Bliain, Turais, agus Dánta Nua

Tá mé díreach tar éis teacht abhaile go hÉirinn i ndiaidh deireadh seachtaine a chaitheamh le mo pháirtnéir agus roinnt dá theaghlach i bPorto na Portaingéile. Ba í mo chéad uair í sa chathair áirithe sin, ach is minic a thug mé cuairt chun na Portaingéile le mo pháirtnéir chun cúpla lá saor a thógáil ón ngnáthshaol in Éirinn. An uair seo, chuir Porto iontas agus gliondar orm, mar ní rabhas ag súil le háilleacht na hailtireachta, an dea-atmaisféar ar na sráideanna agus an dea-aimsir freisin. Bíonn iontas orm le gach aon turas a thógann muid sa Phortaingéil, agus ba cheart dom níos mó a fhoghlaim faoin gcultúr agus an teanga s’acu.

Tá seal caite agam i San Diego sa mhí seo freisin, áit a bhfuil clú agus cáil air mar áit, nach bhfaigheann ach cúpla lá báisteach in aghaidh na bliana. Bhuel, chonaic mise ceithre lá báisteach sa chathair sin, le haimsir a bhí níos cosúla leis an gCabhán ná California. Fós, bhí sé suimiúil tuilleadh ama a chaitheamh i Meiriceá, ach bheinn sásta fanacht san Eoraip go dtí an Samhradh ar a luaithe.

Ó bhí mé in Albain (an uair dheireanach agus blog scríofa agam, ‘Dhiabhail!) bhí sos deas agam um Nollag, agus cúpla turas thar lear ar nós California agus na Portaingéile. Beidh go leor taistil romham sa bhliain nua freisin, idir imeachtaí oibre agus laethanta saoire leis féin, mar a déarfá. Táim ag an staid seo anois i mo shaol, nuair atá slí beatha agam a bhí á thastáil uaim le fada.

Idir na heitiltí agus na bronntanais Nollag, bhí go leor deiseanna agam beagán scríbhneoireacht a dhéanamh, freisin. Tá roinnt mhaith filíochta úir cumtha agam le déanaí, a bheidh mar chuid de mo chéad chnuasach eile, Elysium, a bhfuil fonn orm a sheoladh roimh dheireadh na bliana seo. I gcomparáid le Fás | Growth, beidh na dánta sa dara chnuasach seo go hiomlán dátheangach, agus táim ag súil go mór leis na dánta nua seo a bhailiú le chéile, leis an chéad chéim eile a thaispeáint don domhan mór. Tá seans ann fosta chun tionscadal filíochta a dhéanamh leis an bhfile Sasanach, Marcas Mac an Tuairneir, níos déanaí i mbliana, ach tá muid ag obair ar na sonraí beaga go fóill.

Tá go leor ar siúl i mo shaol féin, fosta. Thug mé detox ó na meáin shóisialta, a d’éirigh le bheith ina makeover. Bhí mé ag éirí braon de bheith (beagáinín) róthrom ó thaobh meáchain de, agus thit mo chuid féin-mhuiníne mar gheall air. Ní cheapaim go bhfuilim gránna, per se, ach tuigim gur féidir liom a bheith i bhfad níos aclaí, agus cúram ceart a thabhairt dom féin. Tá tús ceart curtha agam leis sin, agus mé ag rith leis na Frontrunners Cork anois. Agus mé thar lear (mar a bhí cheana féin in Eanáir), is féidir liom rith liom féin, ach táim chun sár-iarracht a dhéanamh rith leis na leaids i gCorcaigh agus mé sa bhaile, mar is iontach an grúpa iad.

Tá mo shaol difriúil go leor sna laethanta seo ná mar a bhí sé nuair a bhí Dialann Scott á scríobh agam mar dhéagóir, nó nuair a bhí mé ag iarraidh mé féin a ‘chur amach ansin’ ar an stáitse mar chraoltóir. Ach anois, ag (beagnach) 31, nílim á dhéanamh sin, agus níl aon fhonn orm, ach an oireadh. Táim an-shásta chun post (ar aoibhinn liom!) a dhéanamh, mo shaol a roinnt le mo ghrá geal, éalú thar lear gach uair ar féidir liom, agus an corr-phíosa scríbhneoireachta/filíochta a dhéanamh pé uair a bhuaileann an fonn orm.

Níl an chéad mhí den mbliain críochnaithe againn, fiú, ach táim cinnte go leor go mbeidh mé níos sásta le mo shaol i mbliana. Agus, táim ag tnúth leis an gcruthaíocht, leis an taisteal, agus leis an áthas atá romham. Tá súil agam go mbeidh tusa sásta, freisin – pé áit ina bhfuil tú ar an domhan agus i do shaol.

Gay Gaeldom Returns: Poetry and Plans

Last weekend, my partner & I travelled to Edinburgh from Cork to take part in an event organised by Scottish Gaelic poet, Marcas Mac an Tuairneir, and the University of Edinburgh’s Highland Society as part of the Scottish capital’s festival for Gaelic language and culture, Seachdain na Gàidhlig.

The theme of the event was LGBT poetry in two of the three Gaelic languages, Gaeilge and Gàidhlig. Being gay, of course, is only one part of me, but being a gay writer in a minority language means that I’m part of not just one minority community, but two. The same goes for Marcas, although we are by no means the first LGBT writers in either Gaelic language. Regardless, Na Balaich Aighearach | Na Buachaillí Aeracha (literally, ‘the gay boys‘) saw Marcas and I read our poetry in Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and English, with a few songs by Marcas and my good friend, Alison Ní Dhorchaidhe.

