The Washington Post

A pot of literary gold for D.C. commuters on St. Patrick’s Day

Copies of “What’s the Story?” will be distributed at DC Metro stations on St. Patrick’s Day. (Courtesy of Solas Nua) Copies of “What’s the Story?” will be distributed at D.C. Metro stations on St. Patrick’s Day. (Courtesy of Solas Nua)

Call it a St. Patrick’s Day miracle: Washington commuters will share the luck of the Irish on March 17. At several downtown Metro stations, an anthology of Irish stories and poems will be given away to all interested readers.

The D.C.-based Irish arts organization Solas Nua has always celebrated Irish literature on St. Patrick’s Day, but this year, Solas Nua partnered with the Irish literary magazine Stinging Fly to produce a special anthology called “What’s the Story?” About three dozen volunteers will distribute 8,000 copies during the morning and evening rush hours at Dupont Circle, Gallery Place, Judiciary Square and Columbia Heights. You’ll also be able to find copies of the handsome little book at Politics & Prose and other areas business. (The Irish Arts Center in New York will have 1,000 copies to distribute, too.)

The pieces in “What’s the Story?” have been selected from past issues of the Stinging Fly, which has been published in Dublin since 1997. The 128-page collection includes stories by Colin Barrett, Kevin Barry, Mary Costello, Michael J. Farrell and Danielle McLaughlin. It also includes poetry by Sarah Clancy, Elaine Feeney, Geraldine Mitchell, Leanne O’Sullivan, Billy Ramsell, Tadhg Russell and Alan Jude Moore.

Among them is a witty poem by Cliona O’Connell, called “Talking Off Billy Collins’ Clothes (after he had taken off Emily Dickinson’s).” It begins:

First, the lanyard,

all oedipal and complex,

for it had rubbed uncomfortably

and incessantly

against the nipple of my left breast

and the V-neck

I raised over his slow eyes

as he held up his arms

with the small obedience of a polite boy.

Next, the white vest,

my fingers pushing through

to the black hairs on his white chest.

To find out what happens next, look for a copy of “What’s the Story” on St. Patrick’s Day.

The project is supported by a grant from D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your Metro door.

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.



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