Kerry Dancers

Kerry Dancers is a very personal collection, focused on my family background and experiences growing up as a first-generation Irish-American in South Boston. There I went regularly to the Irish County Clubs where I absorbed the music, rhythm, dance, and stories. In the book you’ll hear many stories about my Da, several others about Ma and my siblings, and a special tribute to my Aunt Nora who presided over the St. Patrick’s day celebrations since her home was right near the parade route. One poem tells a true story about the time that my father walked out from the parade crowd to shake the hand of the infamous and well-loved Mayor James Michael Curley who won his reelection from jail. I still have my mother’s copy of The Purple Shamrock which was given to her by James Michael himself.

“Curtin’s Kerry Dancers steps into and out of family memory, “picking at scabs / so the blood comes through, shared” (“Family”). Through internal rhyme, similes, and his masterly control of language, Curtin balances lyric with everyday speech and “bends remembrance to love” (“Da”). Love is a heartbeat keeping time throughout the book. We, as readers, feel that bond, want to be caught in the ballad, the hornpipe, the reel—want to be pulled into the dance.”

–Susan Roney-O’Brien, educator and poet; author of Thira, Bone Circle, and several other poetry collections

Chasing Dreams to American Shores

Musicians from Worcester’s Pakachoag Music School provide fiddle music to accompany Curt Curtin’s reading of selected poems from Kerry Dancers. Though the collection focuses on Curt’s Irish-American heritage, it is a more generic immigrant’s tale dedicated to “immigrants from around the world who chased their dreams to the American shores.”

Copies of Kerry Dancers are available at independent bookstores including:

  • Annie’s Book Stop (Worcester)
  • Bedlam Books (Worcester)
  • Tidepool Books (Worcester)
  • Booklover’s Gourmet (Webster)
  • The Book Loft (G.Barrington)

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