NCBI with support from the Faculty of Arts, Trinity College, recently launched a large print, Braille and audio, anthology of poetry: Verbal Sun, published under NCBI’s imprint. Frank Callery reports.
Speaking at the launch at Trinity College on Friday October 7th., Dr. Philip Coleman of the Faculty of Arts, in welcoming guests, said: “I just want to say that the whole thing would not have happened without Diane Sadler, Diane came to me with the idea back in 2013 after the success of an event organised by Trinity and NCBI — the marathon reading of John Milton’s Paradise Lost in December 2012. Verbal Sun was incredibly hard to put together and you might well ask — ‘an anthology of 17 poems?’ But if you look at the book you will see that about a quarter is the large print format and the rest is the Braille section. It is a very special and unique volume in large print format for vision impaired readers in Braille and with an accompanying audio CD of the poets reading their work.
“I want to make special mention of Desmond Kenny, former CEO of NCBI, whose poem in the book actually gave us the title Verbal Sun. In particular I want to thank the people who helped in that whole process of putting Verbal Sun together: Brian Barnes (Gemini International, Ltd.), Karl Browne, Frank Callery, who typeset and laid out the book. Pilar Diaz Suarez, who designed the cover. Darryl Jones, Lina Kouzi at NCBI who has been so supportive all the way through. Conor Linnie who played the music which you will hear on the CD, Niamh MacAlister who worked on the conversion of the text into Braille and liaised with the printers; and Alan J. White. So Diane and I are very grateful to you all and also very grateful to our colleagues in the Faculty of Arts and across the college for their practical support. I will pass you over to my colleague, Dr. Rosie Lavan, a poetry specialist, who will launch Verbal Sun.”
Rosie Lavan told guests: “It is a great honour and a great joy for me to launch this special anthology edited by Philip and Diane, and published as an imprint of NCBI. On behalf of the school I want to say how proud and how pleased we are to continue to support the work of the NCBI and for bringing together the work of so many brilliant and distinguished contemporary poets.
“For me, experiencing the poems in Verbal Sun through sight, sound and touch has renewed and extended the meaning of the poets’ words. These poems, I think, are alive and varied and remarkable — and very beautiful. In This is Another Day, by Desmond Kenny from which the title of the collection, is taken, impressions are mingled together so that we have a sense of how sensory awareness is translated into the way we experience time and the way it passes or the way it is divided, the poem says:
“I sense the sundial
Tap its shadow finger
In beat punctuated
To segments of the moving day”.
What I am struck by and what I am trying to say about Verbal Sun is, how deft and how special the ways in which poets make images and, as Philip said in his introduction, the book also reminds us of the many ways we have of seeing and experiencing the poems to which those images give life. It is really a tremendous delight to be launching this book here at Trinity. Congratulations to all involved and thank you very much.”
On behalf of NCBI, Lina Kouzi thanked those who attended the launch and those who had assisted in bringing Verbal Sun to press. “This is the first book from a new NCBI publishing arm called NCBI Imprints”, she said. “I want to thank Trinity College for hosting the launch and look forward to more collaborative work between our two historic organisations”.
The poets included in the collection are: Harry Clifton, Tony Curtis, Gerald Dawe, Paul Durcan, Martin Dyar, Crawford Gribben, Desmond Kenny, Niamh MacAlister, Iggy McGovern (who also read at the launch), Cleopatra Mathis, Paula Meehan, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Julie O’Callaghan, Maurice Scully, Gerard Smyth, Macdara Woods and Vincent Woods. An excerpt from Brendan Kennelly’s poem The Blind Man is used as a prologue.
Verbal Sun is available from NCBI Shops in Dublin and Kilkenny. At only €20 it will make a great Christmas or occasional present!