Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Glór Session : Poetry Bus vs. Soundings

Went along to The Glór Session last night for the official launch of The Poetry Bus, issue 1. A brilliant evening! There were poets in abundance, most of whom read their poem from the magazine, another piece or two of their own and their choice of poem from the recently reissued, much loved school anthology Soundings. Publishers Gill & Macmillan donated a number of copies for the raffle - and I was lucky enough to take one home - Yay! My old schooldays copy has long since disappeared, so it's a treat to have a chance to revisit the texts in this snapshot of a shared past.

The video above is me doing my bit at Glór, followed by the wonderful Carol Boland doing hers, as well as reading a note from Poetry Bus editor Peadar O'Donoghue who unfortunately couldn't make it along on the night.

I had a great chat with Carol about her involvement in running the Space Inside arts nights in Wicklow town, as well as her foray into publishing, with the Boland Press due to launch its first(?) title on December 1st in the Signal Arts Centre in Bray - so mark your diaries! Great too, to chat with some of the other Poetry Bus poets who read, including Kate Dempsey, Colm Keegan, Niamh Bagnell, Mags Treanor and many more. Hugely inspiring, and the magazine sold like hot, tasty cakes on a wet November night - which bodes well for its future.

The session was run (as always) with great gusto and good humour by the man himself, Stephen James Smyth. Many thanks Stephen, for a great vibe and a great night. There's loads more video of this and past Glór Sessions over here.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Poetry Bus : Bath time

It's been a while since I've hopped onboard the Poetry Bus. Preoccupied of late. This weeks prompt comes from Jessica Maybury, over yonder, and has to do with bathrooms, water, swimming etc. Great prompt - some of the best thinking gets done in the bath - but I was all at sea for a bit (a soak is a luxury I haven't had for a while) - no Eureka moment. Instead came a short meditation on the room itself (as society?).

Here it be;


Our bathroom's going down the crapper
tiles ungrouted, mildew on the ceiling,
run-off from the bathrim pisses on the bare marine ply floor
each time the shower is used

a topograph of littered towels claim corner territories as their own
contoured lumps, damp and rank
wary of exasperated hunters blundering in
to bundle them at last into the wash

some bright morning, sunlight will see
the hot tap wink and all these grimy spells will break
with towels rebirthed as heroes born aloft, their
clear expressions creasing widely, hugging all, folded, soft

they'll hunker neatly, muffling all doubt,
dispelling damp and disarray, the lack of DIY shrugged off
until, decks cleared, we'll set our faces to the glass
pipe ourselves a welcome, all shipshape once again
from figurehead to ass.

© P Nolan 2010

Don't forget, it's the OFFICIAL LAUNCH of the Poetry Bus, Issue 1 TONIGHT!!! At the Glór Sessions, with readings by Poetry Bus poets - as well as readings from the newly re-issued Soundings. Should be a good one!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

That Dutch Dude : Cor Klaasen

Tonight sees the opening of a retrospective exhibition of the work of Irish-based Dutch designer and illustrator Cor Klaasen. Cor was one of the wave of Dutch graphic designers encouraged to come to ireland in the fifties, with a view to developing a more professional design culture here.

I was lucky enough to benefit from having Cor as a tutor during my training in Dun Laoghaire School of Art & Design (now IADT). He was an iconic mentor, a mildly rakish, intelligent, pragmatic artisan and contrarion who could charm the birds from the trees (as well as students' mothers). More than that, he took a genuine personal interest in all of his students - helping us find unique strengths, both in our talents and personalities.

Some previous graduates were lucky enough to each receive a personal letter from Cor, in his elegant handwriting (a citheog, he could also produce perfect mirror-writing, a la Leonardo da Vinci!) My good friend James Ellis has a nice piece on his blog about this. I'm quite envious as I didn't receive one of these letters - unknown to us, Cor was already unwell by the time of our graduation. He died the following year.

As well as bolstering my shaky self-belief and providing a robust graphic apprenticeship, Cor also found me my first proper job! In Dublin, in the depressed late-eighties, full-time positions in graphics were few and far between. It was the night of our graduate exhibition opening. Aware that colleagues needed a junior designer with good drawing skills, he planned to offer the job details to the first graduating student he met - which was (thankfully) me! I went for the interview and was hired shortly afterwards, soon realising I'd a lot more to learn.

The last time I spoke to Cor was by phone from that very workplace. By then I knew he was unwell, but not the full extent of his illness. I mentioned how I hoped to see him again soon - maybe pick up a few tips for this testing, real world beyond the protection of college. His reply was enigmatic and empowering - 'You're the teacher now.'

I still make daily use of principles I learned from Cor. His own work also remains a creative inspiration. For that reason alone, I am looking forward to this exhibition immensely.

The exhibition is being curated by Niall McCormack from the fantastic Hi-Tone Blog. Niall will also give a presentation about Cor's work tomorrow night at a very special OFFSHOOT event. All these events are happening as part of Design Week 2010.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Breaking News : Back to Blogger

Sooo..... it's all a bit odd right now. Comings. Goings. Turnings. Returnings.

I'm back here after my brief sojourn across the blogochannels to Wordpress. It was good - the virtual weather was fine and all that - but various glitchings and technical bewitchings made me think I'd be as well back here in Luvverly old Bloggerville for a little while yet. Spam is everywhere.

Staying put. Lots going on. Welcome.

That guy above is The Fabled Black Hole Head McFlinty - a notorious character from the depths of the imagination of Recently Crowned All-Ireland Poetry Slam Champion 2010, Colm Keegan of yonder parish.

Colm's poetry features in issue 1 of the hippididippest new poetry magazine the Poetry Bus, as does the above illustration based on his poem. I've a couple of poems in there too, alongside a whole heap of talented people.

Another whole heap of talented folk are the Brainbelt Illustration Collective, who have an exhibition opening TONIGHT! at the Centre for Creative Practices as part of Design Week 2010. Looks well sweet! I won't make it there tonight, but hope to get in later in the week. See below;