Lots of poetry and prose material on display at ‘The Hammersmith Ram’ pub in London last Sunday evening (22nd August), hosted by myself as MC. I started things off by explaining how Seven Towers hoped to have a regular event at the Pub, building on this evening and the one we had some months ago. A mixture of guests and open mic. I read some of my poem ‘So Where Do You Expect to Find Poetry?’ (from my collection ‘And Suddenly the Sun Again’) which attempts a potted summary of the trials and tribulations of engaging in ‘open micery’ and its importance against a background of jaded, formally organised poetry readings. We had great fun at the Ram, and ‘formality’ was not much in evidence.
Beth Pearce provided a very poignant and touching poem ‘Grandad’ which attempted a warts and all portrait of someone very dear to her. This a difficult thing to pull off, the temptation being to indulge in too much praise, or be so reluctant to criticise that the criticism is swallowed up under the praise. Beth’s poem (which I heard before at London’s ‘Poetry Unplugged’) gets the balance right. She also gave us some new poems, some still in construction. This is a feature of open mics: the stuff doesn’t have to be complete or finished. Just coherent enough to take the interest of the audience. Of course, ‘completed’ (and just when is a poem ever ‘completed’?) work is always a bonus. I liked her ‘We Don’t Need Another Charity Poem’ which reminded me of my own ‘I’m Sorry for the Grunts Get Killed’ (in ‘And Suddenly the Sun Again’) in the way that she underlines how fed up one can become of sanctimonious poetry.
Graham Buchan delivered several fine poems (just about as ‘completed’ as poems could be, I think) including ‘Bad’, an interesting
study of how you summarise for very young people (his daughter) the terrible things that are going on in the world. You know you’ll go over their heads by ranting about despots and dictators and genocides, so you just tell them that these things are bad. You know they will, in time, discover the details for themselves, unfortinately. Lots of other stuff from Graham, whose humorously ironic traits came out very much in ‘My Gaudi House’. He also had a very funny poem called ‘Radio Pussycat’ in whch he spoke of ‘prattling discjockeys’ and I feared that my next guest Steve Conway might take ofence and leave me with a vacant slot, but no…
Takes a lot to offend Steve. He was up next to give another reading of his story ‘Schroedingers Cat’ which I heard before in Dublin and which I am just now beginning to understand (everyone else understands it immediately, it seems. Oh, well…). Too complex a narrative to summarise here,but really enjoyable to hear (even if you are little slow…). Basically its about a cat being in a box… and not being in a box. I know. I can’t help you. Great story, though.
Seamus Harrington turned up to lend his support and to give us his brand of light verse and some wel- crafted rhymes. His poem ‘Ringsend is a feat of rhymes and puns. I finished the night with my ‘When People Say’ poem, which is one of those poems you don’t put much store in but people regularly call for it.
A great night, and let’s hope this event can get underway on regular basis soon. You can find out how things are going in this blog and also at www.seventowers.ie
And of course a great big huge thanks to the staff of the Hammersmith Ram who were very welcoming to us and our event.