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Butterflies of a Bad Summer

Karl Parkinson

ISBN: 978-1-910669-51-8

Page Count: 54

Publication Date: Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Cover Artwork: Olger Diekstra Photography –

Click to play movie "Love Letter to Reinaldo Arenas" read by Karl Parkinson play

About this Book

Karl Parkinson’s poems tease music from the rhythms of everyday life, and sing, like Whitman, the song of self. But in Butterflies of a Bad Summer, self admits a multitude: we orbit the supernovas of doomed artists like Corso, Selby Jnr., Bukowski, and Arenas, and sample with them the exquisite taste of dirt and immortality. We climb the highest peaks to stand alongside Simeon Stylites, before swooping back to Dublin to catch a glimpse of Burroughs in a Temple Bar café. These poems remind us of the transcendent potential of the artist; something bright to cling to in a dark world.
Jessica Traynor, Liffey Swim (Dedalus Press)

Butterflies of a Bad Summer is a great surrender to the beauty of the bodily world. It is an antidote to the age of celebrity, austerity and small mindedness. The poet who speaks in these poems lives, kisses, screws, ignores, drinks, argues with, caresses and dies with a crowd of broken visionaries who populate a universe drunk on the pleasures of being. Lorca, Bukowski, Kerouac, Kahlo, Blake and many more all join in Parkinson’s joyful elegies. In the true Whitmanian tradition, this is a vivid Dublin-based poetry which shouts out in delicate, tensile language at a world that has forgotten how to dream. Karl Parkinson is a talented collector of life's evanescent moments of clarity.  
Graham Allen, The One That Got Away, The Mad House System (New Binary Press) 

Parkinson has set himself up unashamedly and without irony as a singer of the human soul in its contrary states of degradation and exaltation. It’s worth listening to him.  
The Irish Times

Author Biography

Karl Parkinson is a writer from inner-city Dublin. Butterflies of a Bad Summer is his second collection of poetry. The Blocks his début novel was published in 2016 by New Binary Press to rave reviews. In 2013 Wurmpress published his début poetry collection, Litany of the City and Other Poems. His work has appeared in the anthologies, New Planet Cabaret (New Island Press) and If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song (Dedalus Press), as well as in several journals, including The Stinging Fly, The Poetry Bus, Penduline, Colony, Can Can, The Pickled Body, The Bohemyth, The Incubator, Revival and Wordlegs.
Karl is one of Ireland’s most acclaimed live literature performers and has read by invitation at festivals and events in Ireland, the UK, the US and Canada. His work has been broadcast on RTE1’s Arena Arts show many times. In 2015, he featured on the Setanta Ireland live TV New Year’s Eve show. Karl is also one half of the spoken word/electro music duo, The King Mob, and a creative writing workshop and course leader, teaching in schools, festivals, youth clubs and adult learning centres in Ireland.  
He is a facilitating editor and regular contributor for Irelands leading alt-lit, multi-media online hub,     @kparkspoet

Read a sample from this book

Gregory Corso’s Suit
for Stephen Murray

“Man, look at my suit,”
says Gregory to the crowd.

The crowd applauds the whiteness,
the poet in his drapery of romance,
a poor clown in an expensive suit,
dancing for the biography’s page.

A fortnight later, ruined.
Blood stained, vomit splashed.

Ah, poor suit, paid for with books of poetry,
you tattered and debauched thing,
slept in, creased, greyed in tone.

“Man, look at my suit,”
says Gregory to the crowd,

before grabbing a poetess’s ass
and being shoved into a filthy canal.

“Man, look at my suit,”
says Gregory to the crowd,

looking every inch the grand poet clown
and prince of the tombs that he was.
Unkempt and greasy, starving, and pissed
in a handmade Italian suit that was as beautiful as a slug.

Kabir Says

I was born to weave, so I weave,
I speak not on scripture, I sing,
no Muhammad plucks my strings,
no Rama, nor Ganesh plays my flute,
only the beloved's melody is here.

I live with the butchers, traders, 
down in the bad end of town, 
I sit it the market place, I kiss
the dirt, not a crown.  

I don't bother with books, I write 
nothing down, I just sit here and laugh,
when they ask about God. My eyes are
enough, no point talking to those who
can’t see their self in the mirror. 

When the Hindus and Muslims come
for my body, it won't be found,
only jasmines will be there, and still
they will split them and hoard them
instead of sharing them around.  

Melville In The Mist

For 19 years
& $4 a day,
he worked as the only honest man in the New York 
customs house, writing unread poetry.

His reputation as a writer sunk by the whale,
his two sons in the grave,
depression, drink and madness,
assailed his spirit, and still he wrote on.

Pulled through by his wife 
and dead relatives’ money, he had a quiet death,
left a trunk filled with books and his name and rep
rose up from the depths to claim the critics’ brains.

I turn to the mirror now and look: is that Melville's 
mystic thinker’s whale’s mist blowing from my crown? 


Interview: Karl Parkinson interviewed on RTE Radio 1's "Arena" arts programme. 

Listen to the interview here>>>>

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