For those who aren't from Irish shores, I'll try to translate 'O' Bheal'. Beal (h-aspirated there... God bless me Irish teacher) means 'mouth'. The 'O' bit makes me think of the shape of the mouth sometimes and means 'from'. So loosely speaking, it's 'from the mouth' or 'spoken word.'
O' Bheal is in existence since April of this year and has already confirmed its place as 'The' place to read when and if in Cork. It takes place on a Monday evening and has an easy format that lends itself well to both supporters and guest poets.
Firstly there's the challenge: five random words are gathered from the audience and then a long fifteen minutes are given so that everyone can compose a poem based on the given five words. Anyone who wants to reads out their poem and whoever gets the loudest applause/cheer/foot-stomps gets a free pint - always a useful carrot when you're a poor-mouth poet ;)
This week the words were: barn, useless, peril, fidget and posit. Have a go yourself - but I warn you, the 'barn' always seems to situate the poem, in, well, a barn!
The challenge is then followed by the guest reader, which in this case was yours truly, and here I must say what a pleasure it was to be allowed to include reading one of the longer mythology-based poems from Kairos alongside the shorter, more modern ones - it all did seem to go down well in Cork - and I enjoyed myself much more than I thought I would - think I might be getting used to it at last!
(I wonder is this the time to mention that if you're looking for a Christmas present for a poetry lover, you could do a lot worse than a specially inscribed copy of Kairos ? ... Ah well - no harm in trying!)
Finally there is the Open Mic session, where everyone gets to 'run what they brung.' There was great variety in the work presented for our delectation and a few things that stuck with me on the way back up the road in the car were: the set involving some wistful fiddle playing combined with what I guess you might call 'Irish rap'; a poem about recycling glass which turned out to be a lot more; a poem about a ballerina's feet, butterflies and chaos theory... a poem about hands, another about ears... another about Christmas in the 1920s...
I could go on, but there simply wouldn't be room here - lets just leave it with the fact that it was a great night, only slightly marred by the fact that I had to hop into the car and drive home, so that Insane Husband could scoot off to honour business commitments. My eyes hurt today!
Just a quick thank-you (yes, more thanks ;) ) to Paul Casey, organiser and MC of O' Bheal, a well-versed poet in his own right, who I think we will be hearing a lot more of in time to come...
I have been challenged to seven random facts by Belle and twelve things I love about Christmas by Scarlett. So, I'd better get cracking on them, then hadn't I?!?