Friday, February 16, 2007

Galway Slam Night

Just back and feeling relatively normal (well as normal as a hangover will allow!). I had a heck of a night last night in BK's Wine Bar - just listening to the sheer talent of the readers that slammed at North Beach Nights, before the main event of guest reader Kevin Higgins. It was a difficult call for the judges in the audience for those picked to make the final three, and the overall winner was picked by a hair's breadth. The night was ably emceed by Gary King, who kept things moving along in an organised manner.

Here's how their slam works. Whoever signs up for reading gets their name put into a hat and then the readers read in that order. Ten slammers took up the challenge last night and three were picked for the second round: Denise Heneghan, Brendan Murphy and Steve Murray, which took place after the guest reader.

The original lineup included Mary Madec, Denise Heneghan, Leonor Silvestri, John Walsh, Susan Millar DuMars, Miceál Kearney, Steve Murray, Dave Rock, Brendan Murphy and Carolyn Kimbel. Oh, and me too. I hope I've not forgotten anyone - there was so much to take in.



Denise, Steve, Brendan and Miceál

The range of poetry was quite wide, from formal poems like sestinas to freewheeling free verse and the subjects ranged from marriage proposals through computers to the changes in Croke Park (allowing rugby to be played on the hallowed turf of GAA, for those outside of Ireland) and the state of humanity and beyond. So, quite a diverse range of writing and styles!

Kevin's set itself made for interesting hearing. His loose easy style of reading and humoured delivery belies the actual work that must go into his writing and these poems from his future collection, Time Gentlemen, Please! went down very well with the appreciative audience, which itself reflected the rich diversity of Galway, from students to those involved in all aspects of the arts. It's great to see poetry so warmly supported in Galway in this way.


Kevin and his Mum, Mary

While there I also got a chance to speak with the three of the four Galway poets whose work has been selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions series: Mary Madec, Aoife Casby & Susan Millar DuMars, two of whom slammed on the night. They were looking forward to their Poetry Ireland Masterclass at the end of February and their actual readings which will be in Aprilish (another date for my culture vulture diary).

Aoife , Mary and Susan


I also spoke briefly to the slam winner Denise Heneghan, about the sources that we draw on for writing and how to fit writing into the demands of family life.

And lastly a quick wave to Miceál Kearney without whom I wouldn't have known about North Beach Nights, which as it happens derives its name from the inspiration of the original sessions organised by the beat poets in San Francisco back in the 50s.

Finally - my apologies if I've anyone's name spelled wrong or incorrectly given - leave a comment and I'll come back and fix it! And yes, I know the formatting isn't what it should be - Blogger seems to have a mind of its own lately! Grrr!

11 comments:

Dick said...

Emma & I spent a glorious 3 weeks in Connemara just before we had Reuben, staying in a remote cottage near Cashel Bay. We visited Galway frequently. Our firm intention was to return the following year - & then Reuben arrived, & Rosie, & Maisie & we haven't had a holiday since! If we manage to sort out the logistics & scare up the finances, we'll be back like a shot.

Cailleach said...

Galway and its environs are very beautiful. You'd not be stuck for things to write about, if you got the chance to visit again... and the people are very welcoming and warm. I do hope that you and your lovely family get the chance to visit before long.

Minx said...

So glad you enjoyed it, Cailleach. These events must be a great experience.

Cailleach said...

They are, Minx! Feeding the mind, making connexions :)))

Shameless said...

Sounds like great fun, Cailleach! I used to do these in various places ... interesting when the alcohol flows as well! :)

Atyllah said...

Sounds like it was a blast! So brilliant to be able to attend events like that - and with so much talent.

chiefbiscuit said...

Sounds like a real great time was had by all. I can't wait until the poetry readings (we haven't tried slams yet ...) start up again in our fair city - things take a little time to start up again in the new year. Also it tends to hinge a little on the Uni and that doesn't get into full swing until a week or so yet.
I loved reading about your Slam and seeing the photos.

Debi said...

ooooh what fun ...

tea and cake said...

It does sound like great fun! And to get piccies as well...!

apprentice said...

Sounds a really good night, inspiration for a poem even!

Cailleach said...

Thanks all, it was tremdous fun and the wine flowed quite copiously too ;)