Unsolicited Advice from a Failed Male Poet

Some people seem to have a hard time understanding the difference between constructive criticism and being an asshole, so let me explain.

Constructive criticism is what writers go to writing workshops for. The work is there but it needs tweaking, reformatting, shifting around. You give criticism to help improve the work that is presented, you don’t try and wish it were something else, done in a different style or with a different voice. And most importantly, you are expected to give criticism, to help make the work better.

Being an asshole is going to a poetry event, seeing a number of female poets and deciding their work is not in any way like that of the 19th Century romantics who for you define the standard of the art form, therefore it must be bad. At this point you decide to go home, write an eight thousand word essay to each of the poets and explain to them how their looks, their performance, their writing, their ideas and their voices are not the way poetry is meant to be written. And the sending it to each of them by email.

If, added to this, you are a loser in your mid-40s who has not yet managed to have a book of your own published, you then simply transcend the label of asshole.

It was a pleasure helping Alvy get this rebuttal to once such asshole out into the world. I do believe work like this helps people who have to put up with this sort of crap, and by making this video I hope to have played my own little part in helping those people.

te amo / je t’aime / i love you

Depression is something that touches so many people. Even when we are lucky enough not to be afflicted with it, we all know and love people who are or have been.

In Alvy Carragher’s poem “te amo / je t’aime / i love you” the sense of growing apart from someone you’ve known your whole life is palpable. We all have people in our lives who we lose contact with for one reason or another, but when it’s family and it’s depression, it takes on a whole other level of tragedy.

I created this animated film for her poem on and off over a couple of months. It was my first attempt at doing a 2D computer animation using Photoshop’s timeline feature. The side-scroller feel to the animation is as much a necessity as a creative choice, but it seemed appropriate in capturing the tone of the poem.

Alvy’s debut poetry collection will be launched on the 13th of June, 2016 in the Irish Writer’s Centre on Parnell Square.