At it Again: Blowing up Bloomsday!

And now a word from those delightful Dublin dynamitards, the “At It Again!” gang, who are scheming early for Bloomsday 2014. — SC

Blowing Up Bloomsday1At it Again! have applied for the Arthur Guinness Projects and need your help! Please vote for our project “Blowing up Bloomsday!”

Imagine Bloomsday as a fantastic Mardi Gras-like street carnival. Imagine giant cyclops, huge bowler hats, floating kisses and Edwardian zombies romping through James Joyce’s Dublin and beyond. Let’s make Bloomsday even bigger! We can do it with your help.

If we get funding, we will use it to help grow Bloomsday, develop our Bloomsday Survival Kit and little brown book “Romping through Dublin” and to bring Ulysses to new audiences around the world through our fun, interactive events. Help us bring our Rocky Horror meets James Joyce interactive film screening of Ulysses to America.

Please vote for us online today. It takes 2 minutes to register, and then you can vote just the once, or go mad and vote daily until the closing date of 23rd August.

Thank you!

At It Again!

A Galley of Proof: “Master Poldy” Unbound

For your perusing pleasure, here is a single page proof from ‘The Works of Master Poldy’ (Salvage Press, 2013), inspired by James Joyce’s Ulysses. Sift through some of the many Ulysses strands from Leopold Bloom we’ve collected into the new book. See any favorites? Hope so. And very special honors to the first who catches that typo rogue.

To glimpse the final letterpress book, and perchance to purchase your own, visit this luscious site:


Leopold Bloom’s Newspaper: Front Page Ads


A stroll through Leopold Bloom’s Dublin via the front page of the 16 June 1904 issue of The Freeman’s Journal and National Press, which was entirely advertisements, primarily “Prepaid” (i.e., classified ads).

Gentleman desires Room and Board with a private family (English); no other boarders; Dalkey, Kingstown, Bray; terms moderate; outskirts of above preferred.

IMPORTANT. Lace Curtains are now very carefully cleaned and finished with our New Dust resisting process. By this System they keep clean longer than if done in the old way. Prescott’s Dye Works. Carriage Paid One Way.

FOUND. Hair Ornament at Mansion House Ball, Thursday, 9th; owner can have same by giving description and paying advertisement.

SPECIFIC ARTICLES WANTED. Old Pictures of General George Washington wanted, also other notable American Personages; highest prices paid; send name of engraver and publisher on picture; state price.

CYCLES FOR SALE. Assured Health and Happiness to the Workers; Raglan Cycles and all leading makes. M’Hugh’s, 35 Talbot street.

Parrot, with warranty for talking, only 11s 6d; bargain; month’s trial at my risk.

DENTISTRY, ETC. Mr. Henry J. Bradlaw, Surgeon Dentist, Ltd.; fillings from 2s 6d; gold, 10s 6d; extractions with cocaine, 2s 6d; perfectly painless extractions with gas, 5s. 78 Harcourt street.

HORSES AND VEHICLES FOR SALE. Glass Hearse for Sale; low price.

Horses for Sale, good workers in saddle and harness; nice Cobs and Ponies; promising young Horses.

Outside Car for Sale, newly painted.

Lady desires Board with R.C. family in Dublin.

Lodgings, suit business Girl, 2s 6d weekly; also a vacancy for little girl boarder; would have comfortable home and be well looked after.

Nursery Governess, Protestant, wanted for three children; must have good appearance, manner, and accent.

Evening Employment, addressing envelopes, etc. (either sex), anywhere.

First-Class Dressmaker, R.C., wanted immediately; must cut and fit perfectly.

Two Guineas Every Week offered by The Weekly Freeman for Best Short Story of About Four Thousand Words.

A Video Tour Inside ‘The Works of Master Poldy’

Inspired by James Joyce’s Ulysses — and especially Molly Bloom — ‘The Works of Master Poldy’ is a limited edition letterpress fine art book published in Dublin for Bloomsday 2013. In this 10-minute video designer Jamie Murphy and editor Steve Cole take you on a tour of ‘Master Poldy’ from the Distillers Press, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, where the book was printed.

“The Works of Master Poldy” is the first imprint of The Salvage Press. For more information visit:

James Joyce Lost on Sandymount Strand?

MINIThere is a sculpture dedicated to James Joyce at the northern end of Sandymount Strand (see photo at left) that does not appear on maps of Joyce’s Dublin. It received no mention in the recent Bloomsday celebrations. And it is nearly nonexistent to the all-seeing eye of Google.

On a trip to Dublin for Bloomsday 2012 I walked to Sandymount Strand from the city through Sean Moore Park and was struck by a tall rough-hewn stone pillar where the grass field gives way to beach sand. I saw nothing identifying the sculpture, which resembled a massive single open quotation mark. Was this obelisk erected to mark the spot very nearby where Leopold Bloom stopped to enjoy a particular seaside girl on June 16, 1904? Or was it a protest by a typographic trade union of Joyce’s expulsion of quotation marks from his fiction?

I left Dublin without an answer.

But on June 10 this year during the Joyce Bus Tour sponsored by the James Joyce Centre, James Quin gave me an answer. He said the stone pillar was the work of Irish sculptor Cliodna Cussen and it had a name: “A Sundial for James Joyce.”

I returned to Sandymount Strand this Bloomsday morning as part of my celebratory peregrinations and revisited the stone. To my surprise it had a squat companion marker a few yards away that I had somehow overlooked a year before. These words are carved on the marker: ‘AN GALLÁN GRÉINE do JAMES JOYCE’ – which literally translates as ‘a solar pillar for James Joyce.’

