Author Archives: Doug Cumming

Saint Seamus the Poet

His face seems to be in every little corner of Ireland now, like a martyred saint. There in the Armagh County Museum, among the local paintings on exhibit, “The Poet” is clearly him, Seamus Heaney. I see other versions of that face appearing “like a slit-eyed potato” as he said of own countenance – on […]

The Plantation history question

In the cathedral-like Guildhall civic center at the heart of Derry-Londonderry, an exhibit on the history of the city invites visitors to scribble questions or opinions on pieces of paper at the main displays. This seems a genuine effort at inviting dialog, at prompting a community forum, a discussion. The written comments mostly seemed to […]

Briefed by the Belfast BBC

The BBC Broadcast House in Belfast welcomed us like family. It was not at all the bunker I complained about in an earlier post as being today’s position of most news organizations – and this, in a city that was full of bunker defenses not long ago. It’s an old building, with “The British Broadcasting […]

The Crows Can Hear the Falconer

They say there’s magic here in the Emerald Isle, something in the way the Gulf Stream and far-north latitude mix. Or maybe it’s the way the politics of grievance mixes with an ancient instinct for utterance. The first literature of any race is always symbols, incantations, poetry. (Realism comes last, ultimately expressed in nonfiction storytelling.) […]

A story too good to check out

I remember reading the appalling story last month in the Roanoke (Va.) Times before leaving for Ireland: Nuns at an Irish orphanage during some three decades of the mid-20th century had discarded about 800 dead babies and children in unmarked graves on the convent grounds, some in a septic tank. Yuck. The news story was […]

For Iggy McGovern: A Sonnet

You cannot fool a fool; a con game’s lost In translation. Likewise, to render these Sonnets of yours into some torn, gong-tossed Free verse would leave acres of vacancies: The way you cast each poem inside the head Of that great polymath, or of each kith And kin, distinct, original, well said, Yet each turn […]

Doug’s journalism class

Sorry for the late notice, and not being able to get this on the schedule tab. I’ll email it too. Let’s meet at the Writers Center at 10 a.m. If we have another room with the technology (or can just use my laptop), I’d like to have each of us show a multimedia news feature […]