First time I was down since ‘Ra’ changed its name to ‘The Tongue Box’. What hasn’t changed is the date (every last Tuesday) and the venue (The Cobblestone on North King Street, Dublin) and the great enegy and variety in the line-up of acts. Raven (photo left: organiser and MC) has taken to Surrealism in a big way and every session sends around a scroll on which everyone can write a line (or more) without reading what has been written before. This is the ‘Exquisite Corpse’ (a kind of word game the Surrealists invented sometime in the 1920s… yes indeed, great ideas didn’t start yesterday). You are allowed to see the last line or two written, then you add your own. Raven reads out the results (so far) each session and the results are intriquing, startling and — incredibly–even make some logical sense in parts.
While this (apparent) nonsense is going on… so are the acts. I said ‘variety’ and by God I meant
it! Raven himself, followed by (and eventually accompanied by) a cellist, Claire Fitch who herself had some really beautiful pieces of music (she plays in the Kilkenny Arts Festival on August 7th). Then me, flogging my book ‘And Suddenly the Sun Again’ (published by Seven Towers) and adding a few new poems just in case anyone thought my particualr show was over with this publication. Then Raven again with his ‘Taxi Dancers’ poem, sad and well worth hearing. The band ‘Jezzebelle’ was up next (www.jezzebellemusic.com) and what great songs they have, which they told us you can download on iTunes . Dave Lordan came on then with his new book ‘Invitation to a Sacrifice’ (published by Salmon) on sale and with a great poem (among others) about ‘Hecklers’, delivered in his uncompomising ‘Lordanesque’ style. Another poem from him (‘A Resurrection in Charlesland’) was about the recession and was bang up to date as regards the economic mess our economic experts have got us into. There was also an American poet, Helen Parsons (whose book is available in the ‘The Winding Stair’ on Bachelors Walk). And Sandra Harris delivered her no-holds-barred treatment of sexual practices, welcome or otherwise to the poet. What great control of regular rhyme and rhythm she has! All my own rhyming, almost without exception is accidental and yes this has its own dynamic, but I admire those poets who have an ear for the deliberate conscious rhyming that seems to flow so naturally. Also very good was Helen McNulty’s rendering of Whitman’s ‘Trumpeter’ poem, really made all the better by the presence of a ‘real, live’ trumpeter (whose name, regretfully, I did not catch. There were poems and songs too from Declan McGauran.
So, what did I tell you about variety? AND quality too. Great night. And all the better for the 8.30 pm start. Hope it keeps to that!