Renowned poet and winner of last year's Anthony Cronin International Poetry Award at the Wexford Literary Festival, Joe Neal, made a welcome return to Enniscorthy Library to read from his newest collection of poetry. The rather eccentrically titled 'Rossetti's Wombat' is Joe's sixth volume of poetry and comes off the back of an arts council bursary tour of New England.
Neal scooped the Anthony Cronin award last year for his poem 'Allegheny Man' which he says was prompted by a visit to the Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia, where he discovered a ruined cabin and tried to imagine the life of the person who once lived there.
'Putting a poem together is a very strange exercise of thought,' Joe said. 'An idea drifts into the mind and grabs your attention. It chases after words, setting them into a kind of melody. I would call this 'tuned thoughts' - and that may be a good definition of a poem.'
It's been a busy year for Joe having given readings at the Aberjazz Festival in Wales and Write By The Sea in Kilmore as well as releasing this latest collection. 'Rossetti's Wombat' takes its title from one of his poems prompted by the unusual behaviour of pre-Raphaelite artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
A very interesting speaker, Joe read some of his work at the Enniscorthy Library event and gave a brief explanation of each piece. He thanked those who came along as well as the library for their support. The book is now available to purchase and could just prove a hit for literary types this Christmas.