Monday, September 22, 2008

Culture Night – Poetry Ireland Open Mic

Culture Night seems to have gone very well in Dublin, judging from my brief wander around Dublin 2 and Temple Bar after work. Lots of people about – particularly many young families. A couple of popular highlights seemed to be the Artbots exhibit at the Science Gallery and the printmaking workshops at the Original Print Gallery. There was so much on it was impossible to take in everything – still didn’t see that Art of Chess exhibition at the Sebastian Guinness Gallery.

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?