The 6th of January. Little Christmas. Women’s Christmas (Nollaig na mBan). The date on which James Joyce's famous short story, 'The Dead', is set.
It seems** Joyce started sending his manuscript of short stories (Dubliners) to publishers in 1905 – before he'd written The Dead which was to be the last story. London publisher Grant Richards agreed to publish in 1906, but his printer refused to print the book because it contained crude language and in those days any charges of obscenity would have been brought against the printer, rather than the publisher. Joyce completed The Dead in 1907 but 'Dubliners' was rejected four more times before being accepted by a Dublin-based publisher. But, again, the printer wouldn’t comply. This time, an apparent slight to the British royal family in the story Ivy Day in the Committee Room was noted so publication was not allowed.
In the end, 1,250 copies of Dubliners were released by Grant Richards in 2014 – the first publisher who had come on board.
My poem titled The Dead was published online earlier this year by the literary journal, The Nonconformist. It is immersed in the dream-like space that many poets like to explore, a space of merging fact and fiction; the therapeutic value of writing, for me, is in the processing and articulation of life events some of which I have wished I could change; and so I do change them by writing them differently, creating a new personal history which helps brings my child self into union with my adult reality, a happier sort of analogue person where I am living in the round, no longer compartmentalising the good, the bad and the ugly into their constituent parts. It is all one now and so anger morphs to sadness to joy to laughter to fear to contentment....and on it goes, day by day, one step at a time.
I didn't include this poem in my latest collection, 'Sentient', for personal reasons.
*You can read the poem online here https://nonconformist-mag.com/the-dead/
**The Irish Emigration Museum website page from where I got much of the info above is here — 5 Things you didn't know about 'The Dead'
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Alison Hackett — Director and founder of 21st Century Renaissance; author of The Visual Time Traveller 500 Years of History, Art and Science in 100 Unique Designs