Moloney King Reviews – Performances in All Directions by Julie Morrissy

Reviewed by editor Michelle Moloney King

Published by Pizza, Poetry, Pub in November 2020 this is a playful colouring book (of visual poetic imagery) that your inner child will devour while your reading mind can relish the prose, poetry, and learning journey of performing the poetics of movement.

The physicality of Performances in All Directions invites the reader to engage with it, flirt a bit, to run hands over its colourful, glossy and sometimes slippy pages as if a child playing with new neon pink slime. You’ll want to climb the stairs of its spiral spine and just stare at the colourful picture of holidays, memories, travel tickets, and loved ones. These pictures become more than just images capturing light data and transcend into visual poetics by making space for a new language within the confines of a book.

Handling this book creates a performance of movement with this gloss, spine, short pages hidden beside regular size pages. Bliss.

Now that we are done with the AMSR aspects of this book let’s delve into its guts: performance. yes, performance again, Dr Julie Morrissy, (poet, academic, critic, with literature and the law as separate degrees,) investigates creativity, publishing and performance and can be summed up with this quote from the book (via a two page spread with a pink line moving across the page,) “I wanted to engage with performance as a way to move my poetry in a move wayward fashion.”

The foundations of Performances in All Directions is a public lecture and performance in the What is Creativity? series at University College Dublin, images with visual poetic vibes, and a prefatory poem.

Morrissy shares a quote from Questlove, drummer from The Roots on being stuck and creative – I wish someone had shared this with me years ago. Morrissy shares her inspiration from visual art, critical theory, and contemporary poetry. The images dispersed throughout this book act as a type of field note or visual poems of research trips relevant to her past – her grandmother which shares some of the inspiration behind her work – family, legacy, Ireland, and access.

Performances in All Directions is a gem for poets longing a movement in experimentation, insights, and behind the scenes. Other works from Morrissy include “Certain Individual Women” an award-winning project that responds to inherent gender inequality in Irish law and society.

There are so many influences here and it all ties neatly into messy poetics of performance. Performances in All Directions is bloody refreshing as an art book / poetic object / How to Write Poetry book with knowledge, hopes, goals, and a poet’s journey to expansion. As it’s limited edition I’d recommend you buy a copy now from

Author Julie Morrissy, Design, layout, and typesetting; Emma Conway.

Book Details: Software, wire bound, 34 pp, A5, colour, limited edition. Buy this book from the authors website and – Dublin Art Book Fair 2020 and The Library Project, Dublin.

About the Author

Dr Julie Morrissy is an Irish poet, academic, critic, and activist. She is the inaugural John Pollard Newman Fellow in Creativity at University College Dublin, and the first Poet-in-Residence at the National Library of Ireland. Her collaborative, mixed-media poetry practice includes film, animation, moving image, experimental publishing, and live performance.

Her work is published and broadcast internationally, and was exhibited in the TULCA Festival of Visual Arts, 2020. Her first collection Where, the Mile End (2019) is published by Book*hug (Canada) and tall-lighthouse (UK). She is a recipient of the MAKE Theatre Residency Award 2021, the ‘Next Generation’ Artist Award from the Arts Council, and she has been awarded residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig and The Writer’s Room at The Betsy, Miami. Her debut poetry pamphlet I Am Where was shortlisted for Best Poetry Pamphlet in the Saboteur Awards 2016. She hosts a sporadic reading series in her home called Pizza, Poetry, Pub, which has featured poets sam sax, Erin Robinsong, and Eamon McGuinness. She also writes about art and is the commissioned writer for FILE NOTE IV, Fire Station Artists Studios’ annual publication, and she is a regular reviewer for Poetry Ireland Review.

Morrissy earned her PhD in Creative Writing at Ulster University, where she was Vice-Chancellor Research Scholar. She holds graduate degrees in Creative Writing (University College Dublin 2013), and Literature (Ryerson University 2014), and a bachelor’s degree in Law (University College Dublin 2006).

In 2016, Morrissy was included in “The Rising Generation” issue of Poetry Ireland Review, edited by Vona Groarke. Her creative and critical work has been published in The Irish Times, The Manchester Review, bath magg, Winter Papers, gorseCyphersThe Stinging FlyPoetry Ireland Review, ASAP/Journal, and The North. She represented Ireland for the Ireland-Scotland Brigid’s Day 2021 Celebration, and at the O, Miami Festival and the Toronto International Festival of Authors. She has participated in PoetryFest NYC, Book Week Scotland, Strokestown International Poetry Festival, Dublin Book Festival, International Literature Festival Dublin, and Cork International Poetry Festival. 

She is co-founder of X-ile Project, a grassroots activist organisation that contributed to the successful campaign to repeal the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution in 2018. X-ile Project was covered internationally, including by the New York Times, Politico, Democracy Now!, and The Guardian.

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