Be pepared to be AFRAID. Very AFRAID… No, no! Come back! … It’s not that bad! But plenty to listen to (click HERE) as regards poetic and prose-poetic offerings for the season that’s in it. Anne Tannam, Bernie O’Reilly, Pauline Fayne, John W. Sexton, Karl Parkinson and Anne Morgan deliver some haunting moments (pun intended) in Chapters Bookstore. Oran Ryan from the Seven Towers Agency does the MC honours and the reading was broadcast on Liffey Sound 96.4 FM  last Tuesday (18.10.2011) on my programme ‘Behind the Lines’ (every Tuesday 8.00pm and available on the station website  Because of the podcast time restriction I couldn’t squeeze in Ross Hattaway. I will include him another time. He  also had some fine work to deliver on the evening. Click on the podcast (see above) and see what you think.

Oran, Ross and John W.

Last week’s Seven Tower’s themed reading at Chapters Bookstore in Dublin was on

Bernie O'Sullivan

‘Animals’ and first into the fray was Karl Parkinson with his City Sonata, a poem which mentions gulls and so, if you consider gulls as animals… but who cares. What a great poem it is (‘ I sing the city into exsitence from my dreaming…’). Also a new poem called ‘Fishing’. Eileen Keane gave an excerpt from a story in which a cat figures prominently (very good, but I’m somewhat damaged as to ‘cats’, having endured an awful lot about ‘Kilkenny cats’ during the previous week). Then Bernie O’Reilly with some poems, among which one with a moral: don’t creep around the house late at night looking for cheese. OK, Bernie. Point taken. Richard Halperinon a brief visit from Paris read from his book ‘Anniversary’ and one published in that

Oran Ryan

new magazine ‘The Moth’ which I’m never able to find anywhere. John Sexton gave a powerful rendering of ‘The Green Owl’ and some others. Terrific stuff. I found shades of Bukowski in his (John’s)  ‘The Invisible Horses’. Alma Brayden read from her ‘Prism’ book and then Oran Ryan described how ‘Alexander Wormgrind Saved the World’ and Phil Lynch came up with a polemical poem referring to those now far off days of the Economic Boom (remember?). I was last (but of course not least) with poems about cats, dogs (‘The Dogs in the Street…’  from my book ‘And Suddenly the Sun Again’) and rats. Veryenjoyable to read and to listen. Next month (Thurs 13th Oct) the theme is ‘Ghosts and Ghouls’ in keeping with the month that will be in it. Come along and have a great evening.


The theme was ‘Arrival & Departure’ at this Seven Towers reading in Chapters Bookstore in Parnell Street in Dublin. Karl Parkinson set things going with that ‘Mountjoy Jail’  poem of his which features earthy descriptions of a chap being released from the clink, a fellow you would NOT like to meet up a dark alleyway. His recent New York tour (… tour. Like that, Karl?) inspired his ‘New York Fragment‘ in which the line ‘ Brooklyn Lager tastes like any other lager…’ just about sums up the NY hype. Great stuff, as always.

Bernie O’Reillygave some homely poems (to settle us down after Karl), one called


”Wisconsin’ and another in memory of that late great Dublin ‘character’ The Diceman. Also one about a floating candle she put some effort into making and then… it just sailed away from her! … That’s life, Bernie. Steve Conway read his very sensual ‘ballon story’ ‘Bristol Awakening’ and Bob Shakeshaft gave poems entitled ‘Dying Embers’, ‘Adam’s Soil’ and from the Census anthology ‘It Is Autumn Full’, a very evocative, pastoral piece. Oran Ryan, ever modest, didn’t bring anything but borrowed Bob’s Census to read his ‘1947 Prelininary Design for a Universe Circling Spaceship’ an enigmatic journey into a future world.


I tried out my latest ‘The Canals of Mars’ plus‘The Coming Back’


and (another new) ‘Railway Crossing’. I found a few things in the last-named which need tightening-up. All in all a very enjoyable session, MC’d with the usual aplomb by Sarah Lundberg. The next themed reading will be on Thursday Sept 15 at 6.30 on the subject of ‘Animals’. Come along and join the fun.



