Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
his soj
ourn in Northern Ireland'

Diary update and more poetry thoughts

Jon Kennedy  

JONAL ENTRY 1295 | JUNE 22 2013

But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

— from Thessalonians 4, from today's
Orthodox lectionary readings

Diary: First a few updates about my sojourn and then some thoughts about poetry following onto last week's post. Next week, my housemates, Ward and Marda Stothers, and I are scheduled to be in a remote cottage on a bay on the upper reaches of County Donegal. It is not, apparently, as remote as many other spots on this island (and beyond this island to any of many smaller Irish islands out in the sea), but remote enough that it has no wifi available, no cell phone connectivity from our providers (it being in "another country," our UK providers do not have service there). And it's far enough to any sizeable town that we won't likely be able to access wifi at a coffee shop or McDonald's; actually about as remote as where I grew up on Redmill Road. So I won't be able to send anything between Monday and Friday even if I want to. (Although it's hard to imagine either Marda or me being able to stay away from our iPads that long, as we seem tethered to them here in Belfast.)

As of today, I am the proud possessor of a senior transit pass, a plastic card that enables me to get free bus and train tickets all over both Northern Ireland and the Republic, so I am at last an emancipated man. I also have a new "favorite" coffee shop that I hope to visit almost daily in downtown Belfast . . . it's neither a Starbucks or a Costa's, but the only one I've found that has any type of coffee (including my new favorite, cappucinos), for a pound, way less than half price compared with the aforementioned. But it's also a hippy-bohemian-type of place which has always appealed to me, since my days researching my book on the hippies, The Youth Revolution, in the late '60s. And ironically, as such venues were "youth culture" in those days, most of the patrons here as I write this are much closer my generation than to the pre-30 one. "Downtown Belfast" is only about a mile from where I live, but that's longer than I can comfortably walk in my current arthritic condition.

With coffee (even espressos) at £1, Cafe Wah has to be my new favorite cafe, but the good prices are only one of several reasons. I also bought my stylin new-old cap at the Young Savage shop in the rear corner.

I have also found a literary agent willing to look at my second Lewis book with an eye to trying to interest a publisher in it, so I have been putting a lot of effort this week into revisiting that manuscript, which I had not looked at for some time.

Finally, before turning to my poetry ruminations, though I have been "hating" Facebook almost from first visiting it, I have to finally relent and admit that I use it more than I ever thought I would—it actually enhances my feeling of "connectedness" so far from many old friends and family in the states—so I am going to put a link to my Facebook and my Google+ pages at the bottom of these updates so you can all see, especially, the photos I'm uploading directly from my camera-phone. Google+ (pronounced Google-plus), is Google's answer to Facebook, but less annoying. (I would say "less infuriating," but am trying to be nice.)

Last week's "Poetry slam," as I said, was a revelation to me. It was a spoken-word complement to karaoke, providing an opportunity for creative amateurs to show their talents to an audience and, possibly, find through it a means of breaking into acting professionally (probably as long a shot as being offered a recording contract after a night of karaoke singing, but I'm sure it can happen and most likely has happened). Though the acting (called "reading") was more important at the slam than the poems themselves, it was apparent that better poems generally lend themselves to better rendering and, thus, better "acting." Obviously, a poem with a strong message or story brings forth a more emotional rendition than does a simple haiku or a humorous poem.

Last week I said "I am [now] convinced that poetry can be put to some good uses that I had barely known of before, and its cultivation should be nurtured, not discouraged." It's ironic—or is it "fitting"?—that I would receive such a revelation here in Ireland? That's because Ireland has been for centuries the land of poets; Irish literature is full of poetry and many—untold thousands, I dare venture to guess—have played the role of poet in their neighborhood public houses or even at their backyard barbecues or family gatherings around the fireplace on winter nights. Cf. Angela's Ashes. Or do a Dublin or Belfast weekend "pub crawl." Some only recite (or "read") the poetry of others, but many thousands also write poems of their own that they share with whatever audience they can attract. It's not always brilliant or stellar—ofttimes it must be painful and even tortured—but it is part of the Irish character and soul more than just about any other ethnic group. And, despite the large portion of the Northern Irish population that tries to drive wedges between them and anything from "the south," the Republic of Ireland, it's apparent that Belfast and the suburbs and exurbs of Ulster share a great deal of that aspiration, that poetry in their souls. Even C.S. Lewis, the most celebrated and literarily accomplished Irish Protestant of all, is proof of that.

My earliest definition of a poem was that it was the "poor man's song," because it is the lyric without the music. That may be as good a definition as any, especially in the light of poetry slams and the long history of Irish amateurs reciting their poems in their pubs and their front rooms. May this trend or fad increase.

§     §     §

For more and more spontaneous posts, follow me onand.

Feedback: You can comment on today's topic on the page linked here:


Feedback is always welcome.

Scripture: Today's readings, both together, give hope for being taken to the Lord in His second coming and being raised in the resurrection. Many believers, over the millenia since Jesus' ascension, have overremphasized one teaching at the expense of the other, but God, not willing that any should perish without the Good News, has been patient and even though we tend to continue to think as Paul and Peter probably did that we are in the "last generation," we may be yet another millenium (or more, or less) from it. Be comforted but keep your hope in the Lord only.

§     §     §

Please support my mission to Northern Ireland in your prayers. You can read my overview of this undertaking here. My residence/postal address is 227 Crumlin Road, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT14 7DY, UK. Mobile: 44 7455 980890.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy


related pages

The Nanty Glo Home Page

Previous blog:
Poetry slammed and redefined

Report on latest NTAMHS Meeting

Glotube videos



Q: What do you call a fake noodle?
A: An Impasta.


He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

— The prophet Isaiah (chapter 40)

The Nanty Glo Home Page and all its departments are for and by the whole Blacklick Valley community. Your feedback and written or artistic contributions, also notification about access problems, are welcomed. Click here to reply.

Suitable letters to the Home Page will be considered for publication in the Forum departments unless they are specifically labeled "Not for Publication."

Jon Kennedy's recent book,
C.S. Lewis Themes and Threads, is available for purchase at $2.99. Purchase supports the author'
s mission to Belfast, Ireland. Click here to download it directly to your Kindle or your Kindle bookshelf on your PC or smartphone.

Search site

Enter a name or subject and press return.