Ash Wednesday Poetry Series – Gabriel Rosenstock: Féileacán/Butterfly

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It’s like breathing, at least for me, in the sense that it is natural and necessary. One can be conscious of one’s breath or one can breathe without a thought. And let’s not forget the connection between ‘breath’ and ‘inspiration’”.

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The Ash Wednesday Series takes its name from the following Leonard Cohen quotation:  “Poetry is just the evidence of life.  If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash”.  As a writer, does this ring true for you?

Absolutely! Cuerpo en llamas (Body In Flame) was one of the first books I translated, by Chicano poet Francisco X. Alarcón and my own selected haiku in Irish is called Géaga Trí Thine (Limbs Ablaze).

What makes a poem?

Billions of things and non-things. John W. Sexton told me recently that he has the ability to see creatures that he describes as ‘electric cats’.

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Describe your writing ritual.

I write every day from about 10 a.m to 6.p.m. If I’m not writing I’m translating. It’s all I do. Not much good at anything else, I’m afraid.

Is writing a compulsion, obsession or something else?

It’s like breathing, at least for me, in the sense that it is natural and necessary. One can be conscious of one’s breath or one can breathe without a thought. And let’s not forget the connection between ‘breath’ and ‘inspiration’.

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What makes being a writer in Dublin unique (to being a writer anywhere else)?

They may have put something in the Liffey. How else could Flann O’Brien have written The Third Policeman?

The nose provides a way for understanding the world and its first impressions.  The first smells of people and places, for whatever the nose chooses to capture can become a strong memory for the mind.  Smells have a way of lingering, taking up space as though they were bodies.  What does Dublin smell like to you?

It smells like the Third Policeman being translated by Proust.

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Whose poems are you reading now?

I’ve just finished translating a batch of eastern poets, Ko Un from Korea, Hemant Divate and Dileep Jhaveri from India. Hope to bring Divate, Jhaveri and K. Satchidanandan to Dublin end of February for a launch and reading. Please look out for them!

Describe your coffee ceremony (i.e. everything that goes into a perfect coffee experience).

I drink green tea, white tea and puer tea. Sometimes tulsi tea.

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A video to Gabriel Rosenstock reading his poem can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ6ixDhLJJw&feature=youtu.be

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Bio [English follows] 

Gabriel Rosenstock

Údar/ aistritheoir breis is 160 leabhar é Gabriel Rosenstock, dánta, haiku, úrscéalta, leabhair do dhaoine óga, drámaí, gearrscéalta, aistí agus eile ina measc. Is ball d’Aosdána é agus aithníonn sé nach bhfuil dóthain scríbhneoirí Gaeilge san eagraíocht sin. Conas a bheadh, ar seisean, nuair nach bhfuil formhór na mball eile (na vótóirí) in ann an Ghaeilge a léamh! Is gá aistriúcháin a chur ar fáil dóibh agus is gá tacaíocht a fháil ó leithéidí Fhoras na Gaeilge agus Idirmhalartán Litríocht Éireann/ Ireland Literature Exchange chomh maith leis an gComhairle Ealaíon chun réimse leathan de nualitríocht na Gaeilge a thiontú go Béarla agus teangacha eile an domhain.

Dochtúir leighis ó Schleswig-Holstein ab ea a athair; scríbhneoir ab ea é chomh maith. Irische Gezeiten ceann dá leabhar filíochta agus úrscéal gearr is ea Paradies der Armen. Banaltra as Cnocán Íomhair, Baile Átha an Rí, Co. na Gaillimhe, ab ea a mháthair agus Hello, Is It All Over? an teideal atá ar a cuimhní cinn. Chum Raiftearaí dán do dhuine dá muintir: Tar éis na Nollag le cónamh Chríosta ní chodlód choíche má mhairim beo/ Go dté mé siar go Cnocán Íomhair mar is áit bhreá shaoithiúil é nach dtiteann ceo.