A reading today at the Twisted Pepper Cafe in Middle Abbey Street, Dublin at 3.00pm organised by Seven Towers: Noel Duffy, Pauline Fayne, Eamonn Lynskey and Alma Brayden. Noel read from his book (sorry didn’t get name of , yet), including a poem focusing in bees and their intricate social organisation. Pauline obliged with some from her recently published book ‘Mowing in the Dark‘ (Revival Press 2011) and Alma read from her book ‘Prism’ (Seven Towers 2011) and some some new work.  I also read some new work with which I am just now wrestling. Oran Ryan did duty as facilitator. There is a fine range of Irish publications on sale at this venue every Saturday. More to the


point, it is here you will get absolutely up-to the minute work, some of it ‘hot off the press’, like Pauline’s book (which is really good). Another opportunity to here up-to-the minute scribblings is next Wednesday (27th July) at the regular Seven Towers Last Wednesday Open Mic (same venue) which starts at 7.30 pm. See you there!!!

Spent this last week in Kinsale where the Arts Festival was in full swing. Providentially amazing sunny weather which certainly did NOT detract from the various enjoyments. Got to hear Denis O’Driscoll read in the Lord Kingsale pub and was, as always, taken by his quirky humour in ‘Misunderstandind and Musak’ and many other poems. Lots of local talent followed, including Matthew Sweeney, but unfortunately I had to leave. Family!

Later on attended a ticketed event at the Carmelite Friary where Derek Mahon introduced Harry Clifton. Apart from his great stuff I was glad to hear Harry say that his recent appointment as ‘Irish Professor of Poetry’ (apparently making him the equivalent of Irish ‘poet laureate’) seemed to him like a huge wheel which, when he stepped onto  it, seemed to want to wheel him off in its own directions. BUT that he resisted! He read some early poems and from ‘Secular Eden’, his paris-based book and his  delivery showed he still has not yet developed the ‘poetry voice’ but reads clearly and directly to his audience. His explanatory remarks and introductions also were well judged and not, as is so often the case, tedious. It was a very well received reading . Very professional while not being too distant.  

 Also got to see a ‘music prodigy’, or at least I don’t know just how one would otherwise describe Ben Burton who, at 18 years of age gave a concert at the Carmelite Church on Friday 15th which was wonderful. Bach, Rimsky-Korsakov and many others (I am too ignorant to have heard of) on the xylophone and marimba. The MC told us that Ben, who studied at the County Cork VEC School of Music, will leave Kinsale in September to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. No surprise there! What a great musician he is.  Full credit too to his friends Alex Peyton and Mark O’Sullivan who accompanied him.

Kinsale is a very attractive town. Colour everywhere and real friendliness. Traffic is a bit horrific, and parking… well, let’s not go there. But you can’t blame the town: those winding ‘olde worlde’ streets were not meant for cars. It is very pleasant to walk around and look into the shops, which are many and varied. Great artwork on display too everywhere. Great beaches too and lots of activities for everyone. And, no, I’m not getting a brown envelope for saying all this. It’s just the honest truth! I really enjoyed myself. And I’ll be back!

Another Seven Towers reading in Chapters Bookshop in Parnell Street, Dublin at 6.30pm, this time on the theme of ‘Green Shoots’.

Liz McSkeane

The evening was MC’d by my good(?)self and I led off with a poem featuring daffodils. Nothing original there but Liz McSkeane had a new short story

Maeve O'Sullivan

and then Maeve O’Sullivan delivered some poems and then some Haiku. By the way,  Maeve’s book of Haiku is being launched at the Teachers Club (just up the road from Chapters in Parnell Square) on Thursday 14th of April at 6.30 so make a note! Bernie O’Reilly then provided some of her short poems and showed a copy of ‘Static Poetry’, a new publication in which she is represented. Congratulations, Bernie. Ann Morgan then read some of her work, followed by the multi-talented Oral Martin. Things looked like being a walkover for the ladies so I (being MC) persuaded Karl Parkinson to go on next (you know how shy he is?). His ‘Positivity Manifesto’ went down really well, as always.

Ann Morgan

Ross Hattaway finished up the evening with some ‘old’poems and some new poems from his forthcoming collection (‘Pretending to be Dead’) and then a terrific poem from a New Zealand poet Meg Campbell. This poem linked a quickening in the womb with the quickening underneath the earth’s crust when an earthquake occurs. Great stuff.

Thanks again to Chapters Bookshop for hosting this event which was enjoyed by all.