A web search, however, turned up very little about Cussen and this Joyce sculpture. A scholarly article noted that it was dedicated on Dec. 16, 1983, as part of a project to mark the location of the rising sun on the winter solstice. (See “Time of Solstice Sandymount Strand, Dublin: Twentieth-Century Stonehenge,” Rosangela Barone, James Joyce Quarterly, Spring 1985.) This post and the photos accompanying are here to raise the profile of this striking feature on Dublin’s Joycean landscape.

But the mystery remains as to why this tribute to Joyce is so little recognized today. Has it just been lost in a city strewn with history and tributes and markers? Or is the sundial another example of Ireland’s somewhat estranged relationship with its most famous runaway son? – Steve Cole

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Here Lies Paddy Dignam: Glasnevin Cemetery

Spent a wonderful quiet morning this past Bloomsday Week traipsing alone through Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery, where James Joyce famously buried Paddy Dignam in Ulysses. A beautiful sprawling labyrinth it is. — Steve Cole

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Gleaning Leopold Bloom from ‘Ulysses’

From the Afterword of The Works of Master Poldy, published this month by The Salvage Press, Dublin.


Assembling “The Works of Master Poldy” out of the single day James Joyce gives us in Ulysses of Leopold Bloom’s life begins with scavenging. Molly Bloom, who conceived of this book and this book title, would have had years of quips and quirks from her “Poldy” to chose from if she had attempted this book. So you take a slow, careful walk along the streambed and shoreline of the book searching for Bloom, bending low to pick up the bits of color and curve and consciousness that Joyce scattered across 13 chapters.

The words of “Master Poldy” that fill your cupped hands are a mosaic riot. Joyce gives us very few of his hero’s spoken words, despite Bloom’s reputation as an incessant talker. There are shards of thoughts, strings of observations, and reflections of Bloom from various narrative mirrors that he is not even aware of.

The world of “Master Poldy” that shines through this chaos reveals a man – every man – in full. All these gleanings together are Bloom. So every fragment I could fit is here that shone any light on him. The fragments are strung together in free-flowing association, ignoring their original order in Ulysses, to form a new representation of Bloom that is beyond or above Joyce’s own handiwork.

The canvas we chose for this new portrait is the largest available in a printed book: the spread, the two facing pages that your eyes take in all at once. Our medium: pure typography, letters liberated from the uniformity imposed by mass production and now by ebook efficiency. Through Jamie Murphy’s imaginative design the reader of “Master Poldy” encounters for the first time a new relationship with the printed world.

Each of the 12 page spreads in the book presents a different view of Bloom in his world. He appears on one side as a poem-like stream alone, his voice rendered in quiet human-scale type. On the facing page is the big blaring world, a passage from Ulysses not necessarily of Bloom but evocative of what is streaming through him on the facing page.

“The Works of Master Poldy” is my tribute to the liberating vision of Ulysses, the heroic aliveness of Leopold Bloom, and the beauty of print culture.

– Stephen Cole, editor


Your Bloomsday Playlist (version 1.0)

Cream: Brave UlyssesWhat modern tunes come to mind when you think of James Joyce’s Ulysses? We crowdsourced that question on Facebook and Twitter and got a great and varied response – not surprising when you consider the wide range of moods, ideas, and characters in Ulysses. Below in no particular order is version 1.0. We plan to post playlist version 2.0 on Bloomsday based on your comments. Let us hear from you!

Radiohead: How to Disappear Completely

The Beatles: A Day in the Life

The Smiths: Oscillate Wildly

Syd Barrett: Goldenhair

Tom Waits: Long Way Home

The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour

Boomtown Rats: Rat Trap

Kylie Minogue: Can’t Get You Out of My Head

U2: Beautiful Day

Franz Ferdinand: Ulysses

David Bowie: Fantastic Voyage

U2: Breathe

Led Zeppelin: Ramble On

Bob Marley: Natty Dread

Cream: Tales of Brave Ulysses

A Book for Leopold Bloom: Work In Progress

A book is being born in Dublin. Watch as “The Works of Master Poldy,” inspired by James Joyce’s Ulysses, takes shape on the printing presses at the National College of Art and Design’s Distillers Press at the hands of Jamie Murphy.

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The printing, started in April, is nearly complete, then its off to the binders. The finished book is due this June from The Salvage Press, Dublin.

‘Master Poldy’ Fundraiser Complete: On with the Book!

Early this morning, Saturday, May 4, the curtain came down on our six-week Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for “The Works of Master Poldy,” the new limited edition letterpress book inspired by James Joyce’s Ulysses.

We raised nearly $10,000 (7449€) for Jamie Murphy of The Salvage Press Dublin to publish the artist’s book by Bloomsday of this year. Ninety-five individual contributions came in that boosted the campaign to 67% of our goal.

Jamie and I send out a HUGE thank you to everyone who supported the project to this stage. We will continue to post updates on the project and photos of progress being made on “Master Poldy” on our Indiegogo project website.

In other news about the project, we’re proud to announce that on June 6 an exhibition of “The Works of Master Poldy” will open at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. The exhibit will include spreads from the book along with the book itself and some of the type and tools used in creating it at The Distillers Press, National College of Art and Design. An opening reception is planned for 6.30 pm. — Steve Cole, Baltimore

MURPHYCOLEsmallJamie Murphy and Steve Cole