“Authors’ complaints about publishers have been voiced on many different tunes, but their concert generally amounts to endless variations on the same theme: money. Either they moan piteously, like Henry James writing to his publisher: ‘The delicious ring of the sovereign is conspicuous in our intercourse by its absence.’ Or they thunder with foaming fury and throw colourful abuse like L.-F. Céline: ‘If you were not robbing me, you would not be conforming to my views of human nature.’ And, as his publisher had refused to increase an advance on royalties and advised ‘more patience,’ he retorted: ‘Patience is a virtue for donkeys and cuckolds! If only you could kindly wipe your arse with my contract and let me free to leave your filthy brothel!’ Yet screams merely betray powerlessness. Georges Simenon, wanting to rescind an agreement that had proved disadvantageous to him, resorted to different tactics: he achieved his aim by putting to good use his intuitive knowledge of the human heart. The novelist assessed how much it would be worth for him to redeem his original contract; then filled a briefcase with banknotes and won his negotiation simply by emptying the briefcase over the publisher’s desk”. Simon Leys

I am fed up picking my own brains
From now on I intend
To pick other peoples’
Writers, I mean
Well, the good ones anyway.
Write sober, edit drunk, said Hemingway
Or was it the other way round?
Only a blockhead writes for anything but money
That, I believe, was Samuel Johnson.
Hey Sam, in case you didn’t know
The world is overflowing with blockheads nowadays.
And then there was that other asshole in NY
Who said that the best way to get a good book published
Was to write one.
Oh yeah, shitface?
Well, swivel on this
The only dead writer is a good one.


An unsung land is a dead land
Forget the song
And the land will surely die.
Our forebears, though mostly illiterate,
Made music that can still make us cry
Musical phrases, like a map reference,
And the land read as a musical score
Where singing the land
Has the crowd calling out for more.
The song couplets stretch across tectonic plates
Just like mountains stretch across continents
And someone waving as we pass through endless gates.
Pale sand, red rock, burning fire
Everything your heart may desire
Mapping the music
to which everything transcends
This is where the story begins not ends.
Religion, pagan or Christian
Permeating everything, blending,
People sympathetic and synthetic,
Careless and unknowing of secular beginning
Or religious ending.
All the colours of the rainbow
Dressed in human clothing
Aisling, dreang, radharc
And the gift of seeing what isn’t there
When the songs are left unsung
Who is then left to care?



For more than twenty years
I have emptied pens on virgin pages;
A million words at least
And many more chewed in frustration
Then spat into the dustbin of the ages.
Words are cheap and wordsmiths cheaper still
But we like our efforts to be appreciated
And performed ( better still)
Yet to Irish Theatres great and small,
I do not write plays at all;
You have ignored my work
Yet the English do not shirk
To place my plays centre-stage
And Americans too have premiered a few
Which makes me ask you nicely
Irish Theatres, what the FUCK
Is the matter with you?