This web site was launched at the close of March and opening of April, 2009. Because the Literary Arts page consists originally of Irish oriented stories, including the below references to the theatrical boxing exhibition at the 2008 Minnesota Irish Fair, it feels appropriate to mark the transition away from Irish month and into a celebration of April as U.S. National Poetry Month with a mention of Literary Pugilist Ulick O’Connor.
Ulick O’Connor was born in 1928 in Dublin, Ireland, educated in University College, Dublin and Loyola University, New Orleans, LA. Besides being a writer of poetry and plays, a biographer, a historian and a lawyer, he also is an accomplished boxer who won the British University Welterweight Championship in 1950. The first book I recommend is “The Troubles: Ireland 1912 – 1922”. It was originally published as “A History of Ireland 1912 – 1922”. His poetry collections include “Lifestyles” (1973), “Three Noh Plays” (1980), “All Things Counter” (1986), and “One Is Animate” (1990), as well as a translation of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal”, with an introduction by Michel Deon of the Academie Francaise. He authored at least 10 plays, along with biographies of IRA novelist Brendan Behan and Oliver St. John Gogarty. Although I don’t believe us to be directly related, the O wasn’t dropped from my own name till my Great Grandfather’s Grandfather was in Pennsylvania, so I recommend Ulick both as my namesake and as a boxing brother.
Another book I’d like to share with you is “This Won’t Hurt A Bit” by Tim Sheard. I met Sheard in August, 2007 at the biennial National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) Delegates Assembly at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. I was there as a delegate for the Twin Cities Chapter, and he for the New York Chapter. I saw him again that December while making a pre-Christmas visit to a great friend of mine in Manhattan. Tim came into the city from Brooklyn to sit with me over a cup of coffee so I could buy this novel, as well as a sequel, “Some Cuts Never Heal”. I read this one and gave the other as a gift to my mother for Christmas. They are part of the Lenny Moss mystery series. But the reason I bring them up to Boxers and Writers Magazine readers is because of the faithful Lieutenant to mystery solver Lenny Moss, a former boxer named Moose Lennox.
Moose Lennox is a Philadelphia hospital employee who helps Moss—a Custodian and Union Shop Steward who always supports his fellow workers—solve the strange case of a murdered doctor found among the cadavers by medical students in a dissecting class. He uses the energy and determination of a boxer to push the reluctant hero through danger and pain to find the real killer and free their co-worker who they know has been wrongfully accused and waits in jail for salvation. The journey takes the reader through the various sections of the hospital while revealing the multicultural mosaic of characters—from a highly educated Russian immigrant stuck with Lenny in the low paying janitor’s job to a devout African American Christian woman praying for Lenny’s and Moose’s safety, and a vast array of others—populating this novel the way people of all backgrounds occupy a boxing gym. The novel and the entire Lenny Moss series can be purchased at www.timsheard.com.
I wrote an entire review of the novel called “Boxer is Pleasure of Novel ‘This Won’t Hurt a Bit'” on the Blog section of this site.
I can’t forget a special book of poetry published in December 2007 that I’d like to share with you. It is “Lane Changes” by David Lawrence, published by Four Way Books. I interviewed him at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, New York, where he teaches boxing to enthusiasts. A former literature professor at Hunter College, he began boxing in his mid thirties because his wife insisted he needed a safer hobby than riding motorcycles. He considers himself the first White Collar Boxer, and he turned professional in his forties, compiling a record of 4 wins and 2 losses, all by knockout. Lane Changes is an excellent read and I strongly recommend it. To learn more or purchase this book, click Lane Changes.
I wrote a full review of the book along with a profile of David Lawrence on the blog page of Boxers and Writers Magazine titled “David Lawrence is a Man of Words.”
David Lawrence’s wife, Lauren Lawrence, is also an author, having penned a book exploring the dreams of celebrities called Private Dreams of Public People with a forward by Larry King. To learn more or purchase this book, click Private Dreams of Public People.