Lots to report back on from the trip to Cork. I went down on Sunday so that I didn't have to drive up and back in one day. Boy did I get a treat! I met up with Paul Casey of O Bheal and Eilish, a writer friend of his and we went to The Long Valley to hear the poems and life story of Mahmoud Darwish
October 5th was a designated day for everyone world-wide to celebrate his life and poetry, so that was what we were doing, sitting there listening to translations of his work, in Irish, in French and in Arabic. Darwish's work came from his own feeling of exile from his country of birth. He explored this feeling of alienation and exile many times in his poetry. You can explore his work and life all over the internet, but here's a small sample. from U tube.
As if that wasn't enough, we went off to sample Soul Driven at the Crane Lane. They're a jazz/soul outfit, with a very tight brass section of sax, trombone and trumpet, with a fantastic vocalist. A nice taster of what I'll miss at the jazz festival in Cork later this month.
On Monday, Paul Casey suggested visiting Kinsale to pay court to Desmond O Grady. If you don't know about this poet, you're in for a real treat. He is now in his eighties, but very sprightly, erudite and also tres, tres charmant! He is famous for his connection to the Fellini film, La Dolce Vita, and has known writers like Beckett, Joyce, Sartre personally. He taught widely on the continent as well as in the University of Cairo and the American University of Alexandria. He told us he has around 36 books published (and me there with me piffling little 1).
Known particularly for his translations, which include a Selected Poems of C. P. Cafavy, he proved very generous with his thoughts on poetry, translation and even seemed to enjoy a quick scan inside the covers of my own humble Kairos. Desmond even quizzed me on the origin of the 'quis custodies' quote titling the first poem inside; thankfully my hungover head was able to pull the quote from Virgil. I will be forever grateful to Paul for his inspired invitation; sheer magic.
As for the reading itself: that went very well indeed. I was sandwiched between the five word challenge and the open mic session. I really enjoyed the opportunity to have a longer length reading than I'm used to; I was able to try out that controversial 'boob' poem as a rousing close, and was also able to read from some of the Mallory sonnets, which indeed went down very well. Something for everyone in the mix and the reaction afterwards was positively heart-warming. I shall go back to Cork!
It almost wipes the memory of the four hour drive back that night, and falling into bed at 4am... & the rise again at 7am to wake the kids... ah, reality!