Welcome to the Munster
Founded in 1993, the Munster Literature Centre (Ionad Litríochta an Deiscirt) is a non-profit arts organisation dedicated to the promotion and celebration of literature, especially that of Munster. To this end, we organise festivals, workshops, readings and competitions. Our publishing section, Southword Editions, publishes a biannual journal, poetry collections and short stories. We actively seek to support new and emerging writers and are assisted in our efforts through funding from Cork City Council, Cork County Council and the Arts Council of Ireland.
Originally located in Sullivan's Quay, the centre moved to its current premises in the Frank O'Connor House (the author's birthplace) at 84 Douglas Street, in 2003.
In 2000, the Munster Literature Centre organised the first Frank O'Connor International Short Story Festival, an event dedicated to the celebration of the short story and named for one of Cork's most beloved authors. The festival showcases readings, literary forums and workshops. Following continued growth and additional funding, the Cork City - Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award was introduced in 2005, coinciding with Cork's designation as that year's European Capital of Culture. The award is now recognised as the single biggest prize for a short story collection in the world and is presented at the end of the festival.
In 2002, the Munster Literature Centre introduced the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Prize, an annual short story competition dedicated to one of Ireland's most accomplished story writers and theorists. This too is presented during the FOC festival. The centre also hosts the Cork Spring Literary Festival each year.
Workshops are held by featured authors in both autumn and spring, allowing the general public to receive creative guidance in an intimate setting for a minimal fee. In addition, the centre sponsors a Writer in Residence each year.
We invite you to browse our website for further information regarding our events, Munster literature, and other literary information. Should you have any queries, we would be happy to hear from you.
After the Raising of Lazarus
Southword Editions, 2005.
Poems by Ileana Mălăncioiu. Translated from Romanian by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.
In Ileana Mălăncioiu's poems the oldest Romanian peasant traditions, and the realities of earth and the body, are unsettled and retold in apparent simplicity. Here is a poet who is at times a tragic satirist, at times charged with prophetic responsibility for the articulation of joy, indignation and despair in images of biblical intensity, against the nightmare background of her country's history in her time.
What the critics have said:
"There is much to praise in this collection. Malancioiu is not afraid of rich multi-layered imagery, prophetic and political statement. Her poetry is dense with symbolism. Even in the contrasting spareness of her language she has an assurance and majesty." - Modern Poetry in Translation
"The strength and fascination of Malancioiu's poetry successfully comes through because of these skilled and effective translations by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, which capture the essence of her sensibility and the inherent mysticism." -Metamorphoses
Selected Poems from After the Raising of Lazarus
The Headless Bird
According to custom, the old people have shut me away
Not to scare me stupid when they killed the bird,
And I am listening by the bolted door
To the trampling and the struggle.
I twist the lock time has worn thin
To forget what I have heard, to get away
From this struggle where
The body races after the head.
And I jump when the eyes, thick with fear
Turn backwards, turn white,
They look like grains of maize,
The others come and peck at them.
I take the head in one hand, the rest in the other,
And when the weight grows too much I switch them
Until they are dead, so they are still connected
At least in this way, through my body.
But the head dies sooner,
As if the cut had not been properly done,
And so that the body does not struggle alone
I wait for death to reach it passing through me.
I’m asking you, fearless lad,
Who conquered the wall of death at the children’s fair,
Don’t come to rescue me from the seven-headed giant
In hopes of half the kingdom for you reward.
I came to this place of my own free will,
I swept the cobwebs from the hearth,
I kneaded the earth twice over and
I filled all the ovens with bread
Then I broke it roughly, in a cloth,
To let out the heat, and he felt it far away,
And instead of a big club humming like a storm,
A great sniff from his fourteen nostrils.
I waited for him to find out the taste of the bread
And only after a bump of my heart I found all was well,
He was buried in the earth up to his breast
And from the shoulders up jammed in the moon.
Come all you girls who belong in this story
You have been stalked so long by dread,
When it is so simple and so human,
Just for once to try falling for a giant!
In the high mountain grass, my body curled like the
Crept out to warm themselves in the sun and stiff with
I wait for the bear to arrive, to stoop beside me,
To stay there awhile, sniffing me in silence, again.
Seeing that I am still alive and that I want him to heal
To begin the soft trampling from shoulder to feet
So I feel him gliding over my ribs and kneeling without
And getting down on the grass when he knows it’s
Climbing up again gently along the spine as far as the
Hearing my vertebrae crackling under his wild right paw
And I can’t cry out in fear since while he’s passing over
To heal me, if I screamed he might put out his claws,
Let me rid myself of this female husk of a snake curled
in the sun,
Let the bear find the earth shifting as he makes me
Gently, under his weight, trembling as he bends,
Let me coil myself again groaning quietly and wait.
Then let the cure come, let me go through the trampled
And feel for once my body hot from his heavy tread
While the bear moves off slowly as if he were still
Stepping not on the earth, but on a woman’s shoulders
Copyright ©2005 Ileana Mălăncioiu
English translation Copyright ©2005 Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
Ileana Mălăncioiu was born in a village in Arges in 1940, she began to publish poetry in 1961 and graduated in philosophy in 1968. She has worked in Romanian television, in films and literary journals, from one of which, Viata românească she resigned as a protest against communist censorship. Her own poems suffered from censorship and in particular her collection Urcarea muntelui, (Climbing the Mountain) was heavily cut; in retrospect it seems astonishing that it was published at all. As well as poetry she has published critical and autobiographical works. In 2004 she received the Romanian Writers’ Union Prize for her Opera Omnia (Complete Works). One of the most admired Romanian poets, she lives in Bucharest.
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin was born in 1942 in Cork, educated University College Cork. Since 1966 she has taught at Trinity College, Dublin. Married to the poet Macdara Woods, they have one son, Niall. She has translated from the Irish of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, and from the Italian of Michele Ranchetti. A selection of her poems, Testo di Seta, translated into Italian was published by Trauben (Turin) in 2004 and her Selected Poems was published by Gallery Press in 2008.
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