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This article is taken from PN Review 105, Volume 22 Number 1, September - October 1995.

Offshore Investments Justin Quinn

The first poem that I had published appeared in the Saturday edition of The Irish Times some years ago. Knowing the ratio of submissions to the number the literary editor prints (about one a month), I hardly expected that they would take something and was very surprised when they did. Up to that point my writing was something about which only close family and a few college friends knew. Then over the weeks following that first publication acquaintances, distant cousins, old flames from my teens would tell me that they had seen it in the papers.

It was a thrilling Saturday. It was interesting to hear the reactions to the tricky six-liner. I remember writing it and trying to express my intentions (the fallacies apart) as clearly as possible. Then, when it was published most people said that they couldn't work it out. A few people did respond to what I was trying to say: but still, the experience of seeing puzzlement in the faces of so many people whom I had known for years was more instructive than any workshop. I wasn't really proud of this obscurity (although it would have let me off the hook if I had reacted arrogantly to thetr baffiement). I had wrtten the poem in the hope that it would be read by friends, or people like my friends, and that I would entertain them, involve thetr imaginations in ways they hadn't bargained for. It was clear on that Saturday that ...


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