Maurice Scully

CriticismReferences

Life
1952- ; b. Dublin; self-consciously modernist poet in style and form; his collections incl. Love Poems & Others (1981), Steps (1998), Five Freedoms of Movement (1987; rep. edn. 2001), Over & Through (1992), The Basic Colours (1994), Priority (1995), Prelude (1997), Interlude (1997), Postlude (1997), Steps (1998), Cohering (1999); co-ed. special issue on Irish experimental poetry for Angel Exhaust ( London: Autumn 1998); taught at Dublin City University (DCU) up to 2002; issuedLivelihood: Collected Poems 1981-2001 (2002), from Wild Honey Press, Bray, Co. Wicklow; issued Sonata (2006), the last in his “Things that Happen” series commencing with Five Freedoms of Movement (2000); also Tig (2006); Doing the Same in English (2008) is a ‘sampler’ of work, 1987-2008 (Dublin: Dedalus Press 2008), 202pp..

[ top ]

Works
Poetry
  • Love Poems & Others (Dublin: Raven Arts Press 1981, 1983), 40pp.;
  • Five Freedoms of Movement (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Galloping Dog Press 1987), 86pp., and Do. [new rev. edn. (S. Devon: Etruscan Books 2001);
  • Over & Through (Cambridge: Etruscan Books, 1992);
  • The Basic Colours (Durham: Pig Press 1994); Priority (London: Writers Forum 1995);
  • Prelude (Bray: Wild Honey Press 1997);
  • Interlude (Bray: Wild Honey Press 1997);
  • Postlude (Bray: Wild Honey Press 1997);
  • Steps [Livelihood, 4] (London: Reality Street Editions 1998), 52pp;
  • Cohering (Devon: Etruscan Reader IV 1999);
  • Livelihood: Collected Poems 1981-2001 (Bray: Wild Honey Press 2002), [q.pp.];
  • Postlude (Wicklow: Wild Honey Press), 32pp. [bound & sewn chapbook].
  • David Annwn [?ed.,], Arcs Through: The Poetry of Randolph Healy, Billy Mills and Maurice Scully (Dublin: Coelancth Press 2002), 40pp.;
  • Livelihood (Bray: Wild Honey Press 2004), 346pp.;
  • Sonata (Hastings: Reality Street 2006), 104pp. [last of 4-pt. “Things that Happen” ser.];
  • Tig (Shearsman Books 2006), 102pp.
Selected editions
  • Doing the Same in English: A Sampler of Work 1987-2008 (Dublin: Dedalus Press 2008), 202pp.
For children
  • What Is The Cat Looking At? [bi-lingual edn.] (Berlin: Faber 1995).
[ top ]
Criticism
  • [With John Goodby], ed., Colonies of Belief: Ireland’s Modernists [Coelacanth Critical Essays Ser.] (Dublin: Coelacanth Press 2002].

[ top ]

Criticism
David Annwn, Arcs Through: The Poetry of Maurice Scully, with Randolph Healy & Billy Mills (Coelancth Press [2003]), 40pp. [reviewed in Books Ireland, Summer 2003]; Michael S. Begnal, review of Doing the Same in English: A Sampler of Work 1987-2008, by Maurice Scully, in An Sionnach: A Journal of Literature, Culture, and the Arts, 5, 1 & 2 [Crieghton UP] (Spring & Fall 2009), pp.314-17 [see extract].

Note: A lecture module on Scully is included in the English course entitled “The Fascination of What’s Difficult” given by Philip Coleman at TCD (2015-16).

[ top ]

Commentary
Conleth Ellis, review of Paper Token (Coelacanth Press) [pamph.], in Books Ireland (May 1987): ‘“Paper Token” the least experimental [is] a poem that concerns itself with “the name of the noise of the train”, with Sumerian pictographs and their associated variously-shaped tokens, and with the way in which ‘images / of the tokens / supplanted / the tokens / themselves’. Further: ‘Scully’s esoteric constructs have few visible means of support. When not self-regarding, they can be compelling, especially in their strikingly etched images, often starkly silhouetted against profound and resonant darkness.’ (p.100.)

