RAVEN ARTS PRESS PUBLICATIONS

 

Dermot Bolger with Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill
and the late Michael Hartnett during the
editing of Hartnett's translations of Ni
Dhomhnaill's Selected poems published
by Raven

Brief Introduction

I founded Raven Arts in Finglas in 1977, just after I finished secondary school. Working with no budget our publications were initially confined to small photocopied broadsheets sold around pubs in the Finglas area and the release of a small number of pamphlets, including Finglas Watching the Night: Twenty Poems of Love & Identity, in 1979, a twelve page book by myself with an introduction by Anthony Cronin. The 400 copies of this were sold by words of mouth in factories and pubs in Finglas – most especially in the Unidare industrial complex, where I was later to work as a factory hand and where my debut novel Night Shift is Set.


In 1978 Raven also published Urban Voices, an anthology of four new poets including Michael O’Loughlin. Michael O’Loughlin is also from Finglas and while he spent most of these years living abroad in Spain and Holland he always stayed in touch, was strongly involved in the early growth of Raven and had a big input in those years. Someone who was also hugely influential in Raven was the poet Conleth O’Connor, who in 1977 – the year Raven was founded – made the perilous decision to give us his job as an accountant to become a full time writer. The Finglas born poet Randolph Healy was also involved in the early days, both as a writer and a guitarist on the seriously chaotic Raven Roadshows – a concoction of poetry and music inflicted upon the unsuspecting population of places like Wexford, Waterford, Kilkenny, Crumlin and elsewhere.

Raven found a base in the Grapevine Art Centre in Dublin and kindred spirits there in people like the late Thom McGinty (the street performance artist like known as The Diceman).  

Others who came to have a strong editorial involvement in Raven included Philip Casey, Liam Hayes and Aidan Murphy. I was ably abetted in many crimes against grammar, design and layout by assistants like Niall Connaughton and Carl Marry. Initial covers were by Leo Duffy and later many were done by Susanne Linde, both of whom were wonderful and wonderfully patient to work with. Early Raven books were printed in sheds and back lanes around Finglas. The press never possessed a single unifying intellectual agenda, but was a loose movement for change, its course being dictated by the writers who got involved and who brought others in. It was never run as a business, but it was a huge amount of fun with serious intend, a passion and a pleasure, an adventure undertaken with a genuine love of literature and at times a genuine sense of mischief. I closed down Raven in 1992 because it had become impossible to combine being a writer and a publisher and I also felt that Irish publishing has moved onto a new stage and needed a different and far more professional approach. In that year I co-founded New Island with Edwin Higel and Fergal Stanley. New Island continues to be a major and deeply respected force in Irish publishing today.

Leaving aside the six small pamphlets published in 1977 and 1978, this is a list of all the books published under the imprint of Raven Arts Press from 1979 when we published what we regarded as our first book – Priorities. Its launch in St Canice’s Protestant Church in Finglas village in Nov 1979 involved a mini riot and various evictions for drunkenness and abusive language. As I held the legs of one of Ireland’s foremost portrait painters and Tim Healy – a Finglas schoolboy – held his arms and we carried him out of the church for the second time, we consoled ourselves that none of the violence, blasphemy and drunkenness came from any of the local people present but from certain Dublin literati who had tanked themselves up for Dutch courage before venturing forth into working class territory. Later book launches were never quite as exciting, but – especially with Patrick McCabe on piano – they were rarely dull. A number of US libraries have complete sets of Raven editions, as does St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra, Dublin. An asterisk after a title means that it was a debut book. Should an institution or collector be interested in acquiring one complete set of all the Raven Arts titles, a set may be available via New Island.

I have avoided making any comment on what influence – if any – Raven had on Irish literature during this period, however Sylvie Mikowski has written a study of Raven Arts Press in her chapter, Dermot Bolger Et La Raven Arts Press: A Loose Coalition for Change in Le Livre en Irlande: I’imprime en contexte (Presses Universitaires de Caen).       


 

Raven Arts Press publications

 

1979

Priorities: Poems 1967-77 - Sydney Bernard Smith

The Judas Cry - Conleth O'Connor

Half Time - Jule Wieland*

 

1980

Perpetual Star - Brian Lynch

Those Distant Summers - Philip Casey*

Stalingrad: The Street Dictionary - Michael O'Loughlin*

The Habit of Flesh - Dermot Bolger*

Jesus, Break his Fall by Paul Durcan

Reductionist Poem by Anthony Cronin

 

1981

The Journal of Arland Ussher - ed. Adrian Kenny

Sidelines: A Diary of Poems 1951-74 - Eoghan O Tuairisc

A Dream of Maps - Matthew Sweeney*

Love Poems & Others - Maurice Scully*

This Day's Importance - Padraig J Daly

Finglas Lilies - Dermot Bolger

Scurrilities - Sydney Bernard Smith

Sensualities - Sydney Bernard Smith

Loss And Gain - Gerard Smyth

R.M.S. Titanic - Anthony Cronin

41 Sonnet Poems 82 - Anthony Cronin

 

