29 July 2006

Poem Twelve: How Blow-ins Become Locals

We have arrived at the last poem in the project. It'll go up next week; the opening is Thursday night along with exhibitions by Malachy Costello, Helena Gorey and Stephen Rennicks.

I've loved the term "blow-in" since I first heard it used ten years ago when I was in the process of doing exactly that, blowing in to Ireland from Portland, Maine. Or to be more precise, blowing back to Ireland as the grand-daughter of emigrants. And I like the term as it's used both by members and non-members of the "caste", if you will. It's a perfect example of a coinage for the existence of The Other in rural Ireland. The term begs the question that the poem, playfully, addresses: when do you go from being a blow-in to a local? How and when does it happen, if ever? The seed for the idea of the poem comes from a story told by Michael Ewing, a longtime local of the area (before he blew in from other parts) in which he heard two farmers having a chat at the gate somewhere deep in the heart of the country. It went something like this: "My hippie's cutting hay today. What's your hippie at, so?"
And so it goes.


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