Buffalo area native Sinead Tyrone started down the path of writing in 2009 because, as she puts it, "I had wanted to write for many years; in 2009 I finally became brave and started to take my passion for the craft more serious. As for writing poems, I just started expressing what was in my heart. I had never thought of myself as a poet until that year." And a fine poet she has become. She has honed her craft through reading at many of the venues around Erie County. One of the results has been her first volume of poetry, Fragility (2014, Nofrills Buffalo).
Life is full of frustrations, longings, dreams, faith and struggles
The standard definition of the word fragility is of something delicate, embodying a vulnerability, easily broken. In this collection Tyrone touches on themes such as these, as well as those of strength and perseverance.
When asked what inspires her work she says: "My poetry covers a wide range of topics, whatever moves my heart at any given moment. I incorporate a lot of visual imagery in my writing. Nature and the landscapes around me are frequent topics. Life is full of frustrations, longings, dreams, faith and struggles; so any of these can be found in my poems. Ireland is a frequent theme."
Take the title poem, which starts in a dreamscape of childhood with wishes carried on the wind, later trying to recall that childhood, and finally coming to terms with the realities of adulthood in the last stanza.
I am grown up now,
She had already started writing her first novel when, in 2012, she took a longed for trip to Ireland. Quite a few of the poems in this collection are inspired by her visit there. One such poem comes from a visit to Dunluce Castle in County Antrim in Northern Ireland.
Here is a bit from her poem of the same name.
I run my hand over weather-worn stones,
Everybody has known what it is like to be tormented by decisions of the heart. After going to Strandhill, a coastal village in County Sligo, she wrote the poem Strandhill Sea. In it Tyrone speaks of the love of her ancestral homeland as well as that for the land of her birth, and not knowing where her loyalties should lay.
Heart shifts back,
Anybody who has had the chance to finally fulfill a dream and make it to the land of their forebears knows what it like to feel, even for the briefest of time, that you are home, which is the reason that both of her novels are set there.
"The novels are connected by their characters," Tyrone explains "Both are set in current day Ireland and Northern Ireland. The main characters are musicians in a band called Macready's Bridge. In the first novel, Walking through the Mist, the main character experiences a crisis that turns his life upside down, and he must rebuild his life. In the sequel, Crossing the Lough Between, two of the main characters face a conflict that threatens their friendship. Both novels draw in a number of characters whose lives intertwine, much like how Celtic knots intertwine".
Loss is a major subject for any writer, and Tyrone is masterful at transcribing these feelings into verse. As in Language Lesson where she knows she is coming to love Ireland and lamenting that she cannot stay.
Are there words in Irish that describe
Tyrone also speaks of a different kind of loss, that of a friend, in her poem The Last Rose.
The last rose stands sentinel
When not writing Sinead Tyrone works full time as a legal secretary, is an avid photographer and an aficionado of all things Irish. Look for her at a local reading and pick up one (or more) of her books.
They can be found at Dog Ears Bookstore (688 Abbott Road) and Talking Leaves bookstore. They can also be ordered through Amazon, or email the author (firstname.lastname@example.org) and arrangements can be made to deliver the books
If you have ever longed for a community that holds wide its arms for poetry you need look no further than Buffalo. On any given night you can find a place in town to hear someone read from his/her work, pick up the latest book by an area poet or find a journal put out by a local publisher. One of which is steel bellow.
An outgrowth of a collective known as The Notorious Pronouns, steel bellow was started in September of 2012 by Vincent Cervone, Paige Melin and John Lamprecht. To set it apart from the publications put out by the Pronouns, they decided on a format featuring three poets per issue, with each poet having several poems showcased.
As for the name steel bellow, Lamprecht says, "We brainstormed the name for quite a few days as I recall, and steel bellow stuck namely as a reflection of what we saw around us in the (what appeared to be dying) city, and how just underneath that exterior there actually existed a vibrant and wonderful community. We also enjoyed the idea that a bellows was to stoke the fire. For us, poetry is that fire and each publication we brought into the world was but one more pump of the bellows."
Recently Lamprecht has stepped back as one of the editors and is currently living in Aiken, SC. He continues to write and moderate the Facebook group Living Poets Society. Melin, who is busy as the Editorial Assistant for the National Poetry Foundation and Paideuma (a scholarly mag on Ezra Pound and modernist poets) and Co-Poetry Editor for Stolen Island, the graduate literary review out of UMaine, continues to edit steel bellow with Cervone. A teacher in Western New York, Cervone is also co-founder of the movie review website www.cinemaobserver.com. He is currently working on his first chapbook, Of Weather.
The latest issue of steel bellow features Richard Olson, Theresa Wyatt and Frank J. Dunbar.
Richard Olson, a native of Buffalo's Old First Ward, has an easy, familiar way with words. His poems settle on you like stories an old friend may tell on a summer evening, having just stopped by to see how you're doing.
Recalling tales of the old neighborhood, life or work, like this from his poem Dancing After School,
From his The Lives We Need to Live,
Theresa Wyatt is well known in Western New York poetry circles. She has been published in many journals and can be heard reading her work fairly regularly around the Buffalo area. Much of her work touches on nature and art, as can be seen in her poem I Live Near the Water,
Or this from her About Carl Sandburg,
Frank Dunbar also hailed from Buffalo's Old First Ward, and until his death in April of 2015, was known as the poet of Hamburg Street. He brings the people and places of his old neighborhood to life through his poems, such as in The Death of the Sidway Street Playground,
This is from his A Summer Night in the Old First Ward,
As Cervone puts it, “The best part about editing steel bellow is reading all of the great submissions that we receive. We've been able to publish some wonderful poets—who are also wonderful people in general—and network with some great people. We have received tons of support and encouragement from Buffalo poets. We are extremely happy to be a part of it.”
So I suggest you look for a copy of steel bellow at one of the great independent Buffalo bookstores or follow Living Poets Society on Facebook for information on upcoming issues and events. You won’t be disappointed.
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