Saturday, January 27, 2007

Galway Hooker

Sorry about the tagline, but I'm turning into a total poetry culture vulture over here!

Getting to Galway on Thursday 25th January proved to be every bit as interesting as the Over The Edge Reading I was there to attend - but I'll leave it at the wee walk I took around it watching the crowds of students and other assorted humanity that I came across, and the feisty gull that parked itself on the wall beside me, hoping for food, whilst the full rage of the river Corrib chucked itself under the nearby bridge.















The fish in Conlon's was very good but the poetry served later in Galway City Library was even better. The evening was MCed by Susan Millar DuMars, introducing Elaine Feeney, from Athenry who kicked off the reading with some of her work. Her first poem about the lament of losing the potential of a traveller boy to early parenthood and responsibilities, wove in ideas of what poetry is for, in a convincing way. Elaine's later 'revenge' poem got a good response from the audience in terms of humour and she finished with Irish Country Girl visits Tate Modern, capturing well that confusing clash of cultural input against what you have come from.

Mary Mullen read next, beginning with her 'pink pregnancy' poem, which I know I have read before lately, and admired but cannot find the link or the reference! Either that, or I'm suffering from a weird case of deja vu. Her set focused on the fruits of that pregnancy poem, her daughter Lily, with a thoughtful exploration of her relationship with her.

Lastly, Todd Swift read his set, which included poems from his current chapbook, Natural Curve, which I later purchased, and previous collections that he has published which include Budavox etc. One amusing poem gave the audience a humorous insight into the life of an editor, sampling some of the email comments that prospective poets make, in applying to have their work published. Another poem of Todd's was a poignant homage to his late father deceased very recently. Todd's selection demonstrated his wide range of material and moods very amply, and his ability to read an audience.

There was an Open Mic session where a selection of the many talented poets and writers that attend the workshops of Susan and Kevin Higgins read from work in progress, giving a good flavour of the talent being 'grown' in Galway presently. I also has the pleasure of hearing Miceal Kearney read again: another wry humorous observance featuring GTA or Grand Theft Auto. I also squeezed in two quick ones of my own.

Later proceedings repaired to a local pub, Sheridan's, where the relaxed atmosphere (and wonderful guitar-playing) encouraged many libations to be poured. I spoke to Elaine at great length about the trials and tribulations of finding time to write amongst the pulls of motherhood and paying the bills and I met two wonderful characters in Ron and Colm who chatted amiably about writing and sources of inspiration.

I also met Susan and Kevin properly and expressed my admiration for their perseverance with the Over The Edge series of readings, which actually celebrated its fourth birthday on the night, and ended the evening chatting to Todd about the locale where I currently live, amongst other things. It's a small world.

It was a wonderful evening of poetry and food for the mind, as well as forging new connections for the future: another landscape I hope to visit again quite soon.

5 comments:

Jan said...

Hello there!
Interested reading re Galway. I spent a brilliant few days there over New Year a couple of years ago...loved the city and hope to return.

Dick Jones said...

An interesting account & quite a gathering. I wish I'd been there (if only to be in Galway!)

Debi said...

I'm wondering why anyone would want to live anywhere else after reading this.

Can we all come to stay please?

Cailleach said...

Thanks guys, Galway is very special to me... Some of the best nights I have ever had ;)

apprentice said...

Sounds a great trip. I enjoyed the material you posted.