Thursday Poems: The Corpse Garden by Adam O’Riordan

Hello all! I’d like to take a moment from my usual Thursday Poems ramble to announce some great news! That is, I’m proud to say my short story ‘Up Above’ has been shortlisted for Overland Journal’s inaugural Story Wine Prize!

I received the news some days ago, while on the train home, suffused in a black cloud after a dreary day, and it totally revitalised me. I don’t think I was even conscious of just how much my steps had been lagging lately, how reluctantly I walked, or how low my confidence was until I was shocked by this wonderful development.

After two years of dedicated effort – with some encouraging little successes along the way, to be sure – I really needed a sign I was on the right path. It’s come at an especially crucial juncture for me, considering I quit my job recently to focus on my writing and go overseas. In fact, the day the news was officially released, my Canadian visa application was refused on the basis of a ludicrous technicality (one I refute, but that’s a story for another day), and I suddenly found myself weighing my future once again.

As a writer, it’s hard to know where to go, or what will best yield results, but I suspect this is for the best. Why? Because I’ve never done too well with plans; always I’ve leapt before looking and, as Bradbury suggested, built my wings on the way down. It’s worked out fairly well for me in the past, and hopefully will again, now that I’m pivoting to travelling around instead of a permanent move. I’ll still be able to get a chunk of writing done by staying with family in Turkey for a while, exploring my ancestral homeland and practicing my craft at the same time. 

Now, were it not for this news, I’d still have gone and still have written (there’s no other option), but it would not have been with this spring in my step, this renewed drive. For that alone, I’m already incredibly grateful and happy that the judges chose my story. The depth of talent and experience on display in the other finalists is quite humbling; I’m stoked just to be included among them. I wish everyone the best of luck with their stories.

As for the poem I chose last week, it was Adam O’Riordan’s The Corpse Garden, from his collection In The Flesh. Sadly, it’s not online from what I can see, and I haven’t had time to find another poem available for your perusal. Instead, I’ll urge you to seek out O’Riordan’s work — so far, I’ve found his collection to be musical, sparse, and sharp enough to draw blood. His imagery is fantastic, his writing graceful, and stories… well, they’re just downright unusual. And I live for unusual, so I am absolutely loving it. I’ll have to leave it at that, I’m afraid! Hopefully I’ll have more to share next week.

Best of luck to all with their writing!

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