Eamonn Lynskey's Poetry and Reading Blog

October 29, 2009

7 Towers ‘Last Wednesday’ Open Mic (Oct. 28th)

Filed under: Open Mic — tvivf @ 2:25

Some of the usual suspects at the 'Last Wednesday' open mic: Eileen Keane, Helen Dempsey and Ann

Omigod! Is that another month just flown by?! Yes, apparently, and we were all assembled again in Cassidy’s lower bar for another Last Wednesday Open Mic. Glad to see some seniors (besides myself) in evidence: Denis Kenny with a very moving tribute to the 33  people who died in those terrible explosions in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974.

Martin Egan

Martin Egan was in fine form with poems like ‘I lived on an Island’. Helena Mulkearns was there too (not a senior) and it was great to hear her again reading that poem about the United Nations blue tarpaulin that does so many jobs in so many awful places around the world. This is one of the finest things I have heard at the open mic. I think it’s in for a Hennessy Award and if so it deserves to win. (Helena, by the way, hosts a ‘cabaret’ at the Wexford Arts Centre every last Saturday of the month, and welcomes all types of acts, including poetry: see www.cacamilis.org). Lots of other great stuff. Eileen Keane read the rest of her short story from last month but dammit! I couldn’t concetrate because she was on right after me and my own stuff was still going through my head. Does this happen to others? Or is it only me? And it seems Steve Conway, (‘Shiprocked: Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline’), our autobigrapher and prose writer extraordinaire , has now turned his hand to POETRY!!! which I think is grossly unfair to the rest of us poets as the market is already too crowded. A recent attendee at this Open Mic, Jane Robinson, read a poem involving the genetic code, which I hope I hear again, and Delta O’Hara did a scene from her work in progress about telephone sex, some of which (the work, not the sex) you can experience in ‘The patriot Inn’ in Kilmainham (opposite the Jail!) next Monday 9.00pm. This is a very well organised Open Mic and very welcoming to newcomers ( and oldcomers!). What I really like about it, apart from the material of course, is that that it always gets going before 8.00 pm, and sometimes even earlier. I’m getting a impatient with events that don’t get off the ground before 9.00 (or even sometimes 9.30) pm. But maybe that’s just me?

October 23, 2009

Publication in ‘The Stony Thursday Book’

Filed under: Publications — tvivf @ 2:25

This week received my copy of this year’s ‘The Stony Thursday Book: a collection of contemporary poetry’ in which my poem ‘Thank You for Holding’ appears. It’s a light-hearted (or black-humoured) look at the danger of being buried alive and a suggestion as to how such an uncomfortable end might be averted. It also tries to have a go at the inanities one has to endure when making a simple telephone query to commercial or government offices. I particularly detest the way some firms try to sell you stuff before they connect you to the required orifice. And all this delivered by automated voice, which leaves you unable to cut them short! I didn’t get around to this in  ‘Thank You for Holding’, so I  think I may have material for another poem. Thank you for reading this blog entry. Your hit is very important to me.


 Because statistics tell me

 that you’ll see me out, my love,

 I would be much obliged 

if you would grant me this

one last request: Before


the lid is fastened, please

insert between my prayerful fingers

and my rosary beads

my mobile phone

and please make sure

that for the next few days, at least,


(a) in credit,

(b) fully charged,

(c) turned on, and not

(d) buried at the bottom of your handbag

where it is liable to dial out during

a search for car-keys, spectacles,

credit-cards, lipstick, and et cetera

(a full list available on request). And
if you do not hear from me
 during the mournful days   
sequential to my demise I pray

you put aside your inconsolable grief

and give me a call. And

please be patient as I

may have some difficulty

in coming to the phone.

Thank you for holding.

Your call could be important to me.

Eamonn Lynskey

October 13, 2009

Mary Travers, 1937-2009

Filed under: Obituaries — tvivf @ 2:25

Mary Travers, of ‘Peter, Paul and Mary’ fame died last month, September 16th. This group shaped a lot of my poetic and musical and political outlooks. I remember how impressed I was with their ‘Album 1700’ LP which I bought hot off the press in 1967 when I was in my Leaving Certificate year and had very little ready cash. Of course I was really taken by John Denver’s ‘Leaving on Jet Plane’, but every track was great and the one that (for me) was absolutely revolutionary listening was ‘Whatshername’, a slow-moving, very poignant and, by turns, pathetic monologue from a middle aged man wondering about a girl he used to know and what became of her. At that time I was surprised at the form of the composition (written I think by Noel Stookey the ‘Paul’ in the group’ ) because it was absolutely nothing like the three-minute fomulaic compositions so common at the time, and which I loved very much– Hey! I was teenager! Now I realize that this was one of my first meetings with poetry. It is a marvellous composition. And now also, since I am now well past middle age, I can appreciate it from the resources of life-time experience. And isn’t this the very thing about good writing?– That it retains its power to move you, even after a lifetime? They were truly a great group and she was a great singer and a big influence on me and my attitudes to many things, including major themes like civil rights and war. I can hear her now in my head and I will go on hearing her as long as I live.

Ar a dheis De go raibh a hanam.

