Book Review: ROPES 2013, Coming of AgeROPES is a popular literary journal published annually by the students of MA in Literature and Publishing at NUIG in Galway West Ireland and a publication I always look forward to reading. This year I have managed to get a copy before the launch and a chance to read and review for this site which I am privileged and delighted to do.

ROPES is now in its 21st year of publishing which is a long time for a literary journal and a testament of hard work by enthusiastic students. Each year, ROPES has a different theme when asking for submissions of poetry, fiction and art, and this year the journal explores the theme of coming of age and has gathered writing from around the globe from very talent writers and artists.

ROPES is also partnering along side Jigsaw Galway, which is an important free confidential support service for young people and mental health in Galway and the county, and all the proceeds made from the book will be donated to Jigsaw Galway which is another fine reason why you should be purchasing this book.

The ROPES team have done a marvelous job with this journal. The students take it upon themselves to do the design (which I have to say the quality of the paper, cover is outstanding), the editing, the production, the advertising and marketing, basically everything to produce the book and have it ready for the launch which will happen during the Cuirt International Festival of Literature on Friday 26th (click here for more details).

The writing and art within the journal itself is of the highest quality and is packed full of cracking poetry, prose, art and photography. It would be hard to review and describe the brilliance of each piece but I will choose a few that I have read and reread.

Moya Cannon’s ‘A Collection of Short Poems‘, 5 to be exact, kicks the book of with some beautiful nature poems with startling images. Askold Melnyczuk’s prose short ‘Experts from Smedley’s Secret Guide to World Literature by Jonathan Levy Wainwright, IV, Age 15‘ is an incredible piece of writing about a 15 year old boy with a pregnant girlfriend, a father coming out of the closet in his 50’s and a mother slowly becoming mad. A clever piece of writing and my favourite in the book.

Shane Ward in his poem ‘6‘ begins with the lines I was at my busiest at the age of six/ looping the heads off nettles with a stick. A fine poem about the pleasure of being a little boy.

You will get a sweet feeling of longing and youthful memories with the writings within this ROPES publication, it is so good. You will laugh out loud at Jessmine O’Connor’s poem ‘Fusebox‘ about a neighbor (an invisible man) who keeps switching of the the fuse box in the early hours of the morning while the tenants are having once a again a house party with loud banging Gabba, trance and acid-techno music, hilarious, and Kevin Higgins adds as always in Kevin’s witty style, some more humour in his fantastic poem ‘Define Me‘  and a poem which finishes with a stanza saying Despite perfect eyesight/ my dream is a pair of specs I could look out over and be serious.

There are two poems which I have read so many times that I can not wait for you to read them, and these are ‘Mother Tongue‘ by Doireann Ní Ghríofa, which is just stunning language and ‘Tennessee Whiskey‘ by David J. Doyle, probably my favourite poem in the journal, an intriguing poem about the taste of whiskey reminding the poet of his homeland. I haven’t forgotten how you taste, Tennessee./ But that’s the thing about sour mash whiskey/ it takes an old batch to start a new one.

Each poet and prose writer offers the readers plenty of  perfect feeling and nostalgic moments. There is a lot of excellent writing to be enjoyed aswell as some stunning art and photography including a gorgeous if eerie photo called ‘Carrying Self‘ by Joe O’Brien.

The annual ROPES team through hard work always deliver a quality publication that must be added to any readers collection, and this year I believe to be one of the best and most enjoyable I have read. Be sure to buy a copy and remember that all proceeds go towards Jigsaw Galway which is a fantastic and important foundation.

The book will retail from 10 euros and you can purchase it by going here. The launch will take place on Friday the 26th of April in the Jigsaw/Fairgreen Building at 5pm and will be launched by local and brilliant poet Sarah Clancy, admission is free. Show your support, grab a copy, it is totally worth it, full of amazing writing and art from contributors from all parts of the globe.