|John W. Sexton|
Page Count: 104
Publication Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Cover Artwork: Gerard Sexton, “Idea Driven,” acrylic on canvas. www.instagram.com/gerardsexton_art/ Photograph of cover artwork: Michael Brosnan
About this Book
In the poems of Futures Pass, born from a personal experiment into channelling a prosodic alter-ego, John W. Sexton ranges from the formal to the projective – out of this world, and out of his mind. From famous mice to an entropic rose, from a transubstantiated piano to the final vision of Saint Aquinas, from elegies for Michael Jackson to Neda Agha-Soltan, these poems provide a map from the past and the future to the eternal now.
Praise for John W. Sexton’s Poetry
Sexton is a lyrical, sensitive writer of acute observational directness whose talent I have noted previously; he can unsettle and inspire in the same poem. He knows what poetry is meant to be, which alone puts the work streets ahead of what passes for poetry elsewhere.
A poet who feels deep emotion, deep conflict and deep meaning.
Sexton’s way of exploring the “space inside” is what makes him different and unusual. Sexton emerges as his own man, clearly standing apart from trends towards obscurity and self-consciousness that fuel the work of his contemporaries.
I would strongly recommend this collection to anybody with an interest in poetry. It is a collection that could revive the lapsed reader’s love of the poetic art. Like all great works of fantasy, it has its roots, and therefore its latent power, in the familiar strangeness and wistfulness of daily life, and from this base Sexton, through a combination of imagination, humour and technical skill, has created a parallel world, where nothing is quite what it seems and the ground is constantly shifting. In Sexton’s world, life’s experience is infinite and unresolved.
Charles Simic said, "All poets, if they are any good, tend to stand apart from their literary age. They either linger in the past, advance into some imaginary future, or live in some version of the present that is altogether of their own." What is remarkable about Sexton is that he does all three.
John W. Sexton was born in 1958 and is the author of five previous poetry collections: The Prince’s Brief Career, Foreword by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, (Cairn Mountain Press, 1995), Shadows Bloom / Scáthanna Faoi Bhláth, a book of haiku with translations into Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock (Doghouse, 2004), Vortex (Doghouse, 2005), Petit Mal (Revival Press 2009), and The Offspring of the Moon (Salmon Poetry 2013).
He also created and wrote The Ivory Tower for RTE radio, which ran to over one hundred half-hour episodes. His novels based on this series, The Johnny Coffin Diaries and Johnny Coffin School-Dazed are both published by The O’Brien Press and have been translated into Italian and Serbian.
Under the ironic pseudonym of Sex W. Johnston he has recorded an album with legendary Stranglers frontman, Hugh Cornwell, entitled Sons of Shiva, which has been released on Track Records.
He is a past nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award and his poem "The Green Owl" won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007. In 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry.
He is also the changeling-other of the blog-poet Jack Brae Curtingstall.
Author Photograph: Niall Hartnett – www.niallhartnett.com
Read a sample from this book
the one my father trapped in the stainless steel kitchen sink
and drowned under the hot tap / the three-quarter moon
a cut coin through the net curtain / the one whose bite
I nibbled from a half biscuit breathing in its rank whiff /
a coconut macaroon a sweet moon / the one who stopped
the washing machine for a week and then the man came
in a blue bib-and-brace and the mouse was a pulped splodge
in the works / the one I cornered in the skirting board
and set free believing it was me / the one I imagined
curled in the grey right eye of the moon / the one our
neighbour’s cat brought live from the railway embankment /
the day-moon’s face inscrutable in the afternoon sky / the
one I never saw but heard the pattering of / the one yet
to be born / the one yet to be caught / the one in the broken
moon of my skull when I die / the grey one / the brown one /
the dor one / the grass one / the field one / the hazel one / the one
The Entropic Rose
The Entropic Rose has spread all over
the house, inside and out. Winter, the walls and floors
bristle with thorns; all our clothes snag
so we are caught in our place. In spring, shoots
push us gently through all the rooms, out through doors,
windows, even up through the chimney.
We fall on the lawn and wait for summer.
Summer comes and the house lights up with bloom.
Roses, pale as moonlight, translucent as jellyfish,
erupt from every branch. Under a full moon the house
becomes a ghost, detectable only by its scent;
yet, so brimful of scent that it seems everywhere,
everywhere at once. Then, yes, petal by petal the house
sheds itself. Autumn, and we return indoors, get caught up
in the furniture. Once more we become part of it all,
part of the yearning to get away, to be free enough
to get caught again and again. Thus we end, begin.
A Piano Arrives for Neda Agha-Soltan
A piano has arrived for Neda Agha-Soltan <> it was ordered
before she fell in the street <> its delivery could not be undone
<> angels dressed in light unloaded it outside her parent’s home
<> unloaded it from a ball of lightning <> it is made from smoke
dense as wood <> the Basij militia who came to remove it fell
into its body of fog <> they are heard since as a chorus of remorse
<> Neda sits at a stool made all woven of lily stems <> she sits
on a seat of lily trumpets <> she touches a key of the piano
and the Basij are stilled <> Neda is modest under her veil of blood
<> the veil she was given by a piercing bullet <> she is modest
as she touches the keys <> the country is healed by the music
she plays <> for she never sleeps now <> nor eats <> Neda will
play her piano of smoke <> her neighbours dance in the street <>
only the just can dance to her tune <> only the righteous can hear
her play <> the unrighteous will wither from lack of song <> Neda
sings as she plays <> for her name means voice <> her name
means call <> her song is a call <> the just hear it and dance <>
Neda touches a key and the Basij confess <> forever the Basij
trapped in smoke <> chorus their remorse <> Neda’s piano plays
for the righteous <> plays a curse for the unjust <> blesses all those
who dance in the street <> their dancing cannot be undone
All poems © copyright John W. Sexton 2018