Kevin Griffin (2019)
Paperback, ISBN 978-0-9935803-8-3
Holding Salamanders is a collection that points its eye at a wide and varied range of themes and subjects. It flits from the Sahara to Ancient Roman and Greek myth, spiced here and there with Celtic lore. The presence of the Roman world, its history, culture, and verse, looms large in the writing. The volume is also deeply engaged with poetry from the wider world and displays multiple influences including contemporary and experimental poetry. His work is coloured not only by a love of travel and also a deep interest in fine art.
The poetry in Holding Salamanders constantly returns to Kerry and its environs. It is the poet’s rootedness in Kerry that holds all the diverse elements of the collection together. Strolls and runs on the beach at Rossbeigh, the ever present “wild” Atlantic, the maintenance of gardens and houses, these are the inspiration and locations of much of this work.
Holding Salamanders is a collection that sees itself as part of, and in sympathy with, that indefinable and universal phenomenon that drives the compulsion to create, in all its forms. Its rhythms are many, taking their cue from their themes, whether these are the waves and sand, trees or mountains, or, very often, in the miscellany that is humanity. A healthy dose of Surrealism provides a platform where many of the subjects can be viewed from new and, often, startling angles.
About the Author
Kevin Griffin was born in Killorglin, Co. Kerry. He received a BA in English and Latin from UCC in 1968, and went on to complete the Higher Diploma in Education, 1969, returning to Killorglin to take up a teaching position at his former school, the “Carnegie,” now the ISK. He retired in 2009 and has since devoted himself to writing poetry. He was a keen athlete for many years winning, among many other distinctions, an All-Ireland gold medal at 400m over-55, representing his club Iveragh AC. His poems have appeared in magazines and journals not only in Ireland, but also in the US, Canada, Austria, Northern Ireland, England and Cyprus, and he has read his work a number of times on local radio. He was shortlisted for the Phizzfest Poetry Prize in 2011, and for the Fish prize in 2012.