October 12, 2009

Ellie Greenwich 1940-2009

Filed under: Obituaries — tvivf @ 2:25
Ellie Greenwich

Ellie Greenwich

I am indebted to Brian Boyd of the Irish Times (in his Friday ‘Revolver’ column) for the unwelcome notice that Ellie Greenwich died recently on August 26th). I am of the age-group that carries around in my head many of her wonderful compositions and who finds himself humming them or whistling them at odd moments practically every day. Songs like ‘Be my Baby’, ‘River Deep, Mountain High’,’ The Leader of the Pack’ (who could ever forget those motorcycle revs!), ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’ and the Dixie Cups’ ‘The Chapel of Love’. She was an extraordinary artist by any standards and her songs, especially those coupled with Phil Spector’s ‘wall of sound’, made an indelible impression on a generation. If you believe as I do that ‘culture’ is everything we do, hear, say, taste, feel every day, then Ellie must be one of the greatest contributors to ‘mass culture’ ever. Go to any moderately good caberet or floor show and you’ll hear some of her songs amongst the fare. I heard somewhere that she got her first big break when she turned up for an audition ahead of Carol King (another great, great, great 60’s songwriter). It was lucky break for everyone!
What a great lady. What a great loss. She was, in Brian Boyd’s words ‘the queen of the three-minute 45 rpm pop record’. What a lot of happiness she leaves behind. Ar dheis De go raibh a hanam. [May her soul be at the right hand of God].

October 5, 2009

All Ireland Poetry Day: Chapters Readings

Filed under: Readings — tvivf @ 2:25
Bernie O'Reilly

Bernie O'Reilly

Ann Morgan

Ann Morgan

Thursday October 1st was All Ireland Poetry Day (which, to my mind, conjures up images of poets hurling poems around Croke Park) and a special reading was organised in Chapters Bookshop, Parnell Street, Dublin for the occasion by Seven Towers from 3.00 to 7.00 and MC’d by Sarah Lundberg.

Sarah Lundberg

Sarah Lundberg

I shared the first hour with Ann Morgan, Bernie O’Reilly, Karl Parkinson and Anamaria Crowe Serrano and Darragh O Neill. Ann read that ‘Cooking’ poem (must get the name of it) which makes one’s mouth water and Bernie gave some of her short spare observant lyrics. I am a big fan of Karl sinceI first heard him at the Write & Recite sessions (organised by Gerry McNamara).  What great stuff! ‘Listening to Classical Music but Thinking of Great Artists and How They Suffered’. Anamaria obliged from her ‘Femispheres’ collection (Shearsman Books 2008, www.shearsman.com) with, among others, ‘On Reading Pablo Neruda’ which she really brought to life with a passionate rendition. Very good in itself, this is one which benefits more again from a reading (as does any poem, but some gain something extra).

Karl Parkinson

Karl Parkinson

Anamaria Crowe Serrano

Anamaria Crowe Serrano

Darragh (new to me) read some very clear, descriptive and singularly intense pieces which I’d like to hear again to appreciate. I read a few including an ‘Anniversary Poem for the October Revolution’ which I wrote in 2006 after a visit to Hungary where celebrations and commemorations were everywhere, it being the anniversary of the 1956 revolution (or counter-revolution, as the communists termed it). It’s sad now to think of how many people died then fighting Communism and how Communism itself died 30 years afterwards, but at that time it did not look as if ‘the Iron Curtain’ would ever lift.

Darragh O'Neill

Darragh O'Neill

October 4, 2009

7 Towers Last Wed. Open Mic Sept.09

Filed under: Open Mic — tvivf @ 2:25

A goodly list of readers for tonight’s September Open Mic (30.09.09) in Cassidy’s of Westmoreland Street under the usual adroit MC Declan McLoughlin. Plenty to hear from Eileen Keane (new Story ‘Snapshots’) of which we will get the next half next month. Prose writers are always at a disadvantage at open mics because their work (usually) doesn’t fit into the alotted 5-10 minutes, but it will be great to hear the rest of Eileen’s story next time. It’s very good.

Eileen Keane

Eileen Keane

Also a spot from Orla Walsh, who gave notice of her next open mic at the Winding Stair Bookshop  on Dec.4th. You’ll have only 3 minutes to strut it, so windbags please note (I have already noted for mysel!). Among other ‘performers’ were Bob Shakeshaft, Anne Morgan and myself, plus turns from Gabriel Collins, Dermot (?) Ross hathaway, Oran Ryan, Pauline Hall, Helen Dempsey, Edward Lee… and these are the names I remember! What a great line-up! I had to leave before the last part because of pressing reasons and I remember Niall O’Sullivan (MC of London’s ‘Poetry Unplugged’ sessions) voicing his contempt for those who read their stuff in the first part and then leave at the interval,

Orla Martin

Orla Martin

telling themselves on the bus going home what great poets they are and so much better than the rest. I agree (and anyway it’s just plain bad manners) and am so glad Niall wasn’t around to see me slip out because of my ‘pressing reasons! Lots of other readers, too numerous to mention, (though because this venue has really grown since I first came to it in Bowes Pub across the road in Fleet Street. This goes to show that if  venue is well organised and stays the course and (above all) is regular and advertised it will survive and prosper. Great credit to the Seven Towers organisation for keeping the show on the road.

our genial host

our genial host

some of our genial audience

some of our genial audience

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