Irish American Writers & Artists

September 19, 2011

Donna Lethal’s Milk of Amnesia an Irish-American Memoir

Filed under: Essay,Literature — by johnleemedia @ 11:21 am
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Award-winning author Donna Lethal’s first book, Milk of Amnesia, is her account of a childhood and adolescence marked by punishing instability and an underlying sense of dread. Lethal’s presentation of her fractured unpredictable family and life in 1960’s-70s Lowell, Massachusetts draws the reader completely into a bizarre realm where tenderness and affection are only implied yet menace and fear are overwhelmingly inescapable.

Presented as a kaleidoscopic series of brief, hit and run episodes with a structure that alternately leaps forward and slips back through Lethal’s dreamlike chronology, Milk of Amnesia is at its core a study of the lower middle class Irish Catholic experience.

“A high impact safari through some of the most bizarre, troubling territory you’ve never before imagined”–LA Weekly

“I am amazed, after reading these tales of her childhood in a Boston Irish-Catholic version of a John Waters movie, that she grew up as sane and funny and non-crazy as she has … This is addictive, obsessive reading.”

–Eve Golden (Platinum Girl, Vamp)

“Visit Kerouac’s grave and share a few smokes with Donna, the only punk rocker at Lowell High School in the early ’80s. Her ex-nun mom, bookie-bartender dad, and bank-robber brother fill out the family in this intense memoir with tales that take turns with the comic and the tragic.”

–Doug Simmons (Subway News editor; columnist, Boston Phoenix

Massachusetts-born Donna Lethal divides her time between Los Angeles and the Mojave Desert with her 90-pound pit bull.

Milk of Amnesia

Milk of Amnesia By Donna Lethal, Introduction by Chris D, 133 pages, published by New Texture Books. 

September 18, 2011

Begging for Vultures: Latest from Poet Lawrence Welsh

Filed under: Literature,Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 10:00 pm
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Poet Lawrence Welsh’s new Begging for Vultures: New and Selected Poems crosses many borders, from South Central Los Angeles, where he was raised, to El Paso, where he has lived for almost twenty years. A newspaper man turned poet, a punk rock songwriter who became an English teacher, an Irishman at home in Texas, Welsh gives voice to the famous, the infamous, and the forgotten.

Welsh is an associate professor of English at El Paso Community College. He has also taught at the University of Texas at El Paso and the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility. An award-winning journalist, Welsh has published in over two hundred magazines and is the author of eight books of poetry…and the only IAW&A member in El Paso!

The book is available in bookstores, or directly from the University of New Mexico Press by calling 800-249-7737 or visiting

September 13, 2011

Talkin’ Baseball with IAW&A member Dan Barry and Jimmy Breslin

Moderated by Sally Jenkins, sports columnist and features writer for The Washington Post 

Tuesday, September 20 | 7:30 pm

Irish Arts Center hosts an evening with journalists Jimmy Breslin (The Daily News) and Dan Barry (The New York Times), talking baseball and more from two of the game’s biggest rival regions: New York and New England. The conversation will be moderated by Sally Jenkins, sports columnist for The Washington Post.

Breslin’s Branch Rickey and Barry’s Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball’s Longest Game were both published this spring 2011.

Admission: FREE

Reserve through or 866-811-4111


September 11, 2011

Hearty Crowd Braves Storm for September Salon

Filed under: Events,Literature,Theater — by johnleemedia @ 4:37 pm
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Tuesday’s miserable weather didn’t keep the hard core from attending the fourth Irish American Writers and Artists’ Salon. Peter Quinn lead off the evening. Peter reminded all that the Third Annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Cocktail Reception, honoring The Irish Repertory Theatre, will be held on October 17, 6:00 PM, at The Manhattan Club (upstairs at Rosie O’Grady’s) located at 800 7th Ave in Manhattan. Gabriel Byrne will be presenting the award and Malachy McCourt will be hosting the event. It’ll be a craic! For more information and to order tickets visit: IRISH AMERICAN WRITERS AND ARTISTS.

 John Lee followed with news of a few of the other Irish cultural events on tap in the area, including the 1st Irish Festival of Theatre (though Oct. 3) now in its fourth year, an exhibit on noted Irish born architect Kevin Roche at the Museum of the City of New York  (Sept. 27 through Jan. 23), and Irish Film  New York, a weekend of the best in contemporary Irish cinema, opening on Sept. 30 with “Knuckle” a documentary on bare-knuckle boxing in Ireland’s Traveller community, which is being adapted into a dramatic series by HBO.

Kathleen Donohoe began the evening reading from a novel in progress called “You Were Forever,” a novel borne of her family’s experiences in the New York Fire Department.

Honor Molly, with the very able assistance of Paul Vincent Black, performed two riotous scenes from her play “Two Scenes.” 

Mary Gannon and Charles Hale followed Honor. Mary read an essay, which was published in the Mississippi Review, “Walking Las Vegas.” I followed with a short story titled “In Passing Years.”

Sarah Fearon, aka Snazzy Peabody, Realtor to the Stars, added some hilarity to the evening with a reading from her play in progress “Air Rights.”  I’ll never view New York realtors the same again. 

Next up was John Kearns. John read the fourth installment from his novel, “Worlds.”  It’s been a pleasure watching this work unfold, week after week. 

The evening ended with Malachy McCourt, back from a long stay in Ireland, leading adiscussion on the benefits and successes of the Salon. The Salon, Malachy’s brainchild, allows IAW&A members the opportunity to present in the medium of their choice: a reading from a work in progress, a video, a comedy skit, storytelling or a song, whatever the participant would like to present.  The event is meant to be low keyed and that’s exactly what it is, a group of artists gathered to support one another in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere.

And, as he’s done in the past, Malachy ended the proceedings in song, a rousing rendition of “Go Lassie Go.”  A grand time was had by all. 

The Irish American Writers & Artists’ salons are held on the first Tuesday of each month at The Thalia Café located in Symphony Space on Broadway at 95th Street in Manhattan. For more information on joining the IAW&A or attending the Salons you can contact Charles Hale at The next Salon will be held Oct. 4 at 7 pm.  

Insider Tip: Arrive a bit early–The Thalia has Happy Hour deals until 7!

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