“Pangur Ban, a famous Irish Cat, visits Mount Kisco Library” [ Coming up soon: A Bookmaking Workshop]

pangur ban-a handmade book by malachi mccormick“Pangur Ban” is a ninth century Irish poem. As you can see if you check the title on my website’s list of books, it is also a miniature handmade book published by The Stone Street Press. (It sells for seven dollars.)

The book is “dual language” –the 9th C. Irish of the original, and my facing page translation in English. The original was found written in the margin of a manuscript in another Library –that of Saint Paul’s Monastery in Carinthia, in modern day Austria.

Herewith, a couple of verses –the first two in Irish Gaelic, and the last two in English– to give you an idea of this lovely and lively poem:

Meisse ocus Pangur Ban,
cectar natar fria saindan
bit a menma-sam fri seilgg
mo menma cein im sainceird.

Caraim-se foss, ferr cac clu,
oc mo lebran leir ingnu;
ne foirmtec frimm Pangur Ban,
caraid cesin a maccdan.

Me and Pangur Ban my cat,
each has his aspiration;
Pangur’s mind is set on mice
and mine on education.

More than any fame I love
my books, pursuing learning;
nor does my friend envy me–
mice are Pangur’s yearning.

Deirdre Johnson runs a very imaginative educational program at the new Mount Kisco Library. My upcoming workshop there (Thursday, 27th at 4.00pm. Free –but you must register. If it is over-subscribed perhaps Deirdre will schedule a second workshop.)

I read her most interesting blog recently (attached to the Mount Kisco Library website), and submitted the following comment:

“What a lovely and bookish blog you have Deirdre. I so enjoyed reading it –especially about that extraordinary Christopher Wren Library in Cambridge, England.

I am very much looking forward to my bookmaking workshop at the wonderful new Mount Kisco Library on the 27th. The book I have chosen for the workshop is “Pangur Ban” –it’s a very famous 9th century poem, written in Irish (Gaelic) by an Irish calligrapher. He wrote it in the margin of a manuscript he was transcribing at St. Paul’s Monastery in Austria. My book –a miniature– has the original Irish version on the left, and my facing translation into English. I grew up in Ireland, and at one time spoke Irish as fluently as English.
Every one in the class will learn to make this book themselves, and will be able to start their own Publishing Company straightaway! Or at least learn how to make their own books.
If you want to see what other books that I have made by hand, take a look at my website, http://www.stonestreetpress.com. I will be happy to answer all your questions at our workshop.
I look forward to meeting you all. See you there!
Malachi McCormick


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