Gabriel Fitzmaurice


Life
1952- ; teacher in Moyvane, Co. Kerry, since 1975, retiring as school principal; and member of the group with his elders, Bryan MacMahon and John B. Keane; appt. Director of Listowel Writers’ Conference; collections include Ag Síobshiúl chun an Rince (1995), The Village Sings (1996), and Giolla na Amhrán (1998); also collected poems as A Wren-boy’s Carnival (2001), introduced by Declan Kiberd; editions incl. Irish Poetry Now: Other Voices (1993), Poems I Wish I’d Written: Translations from the Irish (1996); issued translations in Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Homecoming /An Bealach na Baile (1993);
 
also I and the Village (2002), a collection with title based on painting of Marc Chagall; The Bog-hole Boys (2005), and I’m Proud of Me (2005), poems for children; issued Beat the Goatskin until the Goat Cries! (2006), a book of reminiscences and folklore, with some pieces previously printed in Kerry on My Mind (1999), being the title of the first essay here; issued Twenty-one Sonnets (2007); Michael Hartnett was best man at his wedding; iss. GF Woz Ere (2009), poems for older children; a collection of Twenty One Sonnets (2008), was illustrated by his wife Brenda; also The Essential Gabriel Fitzmaurice (2008).

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Works
Poetry
  • The Space Between: New and Selected Poems 1984-1992 [Artist's voice, vol. 6] (Cló Iar-Chonnachta 1993), 90pp.;
  • Ag Síobshiúl chun an Rince (Baile Átha Cliath: Coiscéim 1995), 28pp.;
  • Giolla na Amhrán (Coiscéim 1998), 47pp.;
  • A Wren-boy’s Carnival: Poems 1980-2000, intro. by Declan Kiberd (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 2001), 144pp.;
  • I and the Village (Dublin: Marino 2002), 160pp.;
  • I and the Village (Dublin: Marino 2002), 78pp.;
  • The Bog-hole Boys (Cork: Mercier Press 2005), 192pp. [var. 127pp.];
  • Twenty-one Sonnets (Galway: Salmon Press 2007), 48pp.;
  • The Essential Gabriel Fitzmaurice (Cork: Mercier Press 2008), 128pp., ill. [Brenda Fitzmaurice.]
 
For children
  • Road to the Horizon (Dublin: Beaver Row Press 1987), 55p.;
  • The Father's Part: Poems [Story Line library of Irish authors] (Oregan: Story Line Press 1992), 45pp.;
  • The Moving Stair [Children's Poolbeg] (Dublin: Poolbeg Press 1993), 71pp., ill. [Donald Teskey];
  • Nach iontach mar atá (Cló Iar-Chonnachta 1994), 32pp.;
  • But Dad! (Dublin: Poolbeg 1995), 86pp. ill. [Donald Teskey];
  • The Village Sings (Cló Iar-Chonnachta 1996), 82pp.; Do. [rep. edn.] (Cornwall: Peterloo Poets; US [Santa Cruz]: Storyline 1996), 96pp.;
  • Puppy and the Sausage (Dublin: Poolbeg Press 1998), 70pp., ill. [Stewart Curry];
  • Dear Grandad [Poolbeg Wren] (Dublin: Poolbeg Press 2001), 70pp. ill. [Caroline Hyland];
  • The Oopsy Kid: Poems for Children and Their Parents [Poolbeg Wren] (Dublin: Poolbeg for Children 2003), 65pp., ill. [Becky Galligan];
  • I’m Proud of Me: Poems for Children and Their Parents (Cork: Mercier Press 2005), 96pp.;
  • GF Woz Ere (Cork: Mercier Press 2009), 96pp., ill. [Stella Macdonald].
 
Prose
  • Kerry on My Mind: Of Poets, Pedagogues and Place (Cliffs of Moher: Salmon Press 1999), 83pp.;
  • Kerry Through Its Writers (Dublin: New Island Books 1993), 120pp.;
  • The Listowel Literary Phenomenon: North Kerry Writers - A Critical Introduction (Cló Iar-Chonnachta 1994), 151pp., ill. [6pp. of pls.];
  • Beat the Goatskin until the Goat Cries: Notes from a Kerry Village (Cork: Mercier Press 2006), 192pp. [prose & folklore].
 
Edited criticism
  • ed., “Come all good men and true”: Essays from the John B. Keane symposium [Tarbert 2003] (Cork: Mercier Press 2004), 136pp.;
  • ed., The World of Bryan MacMahon (Cork: Mercier Press 2005), 192pp.
 
Anthologies
  • with Declan Kiberd, ed., An Crann faoi Bláth/The Flowering Tree (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1989);
  • ed., Irish Poetry Now: Other Voices (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1993), 240pp [140 poems by 60 poets, Irish ones also trans.];
  • ed., Poems I Wish I’d Written: Translations from the Irish (Cló Iar-Chonnachta 1996), 131pp. [contains bilingual versions of poems by Máirtín Ó Direáin, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Eoghan Ó Tuairisc, Máire Mhac an tSaoi, Caitlín Maude, Mícheál Ó hAirtnéide, Gabriel Rosenstock, Michael Davitt, Áine Ní Ghlinn and Cathal Ó Searcaigh];
  • with Robert Dunbar, eds., Rusty Nails & Astronauts: A Wolfhound Press Poetry Anthology (Dublin: Wolfhound Press 1999), 220pp., ill. [Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick];
  • The Rhino's Specs /Spéaclaí an tSrónbheannaigh selected children's poems by Gabriel Rosenstock (Cork: Mercier Press 2002), 61pp., ill. [Cliodhna Quinlan].
 
Translations
  • trans. The Purge [“An phurgóid” by Michael Hartnett] (Dublin: Beaver Row Press 1989) [n.pp.];
  • contrib. translations to Cathal Ó Searcaigh in Homecoming /An Bealach na Baile (1993);
  • ed. & trans., Poems from the Irish (Cork: Mercier Press 2004), 192pp.;
  • trans. Ventry Calling [autobiog.] by Bernie Long/Bearnard Ó Lubhaing (Cork: Mercier Press 2005), 128pp. [prev. pub. Coisceim, 1998]

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Commentary
Fred Johnston, reviews I and the Village (Marino), in Books Ireland (Feb. 2003): compares Fitzmaurice to J. B. Keane, remarking: ‘Fitzmaurice bridges a gap [between] “high” art and communal art’ and further, ‘his popularity probably rests upon this.’

Teresa Doran, review of I’m Proud to be Me, in Books Ireland (Dec. 2005), p.297: ‘Gabriel Fitzmaurice’s skill as a poet is to encapsulate, using bold imagery and simple language, a moment or a feeling that is instantly recognisable by children […] a delightful book [to be] savoured and enjoyed in homes and classrooms everywhere.’

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Paula Murphy, reviewing Beat the Goat, in The Irish Book Review (Summer 2006), reports that Fitzmaurice ‘writes passionately about the role of the teacher in fostering the spiritual development of his students, which, he argues, can be achieved through the arts as well as […] religion'; ‘perpetuates a sense of identity that is in the main local and national, but this does sometimes mean that questions of multiculturalism […] are not dealt with. “My own feeling”, says Fitzmaurice, “and that of many teachers, both Protestant and Catholic, is that we must first have a sens eof ourselves and our traditions before we can embrace the other.”' Murphy remarks that a conception of the “other” restricted to Protestant and Catholic ‘dangerously’ excludes ‘atheists and those who have no religious allegiance’. J. B. Keane advised him: ‘in order for me to develop as a writer, a hard frost would have to develop along the river.’ (Skin the Goat, p.136.)

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