This lunchhour reading at Chapters Bookshoop (Parnell Street, Dublin), organised by Seven Towers brought us the poetry of Alma Brayden and Tony Gilmore. Alma is also a painter and this is very evident in her poetry: the visual elements are always sharp and clear. She read from her collection ‘Prism’ (Seven Towers 2010) starting with ‘The Ineagh Valley’ which is as close to being the blueprint for a painting as you will get… besides being a fine poem in itself. She continued with this rural landscape with ‘Aran’ and then abruptly changed the scenery with ‘Towels from Egypt’ and then back home again for ‘Bulloch habour’. She finished with ‘Papillon’ and ‘His Castle’, the latter a very poignant piece about that dreaded moment when people want you to leave your home and go somewhere you would be better looked-after. Alma’s poetry is the poetry of the balanced word and the carefully chosen phrase and I like it a lot. I also like her cool, straightforward delivery which allows the poems to speak for themselves.
Tony Gilroy featured in ‘Living Streets’, last year’s anthology of the Ranelagh Arts Festival and today gave some new writings, firstly a long semi-autobiographical poem and then ‘Not Looking at Anyone’, followed by ‘Storm Coming’. I found this last-named most impressive, with its very exact descriptions of the gathering tempest as the poet walks along Dollymount Strand. And what a great description of that old poetry chestnut ‘the rainbow’ (‘…my heart leaps when I behold…’)… only Tony did it all up afresh and with stunning effect. A great poem with lots of almabraydenesque coloour. ‘He Didn’t Know What to Do’ was a very moving poem about a friend who passed away and the last poem was ‘All the Trees’.
Both books mentioned are available from Chapter Bookshop and from www.seventowers.ie