Alan Cooke. a.k.a. is an Emmy-winning actor/poet/novelist who just released his literary piece called Naked in New York. The book is the result of his experiences, when he embarked on a journey to New York city just after the 9/11. He has acted and written since the 90s and then one day he just decided to leave it all behind and take a plunge into the unknown.
Naked in New York is a coming of age for the soul. He mentioned to me in one of our conversations that if he put all of his experiences in New York on text, then it would have taken him more than a thousand pages. This is a book of poetic beauty that flows in abundance through the pages. There are moments of pure illumination amidst the harsh realities in which he describes without sugar-coating. The poetry of his ideas are implied rather than expressed. And it is through one’s poetic soul that the beauty of his experiences is revealed.
This interview is kind of amusing. I have told him to hurry with the interview and not be distracted by other topics. We were doing a sort of dare. If you’ve followed one of his radio interviews, you will realize that he has an ample sense of humor.
“Ok last time give me those questions. I’ll do them right NOW.” The zeal of an Irishman! So we started with the interview.
“Hold on.” I was sifting through my original questions.
“Hurry up.” I was imagining him with that cocky smile at the other side of the monitor. And we started.
Alan with the release of Naked in New York, what do you plan to accomplish personally?
Well this is the first of three books. Naked in New York is a debut. I would like to go to New York this summer and read and promote the book if possible.
You have done stage and acting and I know your are very musically inclined. Any plans to dipping your vocal chords into an EP devoted to Irish music in the future?
I doubt it. I adore music. I adore the sounds of Ireland and the breath and depth of musicians. I do have a strong singing voice but I might make my own single one day . I like to try out new mediums who knows..
How do you feel about the reception towards Naked in New York?
Well whomever has read it has been very moved in many ways. But the promotional aspect I find exhausting. It is way more difficult than writing the book I have to admit. But then it only takes one piece of media coverage or the right person to read the book to bring it to a much larger audience.
Are you planning to do a sort of book tour in a form of public readings in the US?
I would love to yes. I am a performer. I am an orator. I am not a writer hiding out. I love to be in the world. In front of people speaking my words. I like to try and transform a room with the connection between teller and listener. That is the crux of all art.
You have upcoming projects. Can you give us an update on them?
Well as I said, I have two other books. The Spirit of Ireland and Jack Tully and the Midnight Killer. I hope to release both of them this spring. One must keep creating. Keep the candle burning in the midst of dark times. Someone out there could be moved or changed by your work. So I try never to give up.
You often discuss this light and dark contrast in the Irish psyche which is also the focus of your thriller Jack Tully and the Midnight killer. What do you think in brief paragraph, might have caused this phenomena?
Our history. Our colonization. Our religious repression. We are a mythic native culture at our root base. We are powerful poetic and magical in a sense. Our previous overlords knew this and crushed and starved and enslaved us for hundreds of years. So although we have a gift still in our Celtic souls, it is split I believe. At one side is a beauty for poetry and laughter and lightness. On the other is self loathing, self-destruction and hatred of our identity. You see it in the drink culture and the low expectations and learned helplessness that is very dominant here. So I like to explore that in my writing. But I think soon the Irish will rise into the full version of themselves again. Into the colour light and beauty of their own soul. They need to see and explore the myths. They need to cast out shame and sadness and realize we are powerful. Self love is the key. This landscape is filled with such amazing magic and depth. We only have to walk into it and say I AM.
Tell me more about your spoken words via youtube. You have released 3 so far right? What inspires you to make those?
Well I am an actor who hasn’t acted in quite a while. So my narrations are really my way of exploring my performance and my writing together. Both are intrinsically linked. The power of voice and the word is such a potent force when used for good. That is why I try and make these videos to combat so much destructive messages in the media.
I am curious what you have in your music player right now. Can you give me at least five Irish albums you are listening to?
Oh.. ! Well not many. I like the old U2 Albums when they were less concerned about massive profit and more about art. I like Thin Lizzy and also a lot of Uileann Pipe players. I love the Dubliners and Luke Kelly. I need to listen to more music again. !
You mentioned once that the book is a distilled version of what really happened in New York. If you’ve decided to write the story as is, it would have taken you a thousand pages. But as you mentioned, it’s more like an ‘art writing’ but also autobiographical. How did you decide which scenes in your life made it to the book and what didn’t and why?
It flowed in a certain rhythm. It was more an exploration of my feelings related to the experience than the actual experience if that makes sense. All reality is subjective. All magic or true experience is blended at times. I needed a certain level of discernment and trust of my gift to allow the flow to happen. What seemed important at the time of my journey became oddly trivial and then what seemed like an innocent road or a tiny moment became this momentous occasion in the book. I guess it is all perspective. There is no real truths only that which is your feeling of what you believed at the time. New york was such an overwhelming environment that I can only conclude my writing ultimately helped me undo the knots in my soul from the experience.
Let’s do another plug here. Where can they buy your book and the various formats that they can buy of naked in New York?
