Book Review: Session by Pete MullineauxRecently I attended the 2012 Over the Edge Poetry book Showcase in Galway with the hope of discovering some new poets I haven’t heard before and purchasing a few books for my collection. It was a successful night and luckily I found some excellent poets I wanted to read.

One such writer is Pete Mullineax, a Galway based writer who captured my ear with his readings from his poetry book ‘Session’ that I found myself crying out in my head “Pete Mullieaux-where have you been all my life” and I sincerely mean this in context that Pete has been living in Galway a long time, yet I have never crossed his path, must be a large rock I’ve been slouching under.

Session, brought out by Salmon Poetry in 2011 is a beautiful magical book, soaked in waves of musical imagery and sound. In a time when a lot of contemporary writers are concentrating on letting us know how crap life really is, it is a pleasure and relief to read a poetry book that transports us to the beauty and magic of music, nature and every day life, written with impeccable craftsmanship, a delight on the ear and begs to be read out loud.

“All materials are alive” is the first line in the poem “A Slow Start To The Set” and Pete manages to bring this statement alive through his words throughout the book. The poems are full of images of Irish traditional music, of Pete himself, learning or playing the fiddle. Energy frantically shakes these poems off the page. Song and lyric engage the reader with humor, reminisce, narrative, the love of the natural world through dogs and spiders.

The poem “A Piper Prepares” is a roller coaster of words, racing down the page, describing the addiction of a musician, a piper, dazzling us with striking imagery. The first line of this poem totally entrapped me in the music

‘It’s almost like shooting up, a similar ritual
as he tightens the strap around the forearm
so the veins appear, familiar old scores. Next,
a shard of cloth at the elbow for comfort…’

Brilliant stuff and just a taste of the imaginative and intelligent poetry waiting to be discovered in ‘Session’. The title of this book “Session” is a word used to describe informal gatherings featuring traditional Irish music, and it certainly rings true right through this book.

I found reading these poems could easily change your mood, drag out all different types of emotions, tenderise the heart, put a smile on the face and make you laugh, a triumph for modern Irish poetry, a great find, now I must attend more book showcases like this as it really pays off.

Where To Find It?

Be sure to check out your local book store , you can also find it on the Salmon Poetry Website and check out the books available at Amazon.  Or if you know me, feel free to borrow.

About The Author:

Pete Mullineaux is originally from Bristol. In London in the 1980s he was a noted performer on the poetry and music scenes, appearing at major events like Glastonbury and national CND protests alongside such luminaries as E.P. Thompson and The Pogues. Since 1991 he has settled in Galway, where he works as an artist and is involved in a variety of educational projects. His plays have been produced in Galway, London and on RTE radio. Published throughout Ireland, UK, France and the USA, his debut full poetry collection, A Father’s Day, appeared from Salmon in 2008.