[ top ]

Michael S. Begnal, review of Doing the Same in English: A Sampler of Work 1987-2008, by Maurice Scully, in An Sionnach: A Journal of Literature, Culture, and the Arts, 5, 1 & 2 [Crieghton UP] (Spring & Fall 2009), pp.314-17: ‘John Goodby labels Scully a “neo-modernist” and writes that “Scully’s expressionism .. is more obviously a continuation of the avant-garde’s assault on art as institution” [Irish Poetry Since 1950 (2000)]. This places Scully at a pole opposite the neo-bardic poetry of other, more well-known Irish poets. It has also made it more difficult for him to reach a wider audience. [...] Like his modernist forebears Ezra Pound and especially William Carlos Williams, Scully can at times be quite imagist, as he is in the preceding {315} extract. But imagism is not his limit - it is in the act of writing, the conscious transmitting of information, that the poet is present. For Scully, the poem is something vastly different than any scene it purports to describe. [...] This goes to the heart of Scully’s existential position as a poet. A major theme of his is ephemerality, or rather the awareness of the impermanence of everything except change itself. It is the awareness that the images the poet sees are also constantly changing, that they soon will appear quite differently, and will have in fact become other images altogether. There is no attempt in his work to fix time, or to fix the ongoing process that is this life.’ (See full-text version in RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Reviews”, via index, or direct.)

[ top ]

References
Anthologies: Scully is represented in Sheppard & Robinson, eds., News for the Ear: A Homage to Roy Fisher (Exeter: Stride 2000); Caddel & Quartermain, eds., British & Irish Poetry Since 1970 (Wesleyan UP 1999); Frank Ormsby, ed., Hip Flask (Belfast: Blackstaff Press 2000); Eamon Hughes, ed., April Eye: Poems for Peter Riley (Cambridge: Infernal Methods 2000); Seán Ó Tuama, ed., Twentieth Century British & Irish Poetry (OUP 2001).

COPAC list at Feb. 1997
  • Love Poems and Others (Dublin:Raven Arts Press 1981, 1983), 40p; 22cm.
  • 1 2 3 procedures ([ Dublin]: Coelacanth Press, [1986?].
  • Ed., 25 Poems by Randolph Healy [The Beau booklet ser.] (Dublin:Beau Press 1983), 31p; 20cm
  • The Basic Colours: A Watchman’s Log (Durham: Pig Press 1994), 60pp., ill., 23cm.
  • Bob Cobbing, Maurice Scully, Carlyle Reedy [Etruscan reader, 4] (Lyme: Etruscan Books 1996), 50pp., ill., 21cm, pbk.
  • David Giannini, Breeze at Eyes & Maurice Scully, Prior [Tel let, 18] (Charleston, IL: Tel-let 1992), [19] leaves; 28cm [edn. of 75].
  • Over and Through [Poetical histories, 21] (Cambridge:Peter Riley 1992), [9]pp.
  • Certain Pages (London: Form Books 1992), [10]pp.; 21cm., pbk.
  • Five Freedoms of Movement (Newcastle upon Tyne:Galloping Dog Press 1986), 86 p:ill; 29cm
  • Five Freedoms of Movement [rev. edn.; Exhibition ser.] (Buckfastleigh: Etruscan Books [2001]), 91pp., ill., 16cm.
  • From Zulu Dynamite (Vermont: Longhouse 1997), 1 folded sheet (8pp.); 9 x 11cm., pbk.
  • History ([Dublin]: Coelacanth Press 1987), 1 sheet; 21 x 30cm. folded to 21 x 10cm.
  • Interlude (Bray: Wild Honey Press 1997), 13pp. v.:ill.; 21cm. pbk [‘Being the middle section of the book Priority [which is] the middle volume in the 5-book work Livelihood, the set’; ltd. Edn. 200.]
  • Prelude (Bray, Co. Wicklow: Wild Honey Press 1997 [A poem] ‘Being the prelude to Livelihood, a work in five books.’ [colophon; ltd. edn. of 200].
  • Priority (London: Writers Forum 1994), 57pp., ill., 30cm [poems & prose; Contents: Prior - Trial/peace - Over & through - Coda - Notes].
  • Steps [Livelihood, 4] (London: Reality Street Editions 1998).
  • Ed., Taking figaries: Poems and Stories from North Tipperary [Tipperary (N.Riding) County Council [2004]), x, 57pp.; 21cm
  • Tig (Shearsman Books 2006 ), [n.p.].
COPAC > Maurice Scully - online.

[ top ]