I gCill Fhíonáin, Co. Luimnigh, a tháinig Gabriel ar an saol agus is Gabriel a thug a mháthair air toisc gur rugadh ar bhuille Chlog an Aingil é. Cainteoir dúchais ó Bhaile Bhuirne, a  tSr Celsus, an chéad mhúinteoir a bhí aige agus thug sé taitneamh don Ghaeilge ón gcéad lá riamh. Is dóigh leis go bhfuil galar meabhrach ar dhaoine ar fuath leo an Ghaeilge.

 Chaith Gabriel seal i Vín ag múineadh haiku sa Schule für Dichtung agus is ball bunaidh é den Haiku Foundation. Dhá leabhar uaidh i mBéarla ar haiku mar chonair spioradálta, Haiku Enlightenment agus Haiku, the Gentle Art of Disappearing.  Cambridge Scholars Publishing thall i sean-Sasana a d’fhoilsigh. Géaga Trí Thine is teideal dá rogha haiku i nGaeilge agus Where Light Begins an teideal atá ar na haiku Béarla, go leor acu aistrithe on mbun-Ghaeilge.

 I measc na bhfilí atá aistrithe go Gaeilge aige tá Francisco X. Alarcón, Seamus Heaney, Rabindranath Tagore, Günter Grass, W M  Roggeman, Said, Zhāng Ye, Michele Ranchetti, Michael Augustin, Peter Huchel, Georg Trakl, Georg Heym, Hansjörg Schertenleib, Hilde Domin, Johann P. Tammen, Munir Niazi, Ko Un, Günter Kunert, Iqbal, Michael Krüger, Kristiina Ehin, Nikola Madzirov, Agnar Artúvertin, Walter Helmut Fritz, K. Satchidanandan, Elke Schmitter, Hemant Divate, Dileep Jhaveri and Matthias Politycki agus haiku clasaicacha agus comhaimseartha le le John W. Sexton (Éire), J W Hackett (SAM), Andres Ehin (an Eastóin), Petar Tchouhov (an Bhulgáir) agus Janak Sapkota (Neipeal). I measc na ngradam a bronnadh air tá an bonn Tamgha-I-Kidmat ó Rialtas na Pacastáine.

Scata leabhar do dhaoine óga scríofa agus aistrithe aige agus CD déanta aige de go leor díobh sin. Bíonn sé ag aistriú ó Ghaeilge go Béarla chomh maith, scéalta le Dara Ó Conaola agus Pádraic Breathnach, cuir i gcás, agus sa bhliain 2013 feicfear a chuid aistriúchán ar dhánta le Liam Ó Muirthile. Bhí sé bainteach leis an bhféile IMRAM ó lá a bhunaithe agus is tríd an bhféile sin a tháinig a chuid aistriúchán ar liricí Leonard Cohen is Bob Dylan ar an bhfód chomh maith le dánta Beckett.

Leabhar taistil leis is ea Ólann mo Mhiúil as an nGainséis (CIC) agus tá fáil ar leagan Béarla de sin anois, My Mule Drinks from the Ganges, aistrithe ag Mícheál Ó hAodha.  Academica Press, California, na foilsitheoirí.

Is spéis leis cultúr na hIndia agus traidisiúin spioradálta an Oirthir trí chéile, mar is léir ó na díolamaí Guthanna Beannaithe an Domhain (Coiscéim), agus an dialann idirghníomhach Dialann Anama (Coiscéim). Leabhar do dhaoine fásta (an-fhásta) ar chúrsaí spioradálta is ea The Pleasantries of Krishnamurphy: Revelations from an Irish Ashram (Non-Duality Press).

Gearrscéal leis sa díolaim Best European Fiction 2012 ón Dalkey Archive Press. Suite i gCiarraí atá an t-úrscéal bleachtaireachta leis i mBéarla, My Head is Missing (2012). Liosta cuibheasach cuimsitheach dá chuid foilseachán ar an suíomh seo: http://www.worldcat.org/

Gabriel Rosenstock

Gabriel Rosenstock is the author/translator of over 160 books, including 13 volumes of poetry and a volume of haiku in Irish and in English,  as well as numerous books for children.

Books Ireland (Summer 2012)  says of his comic detective novel My Head is Missing: ‘This is a departure for Rosenstock but he is surefooted as he takes on the comic genre and writes a story full of engaging characters and a plot that keeps the reader turning the page.’

