Last night I went to Dublin to the Winding Stair Bookshop on Ormonde Quay. This is a gorgeous independent bookshop, which has a lot to recommend it and not least the intimate size just about accommodating the huge crowd of supporters that turned up to Dave Lordan's launch of The Boy in the Ring.
Lordan's book has been published by Salmon Press, Ireland and was previously selected as the Patrick Kavanagh prizewinner of 2005. Indeed Salmon Press are one of the big hitters in poetry publishing in Ireland, a fact that Dave humorously alluded to in his own few words last night. That last link will take you to three of Lordan's poems from the book. This prize is awarded yearly to poets who have not been published, and most prize winners go on to greater things afterwards.
The Boy in the Ring was introduced by Ronan Sheehan, an Irish novelist. In particular Sheehan spoke of how Lordan's work engages with the political as well as issues of society. He also gave some history behind the poem Attis and Cybele translated from Catullus, the Roman poet (1st century BCE) as part of a wider commission. Dave read this long poem out later on, and I can testify to it's raw power. Not many poets write about heroes that rip their own balls off... Reason alone perhaps, to get your hands on a copy?
I made firm new friends with Elena, Tina, Claire and Maria not all necessarily poetry supporters, but appreciative nonetheless. Proceedings retired to Toners of Baggot Street, with some music -acoustic and live - and an Open mic, which revealed some of the talent that Lordan has been encouraging in his role as a creative writing tutor.
A nod to Hazim here, an Iraqi actor/poet. His performance piece wrapped us all in existential twists and he is appearing again in Dublin on the 4th of July, at the Project Arts Centre. We finally topped the night off in BiaBar in Temple Bar. It was a truly great launch, a testament to the great warmth of Lordan and his cohorts. Hello to Rosa too!
Update: Dave has since left a link to the Attis and Cybele poem which can be found here. Brilliant!