Three more questions.
I’ll kill you.
What is your idea of a good Irish holiday Alan?
Roaming the west in a car. Going to Kerry, Cork, Connemara. The wild ragged west of Ireland with the people, the food and hopefully in the summer. The long evenings and the sunsets and the magic of animals and mountains. It is all there in the very substance of every tree and river and in the eyes of the old people here. Magic in Ireland will never die.
So …what do you think? Should we stop here? Do you want 10 more questions?
No that’s enough let it roll. Off to do yoga in my house and weights, then porridge.
Copyright 2012 – Alan Cooke and Wild Poet Films. All footage is copyrighted. His Blog: www.wildirishpoet.blogspot.com
Buy the book on http://www.wildirishpoet.com on Audio release soon. Email to order your copy : firstname.lastname@example.org
It is another interesting week for our featured artist edition. We have Alan Cooke above and also links in this column that you should check out because they are interesting! There are things that are yet to happen which will be revealed through my conversation with an artist. Yes, you will get an idea how I talk regularly.
Here’s the fifth teaser for the Kevin O’ Donnell album:
The Album Release
DEEP IS THE WELL will be released and available online Friday, May 3rd for purchase from iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby. A music video for the first single “Factory Girl” will be launched April 16th. Stay tuned for Album Release Events scheduled for May in the Chicagoland area, which will feature many of the guest artists on the album. More at www.deepisthewell.com.
Here’s the latest post from the Saw Doctors fan page: Later this year we are hoping to publish a book featuring 100 songs of The Saw Doctors. We will post a song each day as we reveal the 100.
We are looking for any photographs, stories or memories related to each of the songs for inclusion in the book. So let us know if you have a suggested contribution in the comments section.
Song #1 has to be the first song on our first album and also our first number 1 single 🙂
Check this track by Eve Williams. According to Eve: “It’s a song called Miranda based on the Tempest by myself, Andrew Price and Stuart Revnell. Stuart produced the song and he put a lot of work into the vocals.”
More at http://www.evewilliamsmusic.com/
A Brief conversation with Singer/Songwriter, Writer, Composer, and Native American Rights Activist Jenne Lennon.
How are you Baxter? Its been ages……
I know Jenne but it is timeless in Celticland so it only seems like yesterday the vibes are still the same if you have anything you want me to post let me know id be happy to post it.
oh thank you! yes, a lot going on here. We signed with San Juan records and such. But, I was thinking of you. Last we talked you were feeling down. Are your spirits any better? New year….new energies…
Yes it is Jenne. Just like trees everything has its season. This is spring lol
That’s good news! It is, although in chicago, today was our first day of sunshine and relatively warm weather. By warm I mean 45 F compared to -2 F!
Oh ok. Yeah brrrrrrr haha. Here it is the start of summer in the Philippines so it is getting hot. Kind of silent around due to the lent.
Absolutely. But this amazing city is making up for it. Incredible Celtic music here. A bit of a world music resurgence going on now.
Yes, I imagine it is silent due to lent. I am jealous of the weather though, my best friend who is Filipino told me not to be so jealous as its very humid there, hehe!
You will get one too. In a couple of weeks. Yeah! humid indeed haha. I am doing my blogging outside where there’s moving air and birds…flowers etc
Hehe….I hope so. Although our summers are very hard and humid as well. My ancestors were not cut out for it. I am Irish after all…..I can’t take strong heat or cold.That sounds lovely! what time is it there?
Yeah I can imagine it must be hard for northern skins. Here it is 10 am.http://www.blogtalkradio.com/aww1/2013/03/27/alan-cooke-irish-emmy-winning-writer-actor-filmmaker Listening to the wild Irish poet.
Nice! It’s 9:00 p.m. here. Are we 11 hours apart? Thanks for the link!
Yeah 11 hours.
But, this summer I will be in South Africa, which it will be winter then hehe.
In which I asked her about Shishonnah and a possible online interview.
Oh, great! I would love to talk to you about Shishonnah and the work I am doing in South Africa. I’ve started working with the Chicago Childrens choir and it has completely changed my life. My dream is coming true to go to South Africa this summer if I can manage to raise the funds….
Ok. So info is just in your site right? I can just go there and read. I just want to make sure I am asking relevant questions.
Sure. Or, you can ask me anything you like. I can update you about anything. But, yes, the south African stuff is all on the site. Except for my work with The Chicago children’s choir (who you HAVE to check out) very famous. You would love their stuff
Ok. I would like an update on the Chicago children’s choir. I can just study the south African thing on your site.
Yes, anything you’d like that organization really changed my life. Its been incredible. I will be touring with one of the choirs next month and they will be singing my arrangement of “siuil a ruin” and I’ll be a guest soloist. Too cool! And how are things with you? How is the blog?
I told her about the subscribers have increased and I am introducing changes to the blog. We chatted for a few more minutes before we said goodbye and will be talking again soon.