Brian Blaney


A regular reader at the White House Poetry Revival sessions, he is a former member of  Limerick Writers' Group (LWG) in the early 1990's. A regular reader of his work at Open-Mic venues and poetry readings including Limerick, Galway and during Listowel Writer's Week, his work has been published in Revival, Microphone On, Two Rivers Meet and local press media.

Brian Blaney is the pseudonym of Brian J. Slattery (in memory of his mother's maiden name).

Brian J. Slattery is the administrator / owner /  webmaster of the independent website 'www.whitehousepoets.com'.






In fondest memory of Dr. Desmond O'Grady

(1935 -2014)


I slip beneath your sheets of syllables,

Succumb my senses

Blind my own ambition

But, should I fear delusion,

Eldest daughter of Zeus, whose feet

Stepped not on Earth’s firm soil

But trod the air above mens’ heads

And led them into pitfalls?

How can I tell, beneath your

Canopy of leaves, of storms ahead,

Unsuited, to my attire?

In the hail-storm blizzard

Of your words should I

Hold to your lines, unknowing,

Snow-blinded perhaps by the

Whites around their wisdom?

And when I reach Alexandria

What then, dear Desmond?

Will it stir my imagination as it did yours?

Will it be my destined end?

The city of my imagination?

Or will I be forever a khawaga*

In a foreign land?

Time and again I see your finger rise

And I hear your soft reply,

“If you’re lost in Alexandria,

Read Cavafy”

-          © Brian Blaney



*Pergola:  A covered walkway


* khawaga: Word listed in Desmond O’Grady’s ‘My Alexandria – Poems and Prose’ (Glossary of Arabic words).

Arabic pejorative word. Used to describe gullible (Western) tourists.


*Constantine Cavafy, poet (1863 – 1933)




Culture is an onion

of a thousand mendacious coats

each with a meaningful name

each finer than the last

full of expectant promise

leading to a core

where sits, alone,

a poet,


 - Brian Blaney

 Poems in Profile (2011) 




JULY 2014

Brian featured, with John Liddyin the first of the Mid Summer Lunch Time Poetry readings in the Captain's Room at the Hunt Museum on July 10th.

The readings are due to continue with a different pairing of poets on consecutive Thursdays until July 31st.


The Limerick Leader was first to feature Brian's 'Tis Here The Heart of Limerick Beats', a poem inspired by the Mayoral ceremony surrounding the erection of a new, updated, headstone at the grave of Michael Hogan - Bard of Thomond. Those who attended included the local historian, Kevin Hannan and no fewer than three former Limerick City Mayor's ( J. Kemmy, T. Russell, J. O'Sullivan) while the ceremony itself was performed by the incumbant Mayor, Richard Sadlier. Given The Bard's historically ascerbic relationship with City Hall, the majority attendance of civic officialdom was ironic among the small gathering, which included the only Thomondgate natives present, Brian Slattery (a.k.a. poet Brian Blaney) and his paternal uncle, Mike Slattery. The earlier modest gravestone, which the new one replaced, did not have a sculpted face of Hogan. It is for this reason Blaney chose to begin his poem with the words:-


Oh, what time is this that sees this, once mortal coil

Entombed and now reslabbed anew beneath this soil

My chiselled features cut in stone so fine

So friend or foe can kiss, or jab, my eyes as they incline...


Drawing on his wide work experience (industrial worker, artist/designer, firefighter, writer), Blaney's poetry explores issues with a keen eye for social injustice. Although not afraid to tackle international issues (e.g. 'Benign Neglect', 'Solzhenitzen's Sword'), as a native of Limerick (Thomondgate), his love and concern for his native City is evidenced by poems such as 'By the River' (a homage to the river Shannon) or 'Statute Instrument...' (a 2007 social comment laying bare the socio-political backdrop to the long-promised regeneration of disadvantaged areas). 'Chasm of Darkness' covers the almost forgotten reasons for peace in Northern Ireland while 'The Wise Men Have Gone To The Hills Again' highlights an acute awareness of religious power struggles and suffering within society at large.

A special reading (by Mike Finn) of 'Manhattan Skyline' (Poems in Profile), was performed at a commemoration ceremoney in the Augustinian Church, Limerick, to mark the tragedy of the twin towers on September 11, 2001.

