Since no public funding is available, we must publish this tribute through a subscription model.We call on admirers of Philip Casey to consider donating to the PayPal donate link (above right - PHONE USERS - please click on "view web version" at the bottom of this post and you'll see the yellow button).* All subscribers' names will be listed on a page in the anthology* Funds raised will be used solely towards the purposes and costs of this anthology* Any sum can be donated, and will be kept confidential by the publisher
Distant Summers: Remembering Philip Casey, Writer, Fabulist, Friend is a kaleidoscopic cornucopia of prose and poetry from writers, friends and family members of Philip Casey (1950‒2018). A tribute to one of Ireland’s great literary talents, the many contributors, including Sebastian Barry, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Dermot Bolger, Nessa O'Mahony, Moya Cannon, Joseph Woods, Mary O’Malley and Thomas Lynch, praise Philip’s gifts as a writer of poetry and fiction, as well as highlighting their admiration for him as an individual. “One of our most beloved contemporary poets”, is how former Ireland Professor of Poetry Paula Meehan describes Philip. Cherished by many for his tenderness, fortitude, hope and tenacity, he was an award-winning novelist, admired poet and vital presence on the Irish literary scene for over four decades. Philip battled repeated health challenges, stood up for causes he believed in, and relished making mischief. He was, in the words of the poet Theo Dorgan, “some man for one man”. Philip believed in the idea of a community of writers, and his open-mindedness drew others towards him ‒ whether to his Dublin home, or to his grassroots support base in his earlier home of Hollyfort, Co Wexford. His booming laugh and powerful handshake were legendary.
Philip Casey started out as a poet in his native County Wexford where his earliest work was published by James Liddy in the Gorey Arts Centre broadsheets. He went on to publish four collections of poetry with Raven Arts Press and New Island: Those Distant Summers, After Thunder, The Year of the Knife, and Dialogue in Fading Light. These were later brought together in his last volume of poetry, Tried and Sentenced: Selected Poems. Michael Hartnett noted that “Things that please me in poetry are precision, compassion and images that surpass the common run of language; also that the poet must have an ear for language as a musician has an ear for music” ‒ all wonders he found in Philip’s poetry. Philip wrote a suite of novels which he called the Bann River Trilogy ‒ The Fabulists, The Water Star and The Fisher Child ‒ the first of which won the inaugural Listowel Writers’ Week Novel of the Year Award in 1995. Colm Tóibín called it “a stunningly truthful and perfectly pitched novel.” Philip also published The Coupla, a novel for children based on Irish folklore, prompted by a request from his niece, Iseult. Alongside a selection of Philip's work, the anthology also includes a detailed bibliography of his published work and unpublished prose. A pioneer in digital media, Philip founded IrishWritersOnline long before such online resources were widely available. It was a platform he, with fellow poet Patrick Chapman, ran voluntarily for years. A long-serving member of Aosdána, he supported his fellow writers unstintingly, turning up at launches with his signature blue and yellow crutches, and writing thoughtful reviews.
Gorey launch, Gorey Library, 9 January 2024
Dublin launch, Books Upstairs, 11 January 2024