Wednesday, March 31, 2010

South Studios : It ALL Rocks

Soooooooo - the auld brain's a bit fritzed since Sunday - so this will be somewhat scrambled.

The image above is my contribution to the DrawErs project mentioned in the previous post. This was painted from scratch last Friday 26th March, between 11am and 5pm at South Studios on a cheapo, flatpack set of drawers from IKEA (which I'd assembled beforehand).

I was heading out to the DLR Poetry Now festival to hear Justin Quinn, Luljeta Lleshanku and Philip Gross read at 6.30, so I had to miss the exhibition and social shenanigans that evening. Which is a bummer. Because there was free beer. And nice people. And good craic. And the Drawers all looked brilliant by the look of things - as you can see here.

BUT! (and its a big one) Poetry Now delivered yet again, with a weekend of striking and diverse voices. Which is why my head is still a-bit-a-babble. Of that particular reading, Philip Gross stood out as a remarkably concise and measured communicator - meticulous, almost hesitant, in the formation of ideas - drawn from the closest inspection of the simplest details of the world, natural and otherwise. Quinn worried me a bit at the outset. Poems about his home turf of Blackrock (the park in particular) felt a bit pedestrian to these ears. He was on better territory when he moved to inner landscapes - more physically immediate than nostalgic - like a great wee poem about being punched in the balls by a four-year-old who states (love this) "that's the Batman way". Striking indeed.

Lleshanaku seemed to have some gem-like ideas coming through, relating to the person and the person-to-person, but her grasp of English wasn't the best (helluvalot better than my Albanian, obviously) and her mic technique combined to let her down a bit - moreso on the poems themselves than when setting context, unfortunately - so most of what I got was fragmentary. So, a fitful start to a smashing festival.

More later - still decompressing.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

South Studios : Roomful of Drawers

Lots happening at the moment. Not much time for blogging of late.

Looking forward to the upcoming dlr Poetry Now festival which kicks off this Thursday. Not, alas, contributing to the graphics this year - can't win them all - but the line-up is cracking, including this year's TS Eliot winner Philip Gross and The Man Muldoon (who was speaking on RTE Radio the other night).

Delighted to have landed a place in Vona Groarke's writing workshop! I very much enjoyed Groarke's recent-ish collection Juniper Street and her overall tone in general, so quite excited about hearing her read AND getting some tips (hopefully).

I'll be busy this Friday daytime, taking part in Drawers - an exciting collaboration between the Illustrators of Guild of Ireland and South Studios. Organised by IGI colleague Steve Doogan, this event sees a whole bunch of illustrators, artists, designers etc. coming together to customise a wee chest of drawers from IKEA. Not the same one, mind you - we'll do one each.

Friday evening, you are all invited to drop into South Studios for a beer and to check out what all these drawers look like after the creative frenzy. All (?) will be for sale - so this could be a chance to pick up a genuinely original piece of furniture for your bedroom, office, studio, friend etc. I'll have to dash off to Dún Laoghaire for the 6.30 reading, but my piece will be on show.

The drawers are on show/sale for one day only and should be well worth a look.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Poetry Bus : Monday Poem

This week's Poetry Bus prompt is the wonderful couplet "She was wearing Stella McCartney /I was drinking Stella Artois".

As tempting a prospect as it was to flesh out this tale of designer gear and Belgian beer, I found myself tugged in a more imagistic direction - as follows;


I was struck
not by a star nor that quality
about her

stuck nonetheless
my frozen face before
the heat of her

jaw slack, molten
mouthful held stock still

grazing suspended

shocked as a calf
witnessing this meteorite
plough my pasture

© P Nolan 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Winding Stair : Vintage Irish Book Covers

Anyone interested in retro book design, illustration or the history of Irish publishing would do well to check out this nice little show curated by Niall McCormack’s blog Hitone: Vintage Irish Book Covers.

