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About this poet

James Joyce was born on February 2, 1882, in Dublin, Ireland. He attended Clongowes Wood College and Belvedere College, and he received a BA from the Royal University in Dublin.

In 1904 Joyce left Dublin with Nora Barnacle; the couple had two children and eventually married in 1931. From 1904 to 1905, they lived in Pola, Austria-Hungary, where Joyce published his first literary work, the satirical poem “The Holy Office.” They went on to live in Trieste, Zurich, and Paris, returning to Ireland only rarely.

Joyce published his first book of poetry, Chamber Music (Elkin Matthews), in 1907. He is also the author of the poetry collection Pomes Penyeach (Shakespeare and Company, 1927). In 1936 The Black Sun Press published Joyce’s Collected Poems, which included the poems from his previous two collections alongside the poem “Ecce Puer,” written in 1932.

A review, sometimes attributed to T. S. Eliot, of Chamber Music in The Egoist reads, “Mr. Joyce is probably something of a musician; it is lyric verse, and good lyric verse is very rare. It will be called ‘fragile,’ but it is substantial, with a great deal of thought behind fine workmanship.”

Joyce is best known for his works of fiction, including Ulysses (Shakespeare and Company, 1922), the focus of several incendiary literary controversies; Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (B. W. Huebsch, 1916); and Dubliners (Grant Richards, 1914). He also published Exiles: A Play in Three Acts (Grant Richards, 1918). Together, his works represent a major contribution to avant-garde modernism and to twentieth-century English literature.

Joyce suffered from a series of ocular illnesses, and he spent periods of his later life partially or totally blind. He died of complications from an intestinal surgery on January 13, 1941, in Zurich, Switzerland.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry
Collected Poems (The Black Sun Press, 1936)
Pomes Penyeach (Shakespeare and Company, 1927)
Chamber Music (Elkin Matthews, 1907)

Prose
Finnegan’s Wake (Faber & Faber, 1939)
Ulysses (Shakespeare and Company, 1922)
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (B. W. Huebsch, 1916)
Dubliners (Grant Richards, 1914)

The Dead [excerpt]

Gabriel Conroy reflects on his wife's former lover, Michael Furey.

The air of the room chilled his shoulders. He stretched himself cautiously along under the sheets and lay down beside his wife. One by one they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age. He thought of how she who lay beside him had locked in her heart for so many years that image of her lover's eyes when he had told her that he did not wish to live.

Generous tears filled Gabriel's eyes. He had never felt like that himself towards any woman, but he knew that such a feeling must be love. The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree. Other forms were near. His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself, which these dead had one time reared and lived in, was dissolving and dwindling.

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

James Joyce

James Joyce was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1882. A major figure in avant-garde modernism and twentieth-century English literature, he is the author of Collected Poems (The Black Sun Press, 1936) and Ulysses (Shakespeare and Company, 1922), among others.

by this poet

poem

Gold-brown upon the sated flood
The rock-vine clusters lift and sway:
Vast wings above the lambent waters brood
Of sullen day.

A waste of waters ruthlessly
Sways and uplifts its weedy mane,
Where brooding day stares down upon the sea
In dull disdain.

Uplift and

poem
I hear an army charging upon the land,   
  And the thunder of horses plunging, foam about their knees:   
Arrogant, in black armour, behind them stand,   
  Disdaining the reins, with fluttering whips, the charioteers.   
   
They cry unto the night their battle-name:        
  I moan in sleep when I hear afar
poem

Molly Bloom's closing soliloquy

...and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him