A member of Aosdána (the Irish Academy of Arts and Letters), he has given readings in Europe, South, Central and North America, India, Australia, Japan and has been published in various leading international journals including Akzente, Neue Rundschau, and die horen (Germany), Poetry (Chicago), World Haiku Review, Irish Pages, Poetry Ireland Review, The Stinging Fly and Sirena. He has given readings at major festivals, including Berlin, Bremen, Struga (Macedonia), Vilenica (Slovenia), Medellín, Vilnius,  Ars Poetica (Slovakia)  and twice at the nomadic Kritya festival in India. He is booked for Hyderabad 2013.

Rosenstock taught haiku at the Schule für Dichtung (Poetry Academy) in Vienna. Among his awards is the Tamgha-I-Kidmat medal for services to literature.

He has brought out Irish-language versions and translations of among others, Francisco X. Alarcón, Seamus Heaney, Rabindranath Tagore, Günter Grass, W M  Roggeman, Said, Zhāng Ye, Michele Ranchetti, Michael Augustin, Peter Huchel, Georg Trakl, Georg Heym, Hansjörg Schertenleib, Hilde Domin, Johann P. Tammen, Munir Niazi, Ko Un, Günter Kunert, Iqbal, Michael Krüger, Kristiina Ehin, Nikola Madzirov, Agnar Artúvertin, Walter Helmut Fritz, K. Satchidanandan, Elke Schmitter, Hemant Divate, Dileep Jhaveri and Matthias Politycki as well as Irish-language versions of classical haiku and modern haiku by amongst others John W. Sexton (Ireland), J W Hackett (USA), Andres Ehin (Estonia), Petar Tchouhov (Bulgaria) and Janak Sapkota (Nepal).

Rosenstock is the Irish-language advisor for the poetry journal THE SHOp and a Foundation Associate of The Haiku Foundation. His vast output includes  plays, work for TV, novels and short stories, children’s literature in prose and verse, including Irish versions of such classics as The Gruffalo. Recent successful picture books include Sa Tóir ar an Yeití (Cló Mhaigh Eo) and his retellings of ancient and medieval Indian tales, Birbal (Cló Iar-Chonnacht).  He is the Irish-language translator with the new imprint Walker Éireann.

Among the anthologies in which he is represented is Best European Fiction 2012 (Dalkey Archive Press, USA). His outlandish novella Lacertidae was translated from the Irish by Mícheál Ó hAodha (OW 2011). His Selected Poems / Rogha Dánta (Cló Iar-Chonnacht) appeared in 2005 and the the bilingual volume Bliain an Bhandé/ Year of the Goddess came out in 2007 (Dedalus). He is the Irish translator of numerous films and TV shows including Watership Down and The Muppet Show. He is also well known as a translator of song lyrics into Irish by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and others and as a translator of plays by Beckett, Frisch, Yeats and others. The year 2012 saw the publication of a full-length play The Blood of Squirrels and a burlesque The Amazing Professor Parrot. Three volumes of the series Guthanna Beannaithe an Domhain have been published by Coiscéim, sacred voices of the Earth in which saints and sinners rub shoulders with shamans and sages.

Two books on haiku as a way of life, Haiku Enlightenment and Haiku, the Gentle Art of Disappearing from Cambridge Scholars Publishing are available from Amazon. Uttering Her Name (Salmon Poetry) is his début volume of poems in English and has been translated into many languages, including Faroese, Serbian and Japanese. The Pleasantries of Krishnamurphy: Revelations from an Irish Ashram, was  published in 2011 by Non-Duality Press, www.non-dualitypress.org and his travelogue My Mule Drinks from the Ganges, translated from the Irish by Mícheál Ó hAodha, from Academica Press (2012).

Gabriel does not have a blog but “leaks” material occasionally to this blogspot:

http://roghaghabriel.blogspot.ie/

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5 Responses to Ash Wednesday Poetry Series – Gabriel Rosenstock: Féileacán/Butterfly

  1. Very enlightening and inspiring.

    –R K Singh

  2. Karen Tazi says:

    A breath of fresh air!

  3. Hilton says:

    Wonderful writings. Congratulations and keep writing more. Thanks

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