Reading of the Green

March 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

“A man’s fame lasts longer than his life.” -An Irish proverb

Though I’ve yet to remedy the sad fact that I’ve never been to Ireland I can say that I do know and enjoy the works of several Irish authors, poets, playwrights and artists of various stripes.

Eavan Boland, poet. My favourite poem by her is “Anorexic”:

Flesh is heretic.
My body is a witch.
I am burning it.

Quite powerful opening lines! You can read the full poem online.

If you’re interested in more Eavan Boland you’ll need to wait until her poetry books I’ve ordered arrive or you can request some of her poetry books through InterLibrary Loans. I recommend Origin Like Water and Night Feed or even Against Love Poetry.

Oscar Wilde, author, playwright, poet. My favourites of his works are The Picture of Dorian Gray and the poem “The Ballad of Reading Gaol.”

If you’ve never read The Picture of Dorian Gray or never heard about it then you’re missing out! I remember when I first read this book I started reading it at night and didn’t put it down until I’d completed it. “The Ballad or Reading Gaol” is a moving poem about his time in Reading Gaol where he was held after being convicted for homosexual offences and sentence to two years hard labor.

We have several of his works including The Complete Short Stories, The Happy Prince, and The Importance of Being Earnest. Also, the movie, which you can get from Netflix, called Wilde starring Stephen Fry and Jude Law is a phenomenal look at Oscar Wilde’s life and I highly recommend the movie just for its own sake.

James Joyce, author. I know this will sound pretentious to some, but my favourite novel (before I fell in love with Until I Find You by John Irving) is Ulysses.

I was introduced to this novel by SHSU professor Dr. Diane Dowdey in the English Department. I took one of her graduate classes and this was one of the books that we read. I wouldn’t have loved it without the class discussions and the very, very, very helpful The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses, which we read in accompaniment. Without that guide I would’ve been lost many times.

We own other works by Joyce that are, arguably, less mentally consuming than Joyce but no less demanding of the reader’s mental capacity such as Dubliners or A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

Watch this Films on Demand video about Joyce and his writing.

It was also in Dr. Dowdey’s class that I learned about the Theatre of the Absurd and Samuel Beckett, an Irish playwright, responsible for one of my favourite plays: Waiting for Godot.

Maeve Binchy, author. My best friend introduced me to this popular author with the book Tara Road,  which is a moving tale about two women who exchange houses and countries for a summer in order to heal their lives. You’ll want to use InterLibrary Loans for Tara Road. We have two books by her in the Library: Circle of Friends and Ladies’ Night at Finbar’s Hotel (this book is checked out to display, but you can come check it out for yourself! Just stop by the display on Irish authors in the Library lobby and take it over to the circulation desk).

Bram Stoker, author. Yes, the author of Dracula is Irish! You can visit a website dedicated to his work and read his short stories and some of his novels all in one place:

I recommend visiting and seeing their list of Irish authors & titles or take a look in our catalog at Irish fiction.

If you’re interested in artists (painters, sculptors, and the like) then I recommend the following websites: and There are also some Irish art books on the display that you can check out. You might also be interested in Early Celtic Art in Ireland or Treasures of Ireland.

For Irish music suggestions (as well as books & films) read the March issue of Books & Bytes (the Library newsletter!) and see the suggestions the music librarian Bruce Hall has made.


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