Oct 28 2009

Towers, towers…

Published by Alina Pavlova under Joseph O'Connor

To tell the truth, I was very skeptical about having to attend this reading. I didn’t think it was going to be any good. I didn’t think it was going to be a tad bit interesting. My reasons for thinking so? They probably stem from the fact that I read that piece by him, from his book, about his father. He seemed a tad bland to me as a writer and as a person. I didn’t find his writing to be engaging. In my mind, I imagined Joseph O’Connor as boring.

Harsh accusations, indeed. And I do take all of them back. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the man – he was younger than I thought he would be. I expected to see a worn out old man, head full of gray hair, wrinkles on the face, and no sense of humor or ability to relate to the generation he was speaking to.

Wrong again.

Joseph O’Connor turned out to be one of the most interesting, well-read, intelligent, and knowledgeable people I have ever met (or heard speak). To say he wasn’t, at all, boring, is to say that his writing was simply “good.” The man really knows what he is doing. It’s clear that he found the correct niche in choosing to be a writer.

And he isn’t just simply a “writer.” He is a novelist, a poet, a contributor to newspapers. He’s good at everything. And in my opinion, a proficient writer is defined by not his proficiency in one general aspect of writing (such as strictly being a poet), but his ability to master a variety of “genres.”

There were 2 things that impressed me about his presentation: his knowledge, and his poem.

Reading the excerpt from his book, I stumbled upon a lot of allegories that I didn’t understand. They were mostly about Ireland, and its history, which showed me that O’Connor is a well-read man, but also disengaged me from the reading because I was not able to relate. Speaking and reading to us, however, O’Connor mentioned so many things about modern culture – his reference to Eminem in saying that he is a rapper that saved poetry. Instantly, I was able to trust him. He knew his stuff, so to say, how could you not trust someone who knows about what every teenager knows? How could you not trust someone who knows about what’s going on in the celebrity world?

Now, for the poem. The first thing that made me fall in love with it was the rhyme scheme. I know there’s more to poetry than just rhymes, but when they do, I find them to be THAT much more interesting. They just flow better. The second thing was O’Connor’s impeccable ability to capture NYC in the form of stanzas. He made observations and captured the essence of the city in the same way that someone who’s lived here their whole lives is able to capture. He described it perfectly. The third was hearing him read it. It’s always best to hear the writer read his work because it gives you the sense of what the writer intended – which comes out from intonations, pauses, the speed of reading. When O’Connor read his poem, I was able to see a genuine passion he has for NYC – the same kind of passion that I have for this beautiful city. Besides, his accent is the best.
Map of NYC


One response so far

One Response to “Towers, towers…”

  1.   Amrita Narineon 28 Oct 2009 at 8:54 pm

    I agree with you. I didn’t want to go to the reading either, but it turned out to be interesting. What really impressed me though was the way he read the love letter. He had such passion behind it and I thought that his ability to portray his work was just as good as his ability to write it, which is amazing.