Richard Ryan


Life
1946- [Richard M. Ryan]; b. Dublin, and grew up at Pembroke Pk.; educ. UCD, with a major in Politics (grad. 1967); MA in Anglo-Irish Literature (UCD); edited Broadsheet (1970) with Hayden Murphy, and issued the poetry collections Ledges (1970) and Ravenswood (1973) also a Dolmen pamphlet, From My Lai the Thunder Went West (1970); involved in Claddagh Records, founded by Garech Browne in 1959;
 
appt. professor of English and poet in residence, University of St. Thomas (Minnesota, USA), 1970-71; spent two summers on an Indian Reservation; joined Dept. of Foreign Affairs, 1973; served as Irish ambassador to Korea, Japan, and Spain; toured his own translation a Yeats play in Japanese; political advisor at Irish Embassy in London during the 1970s;
 
instrumental in progressing the Anglo-Irish Agreement; appt. Irish permanent representative to the United Nations, with a seat on the Security Counsel, 1998; appt. President of the United Nations Security Council, 1990; afterwards appt. Irish ambassador to the Netherlands. DIL

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Works
Poetry
  • From My Lai the Thunder Went West (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1970), 4pp. [NL Scotland; 100 signed copies, on double leaves; printed wrappers; and Do., as single sh. - i.e., uncut at top - BL];
  • Ledges [Poetry Ireland editions, 10] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1970), 38pp. [see contents].
  • Ravenswood [The Dolmen Press Poetry] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1973), 47pp [distrib. by Oxford University Press, 22cm.
 
Miscellaneous
  • ed., Broadsheet, No. 4 (Dublin: published for the Poetry Workshop UCD, 1970), 1 sh., ill. [55.7 x 44.9cm.; ltd. edn. 1000 copies].


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Bibliographical details
Ledges [Poetry Ireland Editions, No. 10] (Dublin: Dolmen Press 1970), 38, [2]pp. [in USA by Dufour Edns., Chester Springs, Pa.] CONTENTS: “Cliff-climbing”; “Building; “The thrush's nest”; “A heap of stones”; “Father of famine”; “Dice”; “Behind the wall”; “Deafness”; “School girl”; “Wolf-hour”; “Foundations”; “Hawk”; “How this poem happened”.

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Commentary
Daniel J. Casey, review of Ledges, in Éire-Ireland, 6, 1 (Spring 1971), pp.132-33, remarks that ‘The collection is a neat thematic gathering, focusing directly on each poetic object and attending to incicive detail, subtle image, and secure metaphor in extending each object.’ (p.132).

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Quotations

“Winter in Minneapolis” - for Eoin McKiernan
   

From my high window I can watch
the freeways coiling on their strange
stilts to where the city glows
through rain like a new planet.

Tonight the radio speaks
of snow and in the waste plots
below trees stiffen,
frost wrinkles the pools.

Through high dark air
the apartment buildings,
like computer panels, begin
again to transmit their faint signals -

for they are there now, freed one and all
from the far windy towns, the thin
bright girls compounded of heat,
movement, and a few portable needs.

But I have no calls to make tonight,
for we are all strangers here
who have only the night to share
stereos, soft lights, and small alarm clocks:

of our photograph albums, our far
towns, and our silences we do not speak;
wisely we have learned to respect
the locked door and unanswered telephone.

I turn from my window and pause a moment
in darkness. My bed and desk
barely visible, clean paper
waits in its neat circle of light

I wait; and slowly they appear, singly,
like apparitions. They stand all round me
on metal bridges and in the wet streets,
their long hair blowing, and they will not go.

   
The poem is given on the Sheila O’Malley website pages, together with an informal but extensive biographical note on the poet - online; accessed 26.06.2011. See copy of the biographical note, attached.]

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Reference
Anthologies: see Faber Book of Irish Verse, ed. John Montague (London 1974) [“El Dorado”, “Deafness”]; also Penguin Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry, ed. Derek Mahon and Peter Fallon (Harmondsworth 1990) [“Winter in Minneapolis” - as supra].

COPAC gives var. birth-dates as 1945 & 1946.

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Notes

Namesakes
(1): Richard Ryan (1796-1849), bookseller in Camden Town, London, and author-compiler of Biographia Hibernica [...] Irish Worthies, 2 vols. (1819-21) and other works - as supra.

(2) Richard Ryan, a painter (b.1950) - viz., Charlap, Roseman, Ryan: Peter Charlap, Harry Roseman, Richard Ryan / catalogue and introduction by Eugene A. Carroll [Exhibition of 11 Feb.-27 March 1983] (Poughkeepsie, NY: Vassar College Art Gallery [1983]), 36pp., ill. [23cm]; Richard Ryan: New Work, March 6-March 29, 1997 (San Francisco: Hackett-Freedman Gallery [1997], 20pp., ill. col. [24cm.]

(3): Richard Ryan (b.1948), Australain novelist and author of Funnelweb ( Sydney: Pan Macmillan Australia, 1997), 339pp. - on nuclear accidents, submarines, scientists, women journalists.

(4): Richard Ryan, a former investment adviser and executive in Milwaukee and author of Goldilocks in Later Life (q.d.) and The Golden Road (No Exit Press 2002), 269pp. - pub. in USA as The Golden Rules (2002) - a postmodern road-novel set in the Southern States, although the characters are actually aiming to exploit treasure at the headwaters of the Amazon, with notable lack of progress. (‘I think my noir is turning grey’ [...] It’s certainly getting thinner.’ (See publisher's notice, online - accessed 10.09.2011.)

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