Bloomsday attempt no. 1

Daniel J. Rowe 

June 16, 1904, Dublin.

Perhaps the most famous day in literary history. It was the day many have followed who actually sat down, buckled in and read James Joyce’s Ulysses, cover-to-cover.

It is a monumental task, and one well worth trying.

We tried.

The brawlers, and a squirrel, attempted the feat this year. We started at 7 p.m. on the 16th, and really had no hope of getting all the way to Penelope. We made it to the end of Proteus.

We continued with Calypso the 17th in the AM, though we’re sure all the purists out there would be scowling through mouthfuls of kidney and other flesh of fowls and what not at us not following the Bloomsday rules.

The Jameson did help a little.

In the end, we did our best, and made it past Aeolus, and had a bunch of fun in the process. Eric was voted “Most likely to read about farts or dumps” and no reading should every be done without the musical accompaniment of Mr. Nick MacMahon.

Next year, we’ll go for the whole tome.

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‘Zounds! contributor and poet Ryan Buynak, Coyote Blood, also gave it a whirl, and gave us this reflection. Enjoy:


I read the first few pages and graves

of Ulysses today,

because it is June 16th, Bloomsday,

and because my friends

in Montreal and Berlin

and other places

are posting about it on Instagram,

so I feel the need to get it.

the action has me savvy,

especially after work

when I dig for the big copy

that I have had forever,

started and stopped,

given in to the prose

and given up on the poetry

of the piece of perfection.

this copy has been with me,

soaked in a tidal wave

on Fire Island that summer,

ripped by chicks that I have loaned it to,

and has seen bookshelves

in Florida, NYC, Montreal, Florida

and NYC, as well as

the backs of cars and the tops of bars.

this book by James

has given me whiskey,

nights, sexual candidates lost,

and tonight that is more recognizable

than the best commercials for soap

or broken noses and broken dreams.

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