First Lesson

On school daze, great teachers, and making sense of the past. WHY DO POETS WRITE so much about the past? Surely there’s enough going on now to occupy us? I’ll come right out and say it at the start: I have little time for nostalgia, for the idea that the past was a better place than […]

Way of Peace

How small events can change the course of our lives This is a poem I wrote thirty years ago, give or take. I like to think I’d do it better today, but it still contains something that was a lesson to me then, and still speaks to me now. Back in the 1970s, like a lot of […]

Siouxsie and the Banshees, Cabra, 1980

Punk rockers Siouxsie and the Banshees’ legendary gig in a local cinema in Cabra, north Dublin in 1980 is the subject – or part of it, at least – of my contribution to Sunday Miscellany’s 50th, a half-centenary celebration of the radio show that has long been an Irish institution. The recording made at Dublin’s […]

Lost and Found: The Afterlife of a Poem

It’s odd how some poems set out, as it were, in the company of their peers, but quickly discover a very different path through the world. Though I didn’t think much of it at the time (and certainly not more than those which accompanied it), the poem ‘Lost and Found’ from my 2011 collection As […]

Seamus Heaney: An Appreciation

WHEN HE READ as part of the 2006 Dublin Writers Festival, Seamus Heaney shared the bill with the relatively unknown (to Irish readers, at least) Dutch poet Rutger Kopland, who passed away last year. At the time I was Programme Director of the DWF and pleased to have secured the participation of a poet I […]

An Unusual Name

This is a recording of a short prose piece entitled ‘An Unusual Name’, concerning the reputed origins of the name ‘Boran’ and the name of my late father’s Travel Agency at no. 74 Main Street, Portlaoise IS IT A BLESSING or a curse to have an unusual name? In the Boran family mythology, for example, […]