Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Future Blues


My new collection, Future Blues, is now out from Salmon Poetry.  It is available on your other book-selling websites too, and probably at least order-able from most actual bookshops.  But it’s always best to go direct to the publisher:

Thank you for your support.

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ISBN: 978-1-907056-90-1
Page Count: 86
Cover Artwork: Kyle Fitzpatrick, “Theater” (mixed media on canvas, 95” x 96”, 2007), www.kylefitzpatrick.com


Michael S. Begnal’s Future Blues is both a progression of and a break with his previous collection, Ancestor Worship. Inasmuch as any poet’s work is a continuing narrative defined by nothing more or less than chronological time, Future Blues is the collection that follows its immediate predecessor and so cannot help but be aware of it. Yet, as Begnal has written, “The best musicians, writers, and artists for me are the ones who, either steadily over time or perhaps in radical bursts, change their style or approach – each new work in part an effort to surpass the previous.” The Irish Literary Supplement described Ancestor Worship as “an attempt at reconstructing an obscured heritage.” While traces of such an impulse inevitably recur, Future Blues hurtles forward seeking out “new images and modes of being” (as one poem puts it), even as our collective future – death – looms.

Future Blues, in its title, lashes Irish poetry past and future into alliance – a desperate, daring act. Is that a space between “Future” and “Blues” or a caesura? Whichever, it offers a narrow stage for the uneasy demimonde of the present, where the Ghosts of Irish Poetry Past and Future meet, and merge. This is a poetry of trace and gesture, of tree and leaf, of light and surfaces, of haze and mark, drink, decline and persistence; a poetry of disjunctiveness which swells notably into cohesive poems in English and Irish – cohesive but still textured; a poetry of anomalies, stitched across time and culture from Mongán to Laurence Sterne to Frank O’Hara to Ron Asheton, often fragile, always intelligent, bristling with formal spice. Mairéad Byrne

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