Thursday, July 17, 2008

Merrion Square Suntrap?

I made it over to the National Gallery of Ireland yesterday for the third in their series of lunchtime poetry readings during July, in association with Poetry Ireland. I was disappointed to miss the first two due to being abroad - featuring Vona Groarke and Eavan Boland, whose reading kicked off the series.

Yesterday's event featured Catherine Phil MacCarthy, a steadfast presence on the Irish scene; poet, novelist, editor and teacher of creative writing. True to form, her reading, like her work overall, was confident, understated and elegant - occasionally breaching consistently high levels of quality to achieve some remarkably moving passages, as in the chilling poem 'Ultrasound'. Personal highlights were a poem called 'The Deluge', which paired the whimsy of a barrage of Beanie Babies (neighbouring children breaching garden defences) against more biblical considerations. MacCarthy finished up with another fine piece, The Opal, available to read on the poet's website, along with other works from her recent collection 'Suntrap'.

Next up in the series is Gerald Smyth, reading on Weds 23rd July and Harry Clifton brings the series to a close on Weds 30th July. The readings are advertised as being in Room 21 (The Portrait Gallery) but yesterday's took place in the lecture theatre (in the basement). I'd guess they'll remain there. Also some mention of a poetry evening at the NGI this autumn - sounds interesting! Meanwhile, this series is a pleasant lunchtime interlude for anybody in the Dublin 2 area during July.