Blue Lamp Disco

Martin Mooney

About the book…

The poems in Blue Lamp Disco, Martin Mooney’s third collection, range widely in subject matter, from the kung fu movies and wasteground games of a 1970s Ulster childhood, to the skatepunks and pipe-bombers of the new, post-ceasefire society. This is poetry that draws its energies from vernacular speech and popular culture, and responds to that culture with an unblinkered sympathy, bringing an intent poetic imagination to bear on the matter and the language of a common but all-too-rarely explored life. But Blue Lamp Disco, like Mooney’s earlier collections, also inhabits other worlds, attending to Neanderthal funerals and Aztec carvings as well as country and western music and punishment beatings. The collection extends the investigation of its central themes-the body as fragile yet tenacious public presence, the poetic potential of the ordinary-far beyond the contemporary Northern Irish predicament, which is nevertheless refracted in the right here, right now of these new poems.

Photo of the author, Martin Mooney

About the author…

Martin Mooney was born in Belfast and has worked as a civil servant, creative writing teacher, arts administrator and publican. As well as poetry, he has published short fiction, reviews, critical articles and cultural commentary in Irish and British periodicals.

Mooney has published four collections of poetry. Grub (1993) was shortlisted for the Rooney Prize for Irish literature, and won the 1994 Brendan Behan Memorial Award. Grub was followed by Rasputin and his Children (2000) and Blue Lamp Disco (2003). Mooney's fourth collection, The Resurrection of the Body at Killysuggen, was published in 2011 by Lagan Press.

Sinead Morrisey has written ‘Mooney has the ability to forge a language unique to the subject matter of particular poems … Gritty, disturbing, often uncomfortable, terse, controlled, aggressive, lyrical, ... at his best, [he] extends the boundaries of what is and is not appropriate subject matter for poetry.’

Martin Mooney has collaborated with visual artists on a number of site-specific projects, and with composer Ian Wilson on ‘Near the Western Necropolis’ for mezzo soprano and chamber orchestra. He has also adapted texts by Shakespeare, Sheridan and Ionescu for physical theatre companies in the north of Ireland.

An interest in found poems and poetry in the built environment has found an outlet in collaboration with sculptor Louise Walsh at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital, and in texts inscribed on glazed surfaces in the restored Ulster Hall.

Mooney occasionally blogs at and in summer 2011, Mooney was guest poet on Slugger O’Toole.