Jane Robinson opened proceedings with a sonnet and a sestina. I admire poets who can handle these forms, though I prefer a more free-flowing style (is this because I’m no good at sonnets, sestinas, villanelles, etc.? probably). Lots of readers, as this is a very popular venue. Outstanding, among some really good stuff on the nght, was Steve Conway with his ‘Schroedinger’s Bus’ story. Intriguing and amusing, it has to do with simultaneous presences, quantum phenomena and … buses. You’ll have to read it (or hear it) to believe it. Patricia O’Callaghan made her Open Mic debut, herfirst time at the Last Wednesday night anyway with ‘Philosophy in Paper Bags’, a poem about workmen taking lunch, and some other poems from her collection (‘The Tailor’s Shop’) published by Lapwing 2008. Eileen Keane read the beginnings of a novel and both Niamh Bagnell and Andre Kapoor gave versions of that rap style which is deleivered without script and with intricate rhymes. Andre’s poem concerned ‘beauty’ but of the kind found in true professionalism, and his example was Tommy Cooper, the English comedian who died on stage during a performance. The audience did not realise it at the time and thought it was joke. and kept laughing. I think Tommy would have been very happy with that. The night finished up with another newcomer, David O’Riordan, who did a piece on the way the word ‘Legend’ has ended up as a cliche, since it is used so often to describe the most banal of things that it has by now become meaningless. I like poems that focus on the language we use, and how we use it.
Back on air with ‘Finnegan’, Edward Delaney’s one-hour programme (Fridays 9.00-10.00pm on Digital Hub FM 94.3) of discussion, music and poetry. At the moment one can only listen to it live on the website, but we are working to set up the archive.
Edward, Micheal Mac Aonghusa and myself are looking forward to another few weeks of enjoyable broadcasting. Last Friday I read out a poem called ‘OHM’ which has just this week been published in ‘Shop’ magazine (I will set it up in the ‘My Poetry’ section as soon as possible) and all three of us had something to say about Thierry Henry, somethings he mightn’t like to hear!
Chapters Bookshop again and another evening reading organised by the indomitable Sarah Lunsberg of Seven Towers. An array of readers, including Bob Shakeshaft, who included a poem about homelessness in his reading, as did Anne Morgan. It’s coming up to that time of year after all when the weather can be particularly hard on those condemned to the streets. Eileen Keane read a story and Ross Hattawayhad an ‘armistce-day’ style poem. Bernie O’ Reilly gave a few of her poems from direct experience (‘…and that is why it’s best to start/To write a diary of the heart…’). Anamaria Crowe Serrano (what a terrific name!) had one about a climber friend who misjudged global warning, and with tragic consequences and Maeve O’Sullivan read one called ‘Class of 84’ about the death of Lennon. (According to Maeve, a lot of people remember where they were when the news came, just like when Kennedy was assassinated… I myself don’t link up with Lennon’s death, though with Kennedy’s yes, and 9/11).
Steve Conway finished off with another adventure from his days on the high seas with Radio Caroline and, with all these madcap adventures on board ship, perhaps we’re beginning to wonder how much actual ‘work’ was being done!.. Only joking, Steve! (you can find out for yourself by buying ‘Shiprocked – Life on the waves with Radio Caroline’, published by Liberties Press). My own contribution was the suitably chilling ‘Snowqueen’ from my first collection, an a poem about January (same collection) and a poem simply entitled ‘Winter’ from Ray pospisil’s posthumous collection ‘The Bell’, published by Seven Towers. All in all a very enjoyable and as usual eschewing po-faced formality and very well attended.
I see, by the way, that my first collection, referred to above, (‘Dispatches and Recollections’, published by Lapwing, 1998) is available on Amazon, so if you are really curious…
I have probably left out a few people in this short account and so to them… sorry! Get you next time!
‘County Lines’ – a portrait of life in South Dublin County, edited by Dermot Bolger
Last Thursday saw the launch, in Tallaght Library, of a series of audio books by the local studies section. There are eight books in all and a contribution from me appears in one of them, the ‘County Lines’ book (the book was originally published by New Island press). It’s entitled ‘Oh Brave New World!’ and concerns the heady enthusiastic first few years when Kathy and I moved into our semidetached house in Hillcrest, Lucan, and I began writing ‘in earnest’. Many of the poems from that period featured in my first collectoion from Lapwing (‘Dispatches and Recollections’ 1998). It’s that sort of book, full of memories and bits and pieces of personal and communal history. It’s very well produced and I am proud to be in it alongside my neighbours. Full marks to Dermot Bolger, who initiated the project, and to the readers Emer Horgan and Jonathen White who did such a good job on bringing the pieces to life.