As Alison and I were a little late to the event (“typical Irish timing”, as Marcas aptly put it!) we had little time to prepare or compare our chosen poems, and yet common themes clearly appeared during our performance. I read two separate poems, Oíche ar an gCé and Mångata (a poem in English, despite its Swedish title), in which I touched on showing affection to a love interest away from broad daylight or public eye. This theme was reflected in some of Marcas’ poetry also, showing common experiences and subtle inequalities still experienced by LGBT people. We also read poems that touched on Armistice Day and soldiers, with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One taking place the following day, as well as national identities and relationships – all part of an overall expression of identity and finding oneself, but told through the eyes of gay writers.

Aside from the poetry, it was wonderful to take part in a Gaelic-language event, and to see the language alive and well in Scotland’s capital. I studied Scottish Gaelic for a semester while doing my undergrad at UCD, and while I didn’t pay much attention to it then, I’ve since travelled to the gorgeous Scottish Highlands, as well as visiting Edinburgh a handful of times, to see the language ‘in action’. The state of the language and its community of speakers are in a different situation to Irish, and yet there is an energy to its younger and urban speakers, which gives me hope for a’ Ghàidhlig. At one particular point near the end of the event, Marcas sang the Gaelic song, Canan nan Gaidheal, which even my partner noted brought a warm atmosphere to the event, giving the impression that both Irish and Scottish Gaelic speakers were one community.

I must admit also, that Marcas himself was something of an inspiration to me. His passion for Gaelic, poetry, and pushing his writing ‘out there’ through various publications and competitions is something that I’ve done at times, but not with his seemingly consistent effort. While I do take part in the occasional literary event, and have two books published, I consider my writing as a creative outlet which is – first and foremost – for myself. I use writing as a form of releasing built-up thoughts and emotions, and sometimes as a form of self-therapy. Still, Marcas’ enthusiasm has encouraged me to write more, and with renewed purpose. We discussed the idea of a publishing a literary pamphlet in Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and English, and hopefully this will be a good project for 2019.

Finally, I’d like to say “Mòran taing” or many thanks to Marcas, Drew MacNaughton, and the rest of the organisers for inviting me to read in Edinburgh and be part of the Edinburgh Gaelic Festival. I returned to Ireland with a re-energised sense of being part of the wider Gaelic (or even Celtic) community, and hope to take part a little more in future. Míle buíochas daoibh go léir.

Featured image by Comann Ceilteach Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann

Editor’s Letter: A Date with Castro’s History

EILE Magazine

castro_flagEILE’s Founder and Editor-at-Large, Scott De Buitléir, writes from San Francisco, where a trip to the popular Castro District revealed a deep-rooted and valuable history lesson worth cherishing. 

The Californian Sun shone brightly upon the colourful streets of Castro as my partner and I walked along Market Street towards the famous gay neighbourhood.

Truth be told, I knew little about San Francisco before I arrived there as part of our annual two-week ‘big holiday’, where we’d usually spend a week each in two different locations. The previous week was spent in British Columbia; exploring beautiful Vancouver and spending Canadian Thanksgiving with my father’s cousins in Victoria, the province’s capital on Vancouver Island. For San Francisco, I knew little more than about Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, and Castro; the world-renowned gay village that was once home to Harvey Milk. 

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Poetry Reading at Edinburgh Gaelic Festival

Tha mi a’ tighinn air ais gu h-Alba an t-Samhain seo! 

Or in English: I’m coming back to Scotland this November!

I’m delighted to be performing some of my poetry alongside another great poet, Marcas Mac an Tuairneir, as part of the Edinburgh Gaelic Festival.

Similar to our own Seachtain na Gaeilge festival, the Edinburgh Gaelic Festival (or ‘Seachdain na Gàidhlig’) celebrates Scottish Gaelic literature, music, and culture in Scotland’s most beautiful city. I’ve been to Edinburgh twice before, and both times have been a treat for the soul. To return a third time to take part in this festival will hopefully be no exception!

The name of the event is “Na Balaich Aighearach | Na Buachaillí Aeracha“, noting the fact that both Marcas and I are LGBT poets, writing in our respective Gaelic languages. Undoubtedly, being part of not just one minority, but two (the LGBT and Irish/Gaelic-language communities) is a theme that both of us have explored in our writing, but I’ll be interested to see the differences in our styles and topics, also.

Similar to myself, Marcas has been published a few times already, with his poetry collections, Deò, and Lus na Tùise. My own EILE Magazine reviewed his début collection, Deò, where his poem Sluagh-Ghairm (Battlecry) received particular praise for its power and style.

The event takes place on Saturday, November 10, at the Waverley Bar on St. Mary’s Street (EH1 1TA) from 8pm. Entry is free, and the event will be presented in a mixture of Scottish Gaelic, Irish, and English. I also hope to have some copies of my début poetry collection, Fás | Growth, available for sale at the event – airplane luggage restrictions permitting! If you’re interested in attending and are on Facebook, it would be great if you check out the Facebook event page.

 

On Nobility

Nobility is neither a distant claim to a castle, nor an old-fashioned trait of society. It is, instead, the ability within us all to act with grace, tolerance, and a warm heart. It is in knowing such actions, however small, may inspire another to do good. That power to inspire is more powerful than any crown or title, for it is a royalty accessible to all.