Bloomsday 2021

Experience Finnegans Wake

Prospect Park
June 16
3:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Bloomsday is June 16, the day on which James Joyce's novel Ulysses is set.

Ulysses follows Leopold Bloom around Dublin, making his way back to his wife, Molly, whose love must be reborn after the two suffered a loss. In life, June 16 was also the day of the first outing between James Joyce and Nora Barnacle.

Finnegans Wake expands on this dynamic greatly. Infamously one of the most difficult books to read, we enter the text today into the soundscape of Prospect Park.

Walk around and listen to a tale of endless renewal.

Map of Prospect Park with reading spots labeled.

The reading begins and ends at the carousel, located just past the Flatbush Avenue entrance. Prospect Park station on the B/Q line is located just across the street to the south. For other entrances, the readings are spread throughout the center of the park. Make your way inward and start wherever.

Precise locations are subject to change since we will be in an open park space. Reading times are also approximate, subject to the pace of volunteer readers. (Want to join in as a reader? Email me: tim@precursorpoets.com or precursorpoets@gmail.com. No expertise required.)

Chronologically, the reading loops around in a figure eight. The full route takes approximately 40 minutes, plus listening time. You may listen to as much or as little as you like, in whatever order you like, but note the times – some chapters are relatively short. This is an ephemeral experience.

Chapter I & Chapter XVII

We will start and end in this small field just past the carousel (seen on the right; closed on Wednesdays).

Approximate time for Chapter I: 3:00 - 4:30 PM
Approximate time for Chapter XVII: 3:30 - 7:30 PM

Chapter II

Entering the park from the carousel, you will pass through an arch. As you near the Boathouse area, there will be a small hill to your left overlooking a small building. The reading will take place here or on the small hill diagonally across at the intersection.

Approximate time: 5:45 - 7:00 PM [UPDATED]

Chapter III

Continue along across the path in the same westward direction, then across a rustic, wooden bridge. The reading continues to the left at the next intersection there, somewhere around the edge of the big field called Nethermead.

Approximate time: 3:45 - 5:00 PM

Chapter IV

Continue along the path, rotating around the field clockwise, or cut across the field to its southeast. This tree sits on a small hill, and the reading will be somewhere in the vicinity.

Approximate time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM

Chapter V

Though not the River Liffey, continue south along the waterside trail. Reading will take place just off to the side of the path in a small clearing.

Approximate time: 6:00 - 7:00 PM [UPDATED]

Chapter VI

Continue down the path and through the archway. At the crossroads, turn right, up the inclined path. To your right will be the base of Lookout Hill, and an open patch of grass leading up to Maryland Monument. A reading will take place somewhere around the base of this hill. Be sure not to block the roadway!

Approximate time: 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Chapter VII

Continue south down Wellhouse Drive and you will see the Peninsula on your left. Look for a reading somewhere in the vicinity of this triangle of trees.

Approximate time: 3:30 - 4:30 PM

Chapter VIII

Want to hear all about Anna Livia? Cut across the field (or loop around via the path) and look for Chapter VIII somewhere along the lake.

Approximate time: 3:45 - 4:45 PM

Chapter IX

Continue along into the wooded end of the Peninsula. At the first intersection, turn left onto the woodchips-covered path and keep going until you reach the rustic shelter at the right edge of the landmass. The shelter itself may be occupied, but there are open patches to the left and right.

Approximate time: 3:30 - 5:45 PM

Chapter X

Continue along the edge of the Peninsula moving counter-clockwise. You will find a large patch with scattered logs and sticks, as well as a nice waterside clearing just past it. There will be a reading somewhere in the vicinity.

Approximate time: 3:30 - 6:00 PM

Chapter XI

Continue along the path, past a little rectangular patch of benches and fishing space, back to the open field. There will be a reading somewhere along this northern edge.

Approximate time: 3:15 - 7:00 PM

Chapter XII

Keep going down the path, now looping back north. You will pass back under a familiar arch, and Chapter XII will be read in another waterside clearing somewhere on your right.

Approximate time: 4:45 - 5:45 PM

Chapter XIII

Once you get back to Nethermead field, turn left. Stick to the right when you reach a fork in the path, but look and listen for a reading somewhere in or near this delta. Be sure not to block the paths!

Approximate time: 4:45 - 5:45 PM

Chapter XIV

Continuing clockwise around the field, the next reading will be somewhere around the western edge.

Approximate time: 3:30 - 6:00 PM

Chapter XV

Continuing clockwise further still, check this shady spot just past a patch of trees, located diagonally across from the Music Pagoda. (Do not approach the pagoda itself.)

Approximate time: 3:15 - 6:30 PM

Chapter XVI

Head east back toward the rustic, wooden bridge from near the start. There should be a reading in this clearing just before the bridge, accompanied by the sounds of a small waterfall.

Approximate time: 4:00 - 5:45 PM

Chapter XVII

Make your way east back to the carousel space for the ending (and new beginning) of the novel.

Approximate time: 3:30 - 7:30 PM

There's where. First. We pass through grass behush the bush to. Whish! A gull. Gulls. Far calls. Coming, far! End here. Us then. Finn, again! Take. Bussoftlhee, mememormee! Till thousendsthee. Lps. The keys to. Given! A way a lone a last a loved a long the

riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.
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