Eileen Aronson Ireland’s First Book of Poems

July 10, 2020

In 1972, Paul Vangelisti and John McBride decided to publish a book of poems by John Thomas, who had initially surfaced as a poet in the Venice West scene shortly after the publication of the Lawrence Lipton’s The Holy Barbarians. Thomas had originally hitchhiked to the West Coast with the intention of living in San Francisco, but the ride he caught was headed to Los Angeles, and so he decided to visit Venice. Thomas did not have a very high opinion of Lipton’s book, but fortunately he found the poets who were used as Lipton’s models of contemporary bohemian life (circa 1957-1959) to be more than worth spending time with. Thomas was primarily responsible for starting a poetry workshop in Venice, which included another recent arrival in Venice, Eileen Aronson Ireland.

Ireland became friends with several of the poets who made up the Venice West community, and went on provide the epigraph for the first poem in John Thomas’s eponymous Red Hill collection. According to Eileen Ireland, the epigraph was taken from a passage in a letter she wrote him.

“it is snail today about
4 whorls in the ice on the
Arctic floe southerly”
— Eileen Ireland

Almost a half-century later, it is Eileen’s turn to have her first book of poems published. IF SF Publishing is proud to announce the publication of SPOKEN FLARES, SUNG BEACONS: Selected Poems and Lyrics. The cover photograph of the Venice boardwalk is by poet and photographer Rod Bradley. The publisher and the author thank him for its use.

The book will be available from SPD: spdbooks.org.

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