Poetry Reading: Aidan Fadden & Daniel Roy Connelly
On June 7, 2016 the Institute for Creative Writing and Literary Translation hosted a poetry reading by JCU professors Aidan Fadden and Daniel Roy Connelly.
Aidan Fadden is a freelance editor, translator, and literary reviewer. His poetry has been published in Stand, The North, Magma, Lunar Poetry, and Cordite, and in translation in Italian literary magazines such as Pagine and Saragana.
Although his poems vary widely in theme, tone, and structure, many of them stem from the observation of a concrete object or scene (the abandoned vehicle in “The Car,” the semi-precious stones in “Malin”) to then move into a more abstract reflection. Among other works, Fadden read “In the Ruins,” an imagery rich poem on the Chechen conflict, and “Immaturities,” a recollection of familial moments inspired by visual art.
A widely published poet and playwright, Daniel Roy Connelly lived in India, Bangladesh, the USA, Scotland, and China, before starting to teach creative writing, English, theater and public speaking in Rome. His most recent work has appeared in The North and in Ink, Sweat and Tears, and in German translation in The Transnational.
Connelly, who currently favors prose poetry, read extracts from a memoir. These pieces deal with different moments of his life and career, from a driving test in Bombay, to the epiphanies and “obsessive marginalia” of his university years, to the complexity and entrapment of the concept of time seen through his child’s eyes. His selection of poems included the Surrealist-tinted “The Middle of Nowhere” and “A Letter to My Son Re: Black Dog,” a testimony of the darkness of depression and the possibility to defeat it – or, at least, tame it.
The Q&A session after the poetry reading revealed the two poets’ opposite approaches to the act of writing. Connelly defined writing as an act of “exfoliation” of the countless impressions of daily life, and prefers chaos to silence when fishing for inspiration. Fadden, on the other hand, chooses a quiet, quasi-meditative ambient when writing. The two also had opposite opinions when asked for suggestions for beginning poets: Fadden suggested reading extensively, and getting informed about publications’ guidelines before submitting one’s work; Connelly proposed that it may be better not to read poetry at all, and to let one’s writing originate entirely from one’s inner voices. Both agreed, however, that sharing work and receiving feedback is the ultimate compensation for any poet, and most importantly, that one should always write down the fruit of late-night inspiration in order not to forget it the morning after.