One thing I couldn’t miss was the Poetry Ireland Open Mic at the Unitarian Church on St. Stephens Green (partly because I’d promised to turned up and read). I got there just after 8pm - it had been going strong since 6. Not sure what I missed, but I think some of the IMRAM Irish language poets featured earlier in the evening.
It was a great event, with a wide variety of poets, ranging from grand-old-man-of-letters, Ulick O’Connor, to slam poet ‘Chippy’ from Austin Texas, including members of the Valentines Writers Group, Valerie Bowe, Helena Nolan (who features in the new Stinging Fly anthology) an Israeli poet named Ari (i think), Strong Award winner Dave Lordan and some of the regulars from the Poetry Ireland forum - Windhover and Desmond Swords. All sorts of poems and reading styles were on display. There was even a brief spot of heckling for a solemn, verbatim reading of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ (offered up as a found poem, I guess?). The fact that it was also International-talk-like-a-pirate-day was celebrated repeatedly and I won a nice bottle of wine as a spot prize (Result!) before things eventually wound down at 11pm.
I read three of my poems (timeslots were tight!); By The Connigar (below), Dispatches (which you can read here) and Tiding - all of which seemed to go down well;
By The Connigar
In town, inland above the banks Below the spire, the frozen hand of Father Murphy points to sites for sale
To the seal at Knocknasillogue Which is there and then gone Slipping into memory like the vision
That a son has of the father Head back, canines on display Under sifting cliffs one lost dog day.
Thanks to the good folk at Poetry Ireland for organising a really memorable and enjoyable evening. Now, what to do for All-Ireland Poetry Day?