Kevin Higgins – Litany

Kevin photo for Galway ReviewKevin Higgins facilitates poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre; teaches creative writing at Galway Technical Institute and on the Brothers of Charity Away With Words creative writing programme for people with disabilities. He is also Writer-in-Residence at Merlin Park Hospital and the poetry critic of the Galway Advertiser. He was a founding co-editor of The Burning Bush literary magazine. His first collection of poems The Boy With No Face was published by Salmon in February 2005 and was short-listed for the 2006 Strong Award. His second collection, Time Gentlemen, Please, was published in March 2008 by Salmon. One of the poems from Time Gentlemen, Please, ‘My Militant Tendency’, featured in the Forward Book of Poetry 2009. His work also features in the anthology Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Ed Roddy Lumsden, Bloodaxe, 2010). Frightening New Furniture is his third collection of poems and was published in 2010 by Salmon Poetry. Kevin has read his work at most of the major literary festivals in Ireland and at Arts Council and Culture Ireland supported poetry events in Kansas City, USA (2006), Los Angeles, USA (2007), London, UK (2007), New York, USA (2008), Athens, Greece (2008); St. Louis, USA (2008), Chicago, USA (2009), Denver, USA (2010), Washington D.C (2011), Huntington, West Virginia, USA (2011), Geelong, Australia (2011), Canberra, Australia (2011), St. Louis, USA (2013) & Boston, USA (2013). Kevin’s fourth collection of poetry, The Ghost In The Lobby, will be published by Salmon Poetry in early 2014. Kevin is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events. Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews was published last April by Salmon.

Litany
after Charles Cotton

From lawyers with zebra pinstripes
and hair that was refused entry
to Sparkles Nite Club, 1975;
from Albanians* on the make
and side effects which may include
aggression, dizziness, hallucinations,
Deliver us.

From siblings who are Hitler
without the charisma
and every variety of herbal tea;
from nuns and boy politicians
who worry about what gets put up cervixes
that are none of their concern,
Deliver us.

From guest appearances by Lulu
and anything presented by Noel Edmonds;
from alternative therapists who
can cure Red Water in horses over the phone
and documentaries not about
the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities,
Deliver us.

From lady librarians who look like their nostrils
have just been assaulted by something horrible
and sandals with socks helicoptered in specially
from the Institute of Discredited Ideas;
from unique selling points and Intertextuality
In The Work of Medbh McGuckian;
Deliver us.

From you just saying what you think
and from what you think;
from meetings addressed
by Daniel Ellsberg
and radio advertisements that ask:
why go bald?
Deliver us.

From these and all
complaints waiting to be born
in newspapers I shouldn’t open,
computers I shouldn’t switch on,
Deliver us eternally or
at least ‘til this time tomorrow.

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[*] The Albanian in question is Agnes Bojaxhiu, better known as Mother Teresa of Calcutta. This poem was written while the poet was reading ‘The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa In Theory And Practice’ by Christopher Hitchens. 

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