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J.S. Le Fanu’s “Shamus O’Brien” (1850)

J.S. Le Fanu’s “Shamus O’Brien” (1850)

7 May 2015

As today is Poetry Day here in Ireland, I thought I’d share a poem by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873). If Le Fanu is one of Ireland’s overlooked authors (when remembered it is mainly for his ghost stories and sensation novels), then as a poet he is certainly almost entirely forgotten. Though this was not always the case. It wasn’t until over twenty years after the author’s death that the Poems of J.S. Le Fanu (London: Downey, 1896) were collected under the editorship of family friend Alfred Percival Graves. But as Graves indicates in his introduction, Le Fanu had been …

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The River Dreams of Ruins by Stephen J. Clark

The River Dreams of Ruins by Stephen J. Clark

4 May 2015

A book’s creation is a story in itself. Perhaps when The Satyr was first published in 2010 there was something in the air at the time, as coincidentally “Austin Osman Spare: Fallen Visionary”, an exhibition at the Cuming Museum in London, opened later that year. A prominent retrospective, it brought about a welcome re-examination of the artist’s work. At the time commentators such as the publisher Robert Ansell (of Fulgur Limited) and the author Alan Moore emphasised the importance of thinking of Spare’s work in relation to his beliefs, ideas and methods, as one might of William Blake or Arthur …

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The Green Book 5

The Green Book 5

21 April 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE “In Ireland we have a national apathy about literature . . . It began to descend on us after we became self-governing; before that we were imaginative dreamers.” — AE to Van Wyck Brooks, 10 October 1932 So wrote the poet, painter, and mystic George William Russell (1867-1935) — better known by his spiritual name AE — less than a year before he left Ireland after a lifetime working to enrich a nation he loved and dedicated himself to. Yet his vision of Ireland as an enlightened society was seemingly at odds with the mass desire for the …

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Peter Bell’s Strange Epiphanies

Peter Bell’s Strange Epiphanies

16 April 2015

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting American critic Rick Kleffel from The Agony Column on his visit to Dublin. Rick has been supportive of Swan River Press from the start, and he seems to like a good few of the books we’ve published (though he’s not obliged to, of course!) In advance of his trip, Rick emailed me asking for contact information for authors he could visit with and interview on his extended trip to Ireland and Britain. One of the contacts I gave him was for the author Peter Bell who lives over in York. Peter had …

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George William Russell, AE (1867-1935)

George William Russell, AE (1867-1935)

12 April 2015

On Friday I decided to go to Mount Jerome Cemetery in Harold’s Cross, just one neighbourhood over from Rathmines, to pay respect to George William Russell (1867-1935), better known by his spiritual name “AE” (short for Aeon; simultaneously the mortal incarnation of the Logos and the representation of the immortal self). AE was a great man of a great many talents: poet, painter, novelist, economist, editor, critic, mystic, pacifist, patriot, literary facilitator, visionary—he was once (and rightfully) called “That myriad-minded man” by Archbishop Gregg (also the title of Henry Summerfield’s excellent biography). AE is largely overlooked today, perhaps because he …

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Ghost Story Awards 2014

Ghost Story Awards 2014

4 April 2015

We are pleased to announce that our first anthology, Dreams of Shadows and Smoke: Stories for J.S. Le Fanu, edited by Jim Rockhill and Brian J. Showers and published on the bicentenary of the author’s birth, has won the inaugural Ghost Story Award for Best Ghost Story Book 2014. Congratulations are also due to D.P. Watt, whose tale “Shallabalah” (published in the Ghosts & Scholars Newsletter 26) won Best Ghost Story. We’ve still got copies of Dreams of Shadow and Smoke available on our website for anyone interested—we still have a handful of copies signed by numerous contributors! Thank you …

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