Friday, June 18, 2010

Enniscorthy 1500 : Scalderverse

Hi there - back again after tramping around in the cyberwilderness for a few weeks. Lots going on - much of it tiresome, some of it beautiful. And now THIS!

I reckoned I should pay some attention to the weird synchronicity that arose during a recent Poetry Bus prompt. As a native of Enniscorthy, I've always been conscious of the amount of writing talent that has emerged from the town and its hinterland. So I had a chat with the good Tom Mooney, editor of local newspaper the Enniscorthy Echo, and Paul O'Reilly, driving force behind Scallta Media, publisher of local writing and music - and this is what we came up with;

Enniscorthy 1500 : Scalderverse : Call for Submissions

Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford is currently celebrating the 1500th anniversary of its foundation in 510AD. As part of the anniversary celebrations, local newspaper the Enniscorthy Echo will feature a weekly poetry column, entitled Scalderverse. (Natives of Enniscorthy town are traditionally known as ‘Scalders’. A punnet of best Wexford strawberries to anybody who can categorically explain why?)

This weekly column will feature a poem by a local writer - or which references some aspect of the town itself - in each issue of the Echo from mid-June to end of November 2010. A pamphlet of these poems may also be produced at the end of the year.

While a number of established poets have been invited to partake, it is intended that the majority of poems will be sourced by open submission from emerging writers from the town and its surroundings. Unpublished poems reflecting contemporary life in Enniscorthy are particularly welcome.

Poets from further afield are also welcome to submit poems which specifically reference some aspect of Enniscorthy or its surroundings.

Scalderverse will be curated - and occasionally illustrated - by Padhraig Nolan in association with Scallta Media and the Enniscorthy Echo.

NOTE : There is a production limitation of 40 lines of verse, including stanza breaks, for each poem. A maximum of three poems, with a short biographical note, should be emailed for consideration to scalderverse[at_symbol] before July 15th.


We kicked off with the first Scalderverse column this week, featuring - with the kind permission of The Ollamh Himself - Heaney's Requiem for the Croppies. An auspicious start! And we have new poems to come from Eamonn Wall and Anthony Cronin, amongst others.

It's fantastic to have some serious established names featuring - but the exciting thing for me is seeing what might come from poets whose names I'm not familiar with. I'm particularly keen to see work which speaks about contemporary life in the town and its environs - so if any of you out there have something that fits the bill - please do submit!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Pavilion Theatre : The Caretaker

Went along to Pavilion Theatre last night to catch London Classic Theatre's production of The Caretaker, by Harold Pinter. Nicholas Gasson (above) was excellent as the garrulous tramp Davies, and fellow cast members Nicholas Gadd (Mick) and Richard Stemp (Aston) were also top notch in their roles - tightly wound performances all round, restrained and energetic in the right measures. Coupled with a tidily cluttered staging, it made for a real treat of a performance.

I'm currently reading Louis MacNeice's Varieties of Parable. In his introduction, he makes reference to the Theatre of the Absurd - Brecht, Beckett, Pinter & Co. - and this play in particular, saying;

"I could certainly 'identify', as they say, with either of the tramps in Waiting for Godot or, disgusting though he is, with Krapp in Krapp's Last Tape. And in Pinter I could identify with any one of the three characters in The Caretaker."

Funny to think of MacNeice enjoying this play - he seems to belong to such a different, previous world than Pinter. Easy to forget that The Caretaker was first staged in April 1960 - so we're just past the 50th anniversary(!) of this modern classic.

It is indeed possible to identify with all three characters. In fact, by play's end - after all the doubt, chattering, distraction, sprained intentions, tragic echoes and curtailed geographies - there's a distinct feeling that all three are aspects of one individual psyche. Id, Ego and Super-ego perhaps - though which is which could be a whole other conversation.

The Caretaker is at the Pavilion again tonight, before heading to the Old Courthouse Antrim from tomorrow, June 2nd. Highly recommended.