing out of colloquial address and celebrating the ordinary through a use of quotidian bric-a-brac, which he often pits - with positive effect - against larger (but no more important) forces…Comedy is part of his poetics, and what I especially like in his work is its swiftness of wit, its tone of buoyant contrarianism and jubilant disappointment”, Eamon Grennan, The Irish Times

It is a profound compliment to the quality of Kevin’s writing that you can disagree with the content and yet find yourself still reading on and appreciating the style. You’d have to say that he is one of the lead poets of his generation in Ireland at this stage.” Clare Daly T.D.

Gil Scott Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised as re-told by Victor Meldrew”. Phil Brown, Eyewear

Fluent and often as laugh-out-loud funny as Paul Howard's Ross O'Carroll-Kelly”, John McAuliffe, The Irish Times

Higgins is a genius, because he does something only great poets do: he writes with a voice that is entirely his own, in a style he has invented, about themes and concerns that now are instantly recognisable as his terrain.” Todd Swift

Ireland's sharpest satirist my arse.” Fergus Finlay

 Ireland's best political poetMike Jenkins former editor of Poetry Wales 

brilliant satirePeter Tatchell

 Kevin Higgins writes political poetry of the highest order, telling truth to power with Swiftian savagery and satirical humour, dissecting and denouncing political doublespeak, pretension and hypocrisy.” Mike Quille, Culture Matters

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

My ongoing love affair with the Governance & Legal Unit


Some of you will be familiar with this story. Last year, just after the Brexit referendum, I was suspended as a member of the British Labour Party which I had joined as an overseas member during the summer of 2015. I was born in the UK and so was entitled to join the party, which I did to support Jeremy Corbyn.

It's pretty clear that the reason for my suspension was that I write the wrong kind of poem. The British Labour Party's Governance and Legal Unit are not alone in thinking I write the wrong kind of poem. Many other people also hate my poetry. Generally speaking, I take this as a compliment and am happy to wallow in the hostility of people such as them. I can think of nothing worse than being the favoured poet of people who in Ireland think water charges were a fab idea, in America think Hilary was preferrable to Bernie, or in the U.K. think the Labour Party should concentrate on trying to win the votes of aspiring estate agents in Leamington Spa. 

At the time of my suspention Left Futures ran a story about it, as did The Canary


You can read these here and here.    
 
Since last June I have inquired a number of times, via email, as to what the status of my suspension was. I received a ballot paper for the leadership and NEC elections last summer, but heard nothing more. 

Then, the week before last, I received an email from a Louise Withers Green of the Labour Party's very official sounding Governance and Legal Unit informing me that I was ineligible for party membership as I had announced my intention to run as an Independent candidate for Mauchline Ward on East Ayrshire District Council. Ms Withers Green appeared to be operating under the misapprehension that I was a Mr David Shaw which I am not, and as far as I know, have never been. 

I immediately emailed Ms Withers Green back saying that this was all very interesting but, as the man once said to Inspector Clouseau, "that is not my dog." I had never been to East Ayrshire and had no idea how to get there.

Then the real fun began. Ms Withers Green emailed me back the following morning saying that the earlier email had been sent to me in error, attaching the following letter.

The evidence, which was also attached to Ms Louise Withers Green's email,  included the following items.
My personal favourite
It's not clear to me how posting a link to a satirical item about the impending victory of communism to a Facebook group dedicated to supporting the Latin Mass is relevant to my membership of the British Labour Party. But there you go. These are strange days at the Labour Party Legal and Governance Unit. More generally it is clear that someone has been complaining to Labour Party Headquarters that I have been publishing the wrong kind of poems in the wrong kind of publications and then sharing links to these poems in the wrong kind of Facebook groups.

Of course none of this is really Ms Louise Withers Green's fault. It's the fault of the person who, ultimately, operates her, Labour Party General Secretary Ian McNichol, pictured below on a recent Labour Friends of Israel trip to Tel Aviv.
Ian is the dude in the middle with more hair than the other two.
But the story isn't over yet. Just when I thought it couldn't get sillier it did. 

Half an hour later the beleagured Ms Withers Green emailed me again to say that this letter (and the attached 15 pieces of evidence) had also been sent to me by mistake. It was, she said, an "administrative error" and I should ignore the whole thing.

Later that day I sent a data protection request asking to see ALL the documentation British Labour Party HQ has relating to me; it's clearly quite a file. I have heard nothing more so far.

There is one simple way the boys and the girls of the Labour Party's Legal and Governance Unit can solve at least a couple of the issues here. 

I am inviting them all, including both Ian McNichol and Louise Withers Green, to attend either the Irish launch of my New and Selected poems which takes place as part of this year's Cúirt International Festival of Literature on Monday, April 24th, 7.30pm at the House Hotel, Galway OR the Southern England launch of the same book which takes place in Chichester on Thursday, May 4th, also starting 7.30pm. Both Mr McNichol and Ms Withers Green clearly need to buy a copy of my new book to see if I have in fact been (a) writing the wrong kind of poem and (b) been publishing them in the wrong kind of publications. The book will include an acknowledgments list of publications in which the poems in it were first published. 

In the meantime I have written the script for a comedy series titled 'The Legal and Governance Unit' which I'm expecting will appear on the BBC in the autumn and will, I'm told, star Hugh Bonneville as Ian McNichol.
I haven't yet been told who will play me. But rumour is it's either Frankie Boyle or Ken Livingstone.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Councillor Keen Peter & Rahoonery

This month, to wide acclaim, the Irish government finally granted Travellers the status of an ethnic minority.

Rahoon is an area in Galway City which lent its name to ‘Rahoonery’ - see https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/rahoonery - following a prolonged anti-Traveller  protest in the area in the late 1960s.

Cllr Peter Keane is a member of Galway City Council. Last week Cllr Keen's minions put a newsletter through every door in the area which appeared to some residents to be an effort to stir up a bit of latter day Rahoonery. Cllr. Keane turning up in this way is a little surprising as he represents the neighbouring ward and actually lives on Taylor’s Hill, traditionally the most exclusive street in Galway City.  

As Cllr Keen is clearly in need of a creative writing class, I have gone to the trouble of rewriting the relevant part of his newsletter in order to make the meaning clearer for the common or garden gobshite. The Cookie Monster pyjamas referred to belong to me, Kevin Higgins.





Cllr Keen’s original is below my rewrite. 
 Keen Peter's lesser-pinstriped original

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Lock up your mothers (& your grandmothers)

I will be reading some poems at Stanzas in Limerick this Friday evening. For full details see here.

I have my passport to hand, have washed my thong and am all ready to go. 

People living in the general Limerick area are advised to lock up their mothers, their grandmothers, and - better to be safe than sorry - their great-grandmothers until myself and Mr Lordan have been safely escorted back to the border. 

All welcome.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

New poem inspired by comments Vincent Woods made on the death of Anthony Cronin

A new poem ‘One Has To Admire His Ability As A Poet’, inspired by these comments Vincent Woods made on the death of Anthony Cronin, is just published on the excellent Poethead website. Before you read the poem, to get you in the mood, you should first put your underpants on your head and play the Youtube video below.

UPDATE 5/1/2017 the poem has been republished on Broadsheet.ie 

Friday, 30 December 2016

2016 - the year of me being quoted in UK newspapers

One of the strange things that happened during the peculiar year that was 2016 was that poems of mine were quoted in The Daily Telegraph (pictured above), The Daily Mirror, and most recently The Times (London), in which former David Cameron adviser Lord Finkelstein took time out to take issue with one of them.
I look forward to 2017 when I expect to be quoted regularly in both Pravda and The Wall Street Journal.