1982

Ark of the North: For Francis Stuart on his 80th birthday   - Paul Durcan

We Have Kept The Faith: New & Selected Poems - Francis Stuart (Intro. Anthony Cronin)

Behind the Garden Gnomes - Conleth O'Connor

Atlantic Blues - Michael O'Loughlin

New & Selected Poems - Anthony Cronin   

Poems & Versions - Padraig Fallon

Raven Introductions 1 - Aidan Murphy, Sean Dunne, -    Patrick Deeley

No Waiting America - Dermot Bolger

The Fabulous Life of Guillaume Apollinaire - Gunnar Harding - Translated from the Swedish by the author &  Sydney Bernard Smith

After Doomsday - Conleth Ellis

 

1983

Beds of Down - Brian Lynch

Jumping the Train Tracks with Angela - Paul Durcan

States of Mind: Selected Short Prose 1936-83    - Francis Stuart

Kioskophile & Other Stories - David Kavanagh & Podge    Rowan (Raven Introductions 2)*

A Round House - Matthew Sweeney

The Garden of Theophrastus - Peter Huchel   Translated from the German by Michael Hamburger

The Luthern Letters - Essays by Pier Paolo Pasolini

In The Belacqua Series (Re-issues of New Writers Press books)

Colected Poems - Thomas MacGreevy - Intro. Samuel Beckett

Selected Poems - Brian Coffey

Irish Poetry - The 30's Generation - ed Michael Smith

 

1984

Raven Introductions 3 – edited by Dermot Bolger. New work by Sara Berkeley, David Connaughton, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill (translated by Michael Hartnett), Padraig Rooney, Ciaran Cosgrove, Roisin Cowman, Patrick McCabe.

Collected Poems, Vol 1 - Michael Hartnett

After The War is Over - Irish Poets mark the visit of Ronald Reagan - ed. Dermot Bolger, intro Francis Stuart

New & Selected Poems - Sydney Bernard Smith

The Exiles - Iain Crichton Smith

Manna in the Morning - A memoir 1940 - 1958   - Madeleine Stuart* (Intro. Dermot Bolger)

Memorial - Francis Stuart (Reissue of novel)

 

1985

Inchicore Haiku - Michael Hartnett

Letter to an Englishman - Anthony Cronin

A New Primer for Irish Schools - Dermot Bolger & Michael O'Loughlin. Limited Edition to mark Raven's 50th title

The Adventures of Shay Mouse: The Mouse from Longford   - Patrick McCabe (Children's book)*

A Donegal Summer - A Young Girl's Sketchbook of the 1920s - Sheila Fitzgerald* (Ed Bolger, Intro by Pauline Bewick)

After Thunder - Philip Casey

The Restless Factor - Aidan Murphy*

The Diary of a Silence - Michael O'Loughlin

After Kavanagh - Patrick Kavanagh & The Discourse of Contemporary Irish Poetry - Michael O'Loughlin (Essay)

Faillandia - Francis Stuart (A Novel)

65 Poems - Paul Celan (Translated from German by Brian Lynch & Peter Jankowsky*)

Selected Poems - Zbigniew Herbert

The Lame Waltzer - Matthew Sweeney

 

1986

The Bright Wave: An Tonn Gheal - Poetry in Irish Now
   Dual language anthology edited by Dermot Bolger.
   Intro Alan Titley
   Poetry by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Michael Davitt, Cathal
   O Searcaigh, Caitlin Maude, Micheal O hAirtneide and
   Liam O Muirthile.
   Translations into English by 14 writers including Paul Muldoon, John Montague, Rosita Boland, Sara Berkeley, Thomas McCarthy    and Ciaran Carson.

Selected Poems Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill* (*English language debut) Translated by Michael Hartnett

Selected Poems, Volune 2 - Michael Hartnett

Raven Introductions 4: edited by Dermot Bolger. New work by Rosita Boland, Greg Delanty, Gerry Loose, Maurice Riordan, William Ruane, Bill Tinley, Ferdia Mac Anna, Ashling Maguire, Gerrit Achterberg (translated from Dutch by Michael O'Loughlin) & Jim Nolan (play extract).

