Because it was near Hallowe’en the theme was ‘Ghosts and Ghouls’ for this Seven Towers reading in Chapters Bookshop in Dublin last Thursday. Steve Conway led off with the story of a ghostly encounter on the old road from Dublin to Cork (I suppose the M50 is far too dangerous for any kind of havering these days?). Pauline Fayne followed with an early draft of a ‘witching’ poem and some others, also quite eerie. Bernie O’Reilly had a number of short poems, including that one about writers being like vampires, coming out at night, and one with the refrain ‘There is a Haunting Here’. And Bob Shakeshaft with ‘Bleak House’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’ was right on the theme. Karl Parkinson included a long poem about cosmic wars and that poem which landscapes Dublin, with the
‘Prophet’ emerging at the end with his tambourine and mantra. Eileen Keane had a short prose piece ‘Forbidden Fruit’ about a chap being pulled into a picture he’s viewing in the National Gallery. (You have been warned!). Also a piece she (modestly) calls a bit of ‘rambling thoughts’, but which I call a very interesting essay, on the origins of Hallowe’en and other related matters. I like her low-key matter-of-fact way of delivering her work without histrionics and hysterics. Finally, Oran Ryan delivered a really gripping story about the slide into dementia.
I was very short on Ghouls, but contributed on the theme of ‘Ghosts’ by reading my longish poem ‘Statue Park’, from my book ‘And Suddenly the Sun Again’, which is full of the shadows of my communist/socialist past. And I don’t quite know why it is that people find my life’s travails so amusing. I thought this was a serious poem when I wrote it, but any time I’ve read it out my audience seems to think otherwise. Well, the audience is king, I know… but still and all… Must be the way I tell ’em?
Thanks again to Chapters Bookshop for the space and to Sarah for doing MC. It was a great session, with so many people having loads of stuff on ghosts and ghouls and hauntings and eerie things in general. Does this tell you something about writers? Maybe Bernie is right…