Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Monday, June 25, 2012

"Master Foynes His Galliard" by Fred Johnston

"Master Foynes His Galliard" by Fred Johnston (1973, 8 pages)

My musical education lags way behind my literary one    I did not have the slightest idea what "Galliard" means.   As it always seem to (there are those who claim that Google is some how causing a global dumbing down of the people of the earth, I am quite of the opposite opinion), Google came to my rescue.  Allow me to quote from Wikipedia

"As a dance, the galliard was definitely not one to be improvised. It had dancers combining patterns of steps which occupy one or more measures of music. In one measure, a galliard typically has five steps; in French such a basic step is called a cinq pas and in Italy, "cinque passi". This is sometimes written in English sources as sinkapace. These steps are: right, left, right, left, cadence.

The galliard is an athletic dance, characterised by leaps, jumps, hops and other similar figures. The main feature that defines a galliard step is the last two beats consist of a large jump, landing with one leg ahead of the other. This jump is called a cadence,and the final landing is called the posture. The sources generally describe movement patterns starting on the left foot, then repeating it starting with the right foot. A galliard pattern may also last twice as long, or more, which would "

The Galliard reached its heights of popularity as a musical form in the 16th century in France and Italy 

"Master Foynes His Galliard" is a fascinating story.   I always try to read the short stories I post on twice at least.   I read this story twice a week or more for three week and twice yesterday.   It is an infinitely captivating   story and in the very long ago I was instructed by old school formalists so I knew to see this story as a literary Galliard.   The story also begins at musical performance of a galliard by a distinguished group of musicians.   Two women old enough to have grown children are in attendance.   One is fascinated and the other is along for company.  The relationship of the women is complicated, it might be intimate it might not.   The women have both made lots of leaps in their lives, dancing in pairs of various sorts.  I know only those who have access to the book in which the story appears will be able to read it and my main purpose here is just to be sure my readers know of another very worth reading Irish short story writer.  