Penn – Sara Berkeley*

Music On Clinton Street - Patrick McCabe (A debut novel)*

 

1987

The Abandoned Snail Shell - Francis Stuart - an Essay published on the occasion of his 85th birthday

The Way The Money Goes - Aidan Murphy

The Politics of Magic - The Work & Times of Tom Murphy - Fintan O'Toole*

The Woman's Daughter - Dermot Bolger (A Novel)

A Corpse Auditions Its Mourners - New & Selected   Poems - Conleth O'Connor

Hidden Weddings - Selected Poems - Gerrit Achterberg   Translated from Dutch by Michael O'Loughlin

Selected Poems: Rogha Danta - Michael Davitt* (*First English language publication, a dual language edition with translations by Paul Muldoon, Philip Casey & others

The Chinese Dressing Gown - Matthew Sweeney   (Children's story, illustrated by Jon Berkeley)                           

The man Who Lived in Sorcy Wood - Brendan McNamee*
 
Letters from the New Island pamphlets

1: The Southern Question - Fintan O'Toole

 2: Martyrs & Metaphors - Colm Toibin

 3: Frank Ryan - Michael O'Loughlin

 

1988

Selected Poems: Rogha Danta - Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill
   Reissue of original Hartnett translations in dual language format

Raven Introductions 5 - Work by ten new Irish writers – Patrick Cotter, Eoin McNamee, Patrick Quigley, Eamonn Wall, Judith Mok, Tom Lonergan, Katie Donovan, Pascal O’Loughlin, Gerry Murphy, Sabine Wichert.

Invisible Cities - A journey through unofficial Dublin
   Introduced and edited by Dermot Bolger, containing twelve essays and forty four poems about the suburbs of Dublin

The God Squad - Paddy Doyle*

The Garden of Echoes - Mervyn Wall (A Children's story)

In the Bonsai Garden - Padraig Rooney*

The Nightingale And Not the Lark - Jennifer Johnston    (Three plays and an essay)

Night Pilot - Francis Stuart (Limited edition of poems)

Letters from the new Island pamphlet series

4: Bald Head: A Cancer Story - Ferdia Mac Anna*

5: Irish Women Writers - Katie Donovan*

6: Art for the People? - Anthony Cronin

7: 16 on 16 - 16 Irish writers on the Easter Rising, edited by Dermot Bolger

 

1989

The End of the Modern World - Anthony Cronin

Voices from the nettle-Way - Brian Lynch

Alexandrian Notebook - Desmond O'Grady

Folk Tales for the General - Patrick Galvin

The Sound of Umbrellas at Work - Tom Lonergan*

Fanny Hawke Goes to the Mainland Forever - Sabestian Barry

Small Sky, Big Change - Aidan Murphy

Walking Naked - Pascal O'Loughlin*

Home Movie Nights - Sara Berkeley       

Leinster Street Ghosts - Dermot Bolger

The Last of Deeds - Eoin McNamee* (debut novel)

The Inside Story - Michael O'Loughlin* (debut collection of stories)

Night Shift – Dermot Bolger re-issue of debut novel

Boss Grady's Boys - Sebastian Barry

 

1990

Not Common Speech - Davoren Hanna*   (Intro. Brendan Kennelly)

No More Heroes - A Radical Guide to Shakespeare   - Fintan O'Toole

12 Bar Blues - Raven Introductions, edited by Dermot Bolger & Aidan Murphy: Work by twelve new Irish writers – Pat Boran, Heather Brett, Patrick Chapman, Brendan Cleary, John Dunne, Frank Golden, Mark Grainer, Bernadette Matthews, Conor O’Callaghan, Michael O’Sullivan, Alison Stewart & Enda Wyley.

Francis Stuart: A Life - Geoffrey Elborn

A Compendium of Lovers - Francis Stuart (A novel)

Seven Arab Odes - Desmond O'Grady

The Witness: Selected Poems - Robert O'Donoghue*

The Misogynist's Blue Nightmare - Patrick Cotter*
On Route to Leameneh - Frank Golden*

The Trial of the Generals: Selected Journalism 1980 - 1990 - Colm Toibin.

A Mass for Jesse James; A Journey Through 1980s Ireland - Fintan O'Toole

Song for a Poor Boy - Patrick Galvin

 

1991

The Year of the Knife: Poems 1980 - 1990 - Philip Casey

Muscle Creek - Rosita Boland*

Angel of Patrick's Hill - Richard Kearney*

A Good Daughter: The Story of a Mother's Death from Cancer - Kathryn Holmquist*
   -
Letters from the New Island, edited by Dermot Bolger
- a collected edition of twelve pamphlets (the seven ones that have been previous published and five especially commissioned ones to complete the collection: Two Hurlers on the Ditch: John Healy & Breandan O hEithir and Irish Politics by Edward Mulhall; Women And Poverty by Aileen O’Mara; Who’s Afraid of Change? Irish Politics in the 1990s by John Waters; The Irish Family – the Gallaghers and Ireland by Mary Rafferty; Letters on a New Republic – Three Open Letters to Three Presidents by Richard Kearney.

Invisible Dublin - edited by Dermot Bolger
the 12 essays from Invisible Cities plus 14 new ones

Jazz Town - Patrick Chapman*

Song for a Raggy Boy - Vol 2 of Memoirs - Patrick Galvin

The Swimmer in the Deep Blue Dream – Debut collection of stories - Sara Berkeley*

 

1992

We Have Kept the Faith - Poems 1918 - 1992 -    Francis Stuart