Turbulence – Corrib Voices was originally published in 2003. A collection of work by emerging writers based in Galway, it featured participants in the first year of the Masters in Writing at the National University of Ireland, Galway.
As the final thesis project of Cyberscribe’s chief editor, Helena Mulkerns, it was the first such collection published at the University, and constituted the end product of Mulkerns’ thesis on the “new” phenomenon of Publish On Demand.
Working with a British company who were at the forefront of POD developments, the book was compiled, edited, designed and published by Mulkerns. It was then officially launched with readings and sell-out sales at a lively evening in a Galway restaurant and made available for sale in all major independent book stores in Galway and Dublin. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Cyberscribe’s modest beginnings, the book is now available as a 2nd edition paperback and e-book.
Anthologies of new writing are some of the more delicate, lovingly nurtured blooms on the cultural landscape. They prove that out there, valiant believers give of their time and a type hectoring patience to bring voices out of lonely rooms. Like pirate radio stations which giddy the ether from time to time with their contrary voices and rhythms, they function as a kind of samizdat within the open consensus of this province. Tuning into them makes you complicit in a healthy underground. It marks you out as curious, unsatisfied with the current wisdom, anxious to hear voices in utero, avid to catch imaginations on the wing.
The importance of such anthologies to writers, established and beginner, is beyond measure. They provide a type of proving ground where new work can be exposed to an audience who know full well that this same work has not received its final polish. Thus there is a type of critical latitude between the writer and his audience – they enter into a tentative partnership with each other. One is anxious for feedback, while the other hankers after new voices and ideas. Both hope for new perspectives.
Turbulence is a classy addition to this tradition. It brings poetry, fiction and prose reflections by seasoned and first time writers, together within the curve of the biggest waterway in the province. It is a welcome addition to the cultural landscape of the west. It carefully showcases the work within a vigilant editorial matrix, which ensures that it is a book any writer would be proud to have their work included in. Some writers are publishing their first work in this anthology – it is a heady start, a major step up from small magazines or newspaper competitions. There are few thrills to equal seeing your first published poem or short story and a publication this cool and considered can be marked up as something of a flying start.
In keeping with its brave origins the anthology delivers a variety of voices. Too often in the minds of readers and writers, anthologists and editors, these traditions have been artificially segregated as if they had nothing to say to each other or, worse, learn from each other.
Turbulence cuts through these snobberies, refusing to recognise the ghetto mentality that tends to thwart dialogue. And while no one wants poetic prose or prosaic poetry – those etiolated hybrids – it is surely the case that in matters of theme and sensibility some type of fruitful intercourse can be hoped for. The alternate positioning of the pieces in this collection is the kind of forced intimacy which may lead to a fruitful cross fertilisation.
As you might expect, there is a diversity of concern and topography. Themes of love and loss sit cheek by jowl with tales of feminine retribution and obsession. Middle-aged men cosy up to cool chicks. The West of Ireland broadens out into the wider spaces of the Canadian wilderness. This is of a piece with the wide demographic covered in the anthology.
The mood is twitchy, imaginatively engaged but far flung. There is no binding theme, no running concern, no attempt to marshal individual voices into an artificially binding theme. This is as it should be. Anthologies of this type thrive on dissonance and jostling antipathies. Ideas bounce off each other, they gain light and shade from their neighbours, hopefully they will revisit each other in the future at some time known only to themselves.
It comes with a fitting title — the rise and fall of its differing genres mirroring the contending moods of the Corrib itself.
Colours and rhythms displace each other in a warp and weft known only to itself. It is a book to be dipped into and savoured in quiet moments, a book for passing around in coffee houses and gatherings, and it will stand as a valuable record of these writers at a particular stage of their development. Read and enjoy