Monday, April 30, 2007

A very good cause

Been catching up with Debi's blog, and didn't realise that her partner runs the marathon practically every year, for the last seven (?) years.

Yes, I have been living my life out of a goldfish bowl recently...


Go here to read the riveting account of it. Wow!

And more importantly, go here to donate some dosh to the very worthy cause of Refuge.

Job done!

Cuirt - Finally

I didn't get to much of the festival, bar the Grand Slam in the Kings Head, Galway on Saturday. was glad that I got to go, because hearing the many different competitors made for interesting entertainment. There were serious slams, humourous slams, thought provoking slams, ranting slams - all of them delivered with great gusto. My heart did go out to the odd one or two, who were a little overcome by nerves and fluffed lines. In the main, the standards were high enough and two pieces I loved didn't even feature in the running, but then I do have different tastes!

There were 20 entrants, 10 selected through heats and 10 selected from open submissions this year. Judges included Brendan Clancy, and two others from Galway itself. The winners were Gary whose surname I can't recollect just now, placed joint second with Katie Lawless. The overall winner was Miceál Kearney. Miceál's reaction was one of shock and complete incredulity: indeed I think he was having a smoke out the front when the announcement was made! He was thunderstruck! But his prize includes a trip to the US to Chicago, the birthplace of Slam, and also a trip to Eastern Europe to take part in their Slam finals too!

His original piece was Day tripping in Amsterdam, and his encore was the one about poetry and publishing in the style of a prayer... guess that could well be entitled A Poet's Prayer ;)

Well done to Miceál - I've seen him perform in Limerick and Galway - and I think he'll be one to watch!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Here's a Novelty!

Blogging Poet Laureate of the Year

Not nearly enough poets nominated, but this is the second year - so who knows how it will develop? I'm off to do the dacent thing and vote for Rob! :)

I got my dates wrong...!

And drove to Galway yesterday, arriving in good time to have lunch at the venue where the Slam was to be held. Next week. Yep, that's right, on the 28th of April, not the 21st!!!

I had to drive home again. Not much point in being there a week early, was there?

I enjoyed the spin though. (!) 7 hours of Irish eejits on the roads. Nice.

I'm only blogging this, so that people can see that there is an Irish female version of Trig. Now I'm off to buy a diary that screams my appointments at me...!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Off again...

... this time to Galway (again!) to Cuirt. Named by some as the top literary festival in Ireland (but they all say that!) the names here would make you dizzy.

Specifically I'm going to hear/see a Slam in the Kings Head, Galway and to enter negotiations with my publisher, anything else will be a bonus!

Now - that's what I call poetry!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Launch Night 10th April 2007 - Best of Irish Poetry 2007

I'm going to a lot of these things lately! This time the launch was for a publication entitled Best of Irish Poetry 2007, an imprint by SouthWord Editions part of the Munster Literary Centre in Cork. The launch in question was held last week, hosted by Poetry Ireland upstairs in the Unitarian Church just off St. Stephen's Green West, Dublin.

What exactly do you call a large gathering of poets anyway? This launch featured around nine poets who came to read from the Best of... giving the audience a great flavour of its contents. I must confess I already bought the imprint back in February and was well acquainted with the contents.

As I sat back in the pew contemplating stained glass illuminations featuring Discovery, Truth, Inspiration, Love and Work, I relished my glass of complimentary red wine and privately toasted the circumstances I found myself in.

Proceedings were opened with Poetry Ireland's acting Director, Jane O'Hanlon, and she introduced Pat Cotter of the Munster Literary Centre who spoke eloquently about how anthologies can allow access to poetry in a way that perhaps a single collection may not afford. Pat also raised the point that the Best of... can be seen to be a reclaiming of the shaping of the Irish canon: from an Irish perspective, rather than one defined by critics further abroad.

Best of Irish Poetry 2007, edited by Maurice Riordan and Colm Breathnach, represents a cherry picking of the best of Irish poetry published in respected journals both inside and outside Ireland published in the last twelve months. Pat Cotter explained that this anthology is set to become an annual event (something to aim for, maybe?) and its aims are to help promote and raise awareness of our contemporary writers in an accessible manner. Indeed, accessible is one very good way of describing the poetry contained, and made even more so by the readings that took place last night.

John F. Deane kicked off the readings: his poem, Towards a Conversion was received very well, and I thought the reading also added to my understanding of this beautiful poem. Other poems that stood out for me were Katie Donovan's Buying a Body and Peggie Gallagher's Letter to my Children. There was also a strong representation in Irish, from Dairenna Ni Chinneide's Fuascailt and Gabriel Rosenstock's Imram thar m'eolas.

Afterwards in closing, Pat Cotter spoke of the need to support poetry more than ever, by buying and how quickly poetry books disappear from stock in bookshops. This is not because they are flying out the door in people's shopping bags - but because bookshops don't want them on their shelves as long as they used to. That story sounds sadly familiar. Pat also raised the point about touring circuits for poets. When their publication comes out, there is a ready made tour-circuit on which they can promote their work, raising awareness of the work.

I have to say, that I had a great evening and it was worth being wrecked in work next day - magic! As to Best of Irish Poetry 2007's availability, I bought mine in February in Easons. I have looked on Amazon, but can't find it.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

An offer like that...

...doesn't come your way every day!

I got a letter on Good Friday from Queen's University Belfast, offering a place on their Masters in Creative Writing, in the School of English. Pending results from this year of course.

Fingers crossed everyone!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Paschal, pacques, pesach... ostara, Easter, oeufs!!!

So many word derivations for the feast of Easter, as Christians have it, or Pesach, passover as Judaism has it. I love etymology and looking up the origination of a word. So many times you'll come across a serendipitous discovery, and if words are your hardest currency, I'm guessing that you like looking inside a word, seeing where it's come from, where it's been and who it's met on the way. Google: a girl's best friend (closely followed by nice underwear, red wine, chocolate and possibly a... ahem, I forgot where I was!) Anyway...!

Paschal: the candle lit
over Easter ceremonies
in churches, replacing
the mourning purple.
Tall, widely girthed,
and creamy white
lit by a wavering taper,
held up to it by the fat
priest on tippy toes.

I'm only writing this, because Minx' post about Ostara reminded me of that older pagan feast, which I'd guess had been absorbed by the early Celtic Church as it inveigled its way into peoples' lives, using what was there already to bind people into the budding religion... okay, 'nuff of that for now!

What I'm wondering now is how to get from Paschal to Oeufs in only six degrees of separation...? Any takers? :)

Sunday, April 01, 2007