Official Author Biography

Born Belfast, Northern Ireland, Sept. 27th, 1951. Educated there and Toronto, Canada. Lived for a time
in Spain and Africa. Educated St Malachy's College, Belfast. Moved to Dublin in 1968, Galway 1976.
A new collection of stories is due from Parthian (Wales) in Spring 2011; 'Orangeman', a collection of
stories in French, appeared from Terre de Brume (France) in October 2010.
Worked for some years as a fulltime journalist, writer and sub-editor: Irish Press, This Week
magazine, (1970), Woman's Choice (Creation Grp, Dublin), and Belfast Telegraph (sub-ed.) Two years
in public relations in Dublin: FOC here for a time and initiated the unionising of PR and Advertising
outfist in Dublin. Edited Westword Magazine, Galway and, for a time, two literary pages in The Galway
Advertiser, Galway.
Received Hennessy Literary Award for prose in 1972, judges V.S.Pritchett and James Plunkett.
Received Sunday Independent Short Story and Poem of the Month awards in 1981 and 1982
respectively. Co-founded, with Neil Jordan and Peter Sheridan, The Irish Writers' Co-operative in the
mid-Seventies. Has published four novels, eight collections of poetry (including Browne, a long poem,
from Lapwing Poetry, and True North, Salmon Poetry, published April 1997), had three plays
performed, one of which, No Earthly Pole, dealt with the ill-fated 1845 expedition of Sir John Franklin
to discover a North-West Passage. This was produced by Punchbag Theatre, Galway, for the Galway
Arts Festival. A collection of short stories, Keeping The Night Watch, published (1998). Atalanta,
novel, published 2000. Being Anywhere – New & Selected Poems, published 2001 (Lagan Poetry,
Belfast); The Oracle Room (Cinnamon Press, UK, 2007); Northern Lights – translations of the poems
of Colette Wittorski (Lapwing Publications, 2009.) Literature Bursary, Arts Council of Northern
Ireland, 2000; Prix de l’Ambassade 2000; Literature Bursary, Arts Council of the Republic, 2001 and
other years.
Most recent novel, ‘The Neon Rose,’ based in the Paris legal world, was published by
Bluechrome to acclaim from The Irish Times. New collection of poetry from Cinnamon, UK, ‘The
Oracle Room,’ appeared October 2007. Poetry written in French has appeared in France in the
following publications: Jointure, HOPALA! (dernier numéro), Revue Aero-Page, Aoujourd'hui
Poème, Fôret de Milles Poètes, Le Cerf-Volant (Paris), Éclats de Rêves, Ouste, In-Fusion, Le
Grognard, Art et Poésie de Touraine, Á Travers Champs, Portique, Tchatche (sur le Web), Le
Journal à Sajat (Paris,) L'OuvreBoite, La Page Blanche (en traduction), Comme en Poésie,
Traction-Brabant, Poésie du Monde (en ligne), Temporel (en ligne), Verso et La Moulin de
Poésie (Saintes), Le Capital des Mots (en ligne), Translation Ireland (en francais) et Les
Citadelles (2005 – en traduction.)
Founder of Galway's annual international literature festival, CÚIRT, in 1986. Writer-in-
Residence to the Princess Grace Irish Library at Monaco, 2004.
In the 'Eighties he wrote and broadcast for RTE Radio 1 a four-part series on the literary history
of the West of Ireland. In 1983 he produced the cassette recording, 'Poets in the West,' featuring poets
Gerald Dawe, Paul Durcan, the late Sydney Bernard Smith and his own work, with musicians Seán
Ryan and the late flute-player, Charlie Brown. Poetry and short stories have been published widely, in
this country, the US, Australia, Canada, broadcast by BBC radio, RTE, and BBC World Service. Poems
have appeared, for example, in the TLS (Times Literary Supplement),The Financial Times, The
Village, The Spectator, Studies, The Independent (London), The Sunday Times, The Irish Times, Irish
University Review, Poetry Ireland; prose in The London Magazine, Stand, anthologised by Pan Books,
and in The Literary Review (USA). Further information on published work can be supplied on request.
Visits France regularly and has read and lectured there.
Main poetry reviewer with Books Ireland for many years; reviews poetry also for The Irish
Times and The Sunday Tribune; books for The Irish Examiner, Cork, and visual arts for them also, as
well as arts features; visual arts reviewer for The Sunday Times. Has reviewed also: Irish University
Review, Harpers & Queen, Poetry Ireland Review. Interview pieces for Irish Music magazine. Also
written for some time for RTE's 'Sunday Miscellany' and various arts programmes. Writes on occasion
for An Irishman’s Diary, in The Irish Times. Broadcast travel pieces for RTE Radio’s Sunday
Miscellany and ‘The Quiet Corner,’for Lyric FM Radio (Ireland). Regular contributor and literary
commentator on Irish radio.
OTHER (Teaching, etc.):
Teaches Creative Writing at NUIG (Adult Education). Has given workshops on creative writing
widely at a variety of literary and arts festivals. Edits a small Galway-based magazine. Has taught
English as a foreign language. Keen interest in Classical and traditional Irish music; has recorded two
albums with Parsons Hat and two solo albums. Founded and organiser of Kinvara Writers' Group.
Founder of the Western Writers’ Centre – Ionad Scríbhneoiri Chaitlín Maude – based in Galway
( Please inform me should you wish to obtain further details.

His most recent collection of short stories, Dancing In the Asylum,  was published in 2011.  Here is the publisher's description of the book:

Paying for friendship, angry knicker-flashing at ex-pats, gay cruising at a medieval carnival... not exactly what an outsider might expect of folks from the small towns of Ireland.
These short stories introduce us to a host of fascinating characters. Sometimes funny, occasionally grotesque, always poignant, these pieces paint a wonderfully unexpected portrait of a place and its people in a time of great change, each page unfolding a delicate or deliciously devious secret.

More information can be found on the publisher's webpage

Mel u

1 comment:

shaunag said...

Thanks for reminding us of authors whose names may not be on the tip of our tongues. Johnston's work sounds intriguing and as radical as his roots in literary ireland of the 1970s. I look forward to buying his collection and will look out for more works. Shauna