Background: Farley is an editorial assistant at our sister publication Irish America magazine. He is also studying for a master’s in Irish and Irish American studies at New York University.
Tell us about your Irish heritage.
“The immigration history is a little opaque, but my maternal grandmother, Bernetta Leyden, was paternally half Irish and half German on her mother's side. After several more international marriages, I arrived as a mutt of European heritages – one-eighth Irish, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch, French, and a quarter English.”
What are you working on at Irish America?
“My primary role at the magazine is to research and write short news pieces of interest to Irish Americans. “
How did you wind up as a student at Glucksman Ireland House at NYU?
“I knew I wanted to focus on Irish studies and begin to specialize in Irish language verse. As NYU’s Ireland House is one of a very few number of departments in the country that offers Irish language courses, it seemed only natural that I apply. I also remember when I was applying to undergraduate colleges, my father told me, half in jest, that he thought I couldn’t stay studious given my youthful affinity for the ‘culture’ of the Village were I to attend NYU, so I will concede that my motivation was not entirely academic.”
You enjoy writing poetry. What inspires you and who is your favorite Irish poet?
“I draw from two primary wells when it comes to composition -- minute empirical observations, half-witnessed before I get them out of the ink well, and the sound of words when abutted in new permutations. The two tend to work in succession, rather than generating two types of poems.
While the empirical may draw the brimming bucket from the depths, a sonic serendipity acts as an iodine tablet that purifies the water in the glass and makes the well water consumable. I only begin to write when I have a suitable number of iodine tablets in my pocket.
“On the question of Irish poets, it has to be Yeats. ‘The Second Coming’ was the first poem I committed to memory and he taught me how to rhyme with gusto.”
What is your favorite thing about attending NYU?
“As I hinted at earlier, it’s the city. Obviously, the idea 17-year-old Adam had of Greenwich Village is no longer relevant, but New York I think will never cease to fascinate.”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
“In 10 years I’ll still be answering the question of what inspires me poetically. But I’ll also be 10 years closer to a country house and a tenure-track teaching job. I do hope to see my name on the spine of a book of poems too.”
Interview by Molly Muldoon