“The good people in The Winding Stair Bookshop have been kind enough to ask me to put together a small exhibition of Irish book cover design. The exhibition, which will feature a small selection of books published between the thirties and seventies, will be on display in the shop for two weeks from Saturday 13th March. All of the books have been selected for their striking cover artwork. The Winding Stair Bookshop is at 40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1.”

Details: Irish Book Cover Art 1930s – 1970s

March 13th – 27th, 2010

at The Winding Stair Bookshop

40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1

Niall does a nice job of book cover and poster design himself - check out his work.

Via The Small Print.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

United Arts Club : Life Drawing Exhibition

I've spoken before about the Thursday Life Drawing group at the United Arts Club, which I attend as regularly as possible. This Thursday, March 11th, sees the launch of our annual exhibition of drawings at that venue. It's always a fun evening - an enjoyable and interesting opportunity to view (and purchase) a selection of drawings by a wide variety of artists. Consider yourself invited!

The show launches at 8pm and runs until March 29th - viewing Monday to Saturday from 5.30pm (as the UAC bar / gallery only currently opens only during the evening).

The piece above is one of two drawings that I'm exhibiting, and there'll also be work by Comhghall Casey, PJ Lynch, Aisling Dolan, Michael McWilliams, Eoin Coveney and many, many more talented people, including Brian Gallagher, who runs this drawing group.

Brian also has an interesting solo show launching next week at the Signal Arts Centre in Bray.

** UPDATE ** My IGI colleague Mario Sughi has posted some photos of the life drawing exhibition launch here.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Poetry Bussing : Training Day

Totalfeckineejit's Poetry Bus rolls along, forming an integrated public transport interlink with this weeks theme, "TRAINS". What with all the connections, I though I might as well get the ferry in there too (well, being honest, this particular image was in the old headnotebook a while now). So - no planes, no automobiles, but rail, sea and myth are present and quite possibly correct;


Winter early afternoon
the wane of waxy light

Off the west pier a ferry clots from fog
seethes beyond the carriage pane

Hybrasil unmoored and restless
looming into town for the weekend

© P Nolan 2010

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Illustrators ireland : February 2010

As I've said elsewhere, the current post over on is sooooooooooo good!

This selection of recent work from members of the Illustrators Guild of Ireland shows that Irish illustration is alive, kicking and running laps with aplomb, all the time reciting poetry aloud in several different languages with charm, grace and a splash of tabasco! I love the image above, by Belfast illustrator Jonathan McHugh - but there's a shedload of other varied and beautiful images too - so check it out!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Magpie Tales : Photo Prompt Poem.

Magpie Tales is another blog running a regular photo prompt for aspiring writers to throw an eye over and see what results. Here's my first stab at this week's 'weighty' topic;


Days build like scales

each a measure, particular unto itself

accumulating combined heft

new weight thrums to composition

chiming into place a melody

which, in twining towards the familiar

cools to a carapace

© P Nolan 2010

Monday, March 01, 2010

Poetry Bussing : Monday Poem

Our good friend Totalfeckineejit continues to navigate new territory with his Poetry Bus. This week its all about the big question. As Prince might put it; Dearly beloved / We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called life / Electric word life / It means forever and that's a mighty long time / But I'm here 2 tell u
There's something else / The afterworld.

So, in the spirit of the ehhhh.... spirit, I give you;


This ill wind they talk about

that blows some good about the place

while making a hames of all in its path

- you know the one? I think it's on the way.

My worry is this - how to get a grip

on the benevolent margins of the thing

without being swept up in the chaos.

Sounds easy, doesn't it?

No. Not really, you say.

That sounds tricky as hell.

You'd have to be some class of stormchaser

decked out with sensors, anemometers

Shining colanders with flashing lights

a wig of wires to helmet yourself

beneath the fury

- improve your chances, like?

Perhaps a freelance synaesthete for good measure

sifting various temperatures of threat

aflame under rosepaned spectacles

rating risk by hue

the findings a flittered book of scribble

to be reviewed once the storm has fled

and the land calmed.

© P Nolan 2010