From June, 2012 to January 2013, he assisted MC Barney Sheehan promote the weekly sessions. This included a redesign of the poster format and the write-up of weekly posters for visiting guest poets. The posters were then emailed directly to the printer for collection. One such innovative poster design was that to celebrate July 4th, 2012, American Independence Day. This saw a full-colour poster which, naturally, featured a bald eagle. The guest on that occassion was Mike Gallagher. The last poster featured Sheila Fitzpatrick-O'Donnell as guest when she launched her collections 'A Bouquet of Trilogies' on February 6th, 2013. 

Brian Blaney is currently working on a second collection for release in early 2014His website can be found at: www.brianblaney.com








-A Tribute-


He's gone

Amidst a contemplation

He slipped away

The pondrous brow, unhinged,

No more will rise

Awake this day


The eyelids ne're will lift

Those eyes in wonder

To expose

A lyric, suant

The lips no more to sing



No more measured tones

From heart to mind

With breath divulged

The lexicon, left open

Within the crevice of its revelations

The squat pen rests indulged

 - Brian Blaney (c) 2013







Across drenched fields of dew

Like Spring's iced melting snow

In morning mist they glisten

Cheeky whites on show


One Summer's day in wilting

Amidst the blades of green

They'll silently submit to fate

To nature's cyclic scene


They'll drop their petalled blades

Like swords down at their feet

And bow their heads in silence

Proud blossoms in defeat


Last memories are of children

Daisy chained in barefoot plays

Their laughter rippling like a brook

In freckled fun-filled days


 - Brian Blaney (c)







Like a child in the wilderness

I had no place to hide

After that summer's day in June

When the thunder came

I was a bad example they said

A disgrace to my parents

My family, my younger sisters

To the community of womanhood

How could I be allowed

With each parturient day

Waddle my swelling belly

Among them, unexplained

How could they allow the innocent,

Wondrous eyes of children

Share the marvel of a nativity

In their midst?

I cried, and asked, why couldn't I,

In the Mother of God's image

Just once - once, share her story

Of a virgin birth?

But the thunder became louder

And I had no place to hide

In the narrowing spaces of

Religious rightousness

And so I was taken

From my sisterhood to another,

The Mary magdalene's,

Sisters of mercy to those who had fallen

On the open, thunderous plains

They cut my hair, the lovely

Locks my baby sister combed,

Put ribbons in, and said, "When I grow up..."

She wanted hair like mine


They took my name, and gave me another,

To hide you, they said, from the June thunder

That rocks and rolls, for it will

No longer know your name

But with the thunder

They hid me too from

The scented Autumn breeze

Of my mother's voice - calling my name


They took my hands

That everyday held my father

"Princess hugs" he called them

And put a scrubbing brush in their palms


And from my voice they stole

The names of family and friends

And, from my ears, the music of

Their laughter in the fields


But most of all, they stole

The fruit of my womb, planted

By my first, and only love

In a shared embrace

On a June summer's day

Before the thunder came

And all was silenced.


 - Brian Blaney (c) 2013


What they said:-


'... the themes of his poems reflect his varied and wide-ranging interest in the world around him. This, he celebrates with vivid, and sometimes, startling, imagery.'

- Teri Murray, (Poet, Editor of Revival)


'When his muse summons, Brian responds faithfully through 'streams... of... universal truths'. It is refreshing then to imagine that if Brian were 'the only functioning player' on the lyre, such truths, such 'encrusted diamonds' would suffice, liberated with a lance of his pen from everyday spin. We must always be grateful.'

- Tom Moloney, (Poet)


'Chasm of Darkness' expresses sentiments pretty much that I do... remembering the people who have been murdered... in my long poem about Northern Ireland ('Pity for the Wicked' short-listed for the Ewart biggs Memorial Prize, 2007).

- Brian Lynch (Poet, Member of Aosdana)


'Probably the nearest thing we have got at present to the Bard of Thomond, Michael Hogan.'

- Eugene Phelan (Editor, Limerick Leader)


See also:-

Desmond O'Grady  Teri Murray  Tom Moloney  Brian Lynch  Bernard 'Barney' Sheehan

Mike Gallagher

Sheila Fitzpatrick O'Donnell  John Liddy