Last night, like I hadn't enough to be doing, I headed to Dublin's Waterstones to a Gallery launch of five poets' latest poetry collections. The poets didn't disppoint. I ended up going home with an armful of books, and really enjoyed hearing them sound their poems out. I met the lovely Hugh O'Donnell hob-nobbing with Denis O'Driscoll and chatted to quite a few poetry g-literati (hi Teresa!).
In order of appearance: Tom French, with The Fire Step (his first collection, Touching the Bones won the Forward Prize in 2001); Vona Groarke with the very accomplished Spindrift (I've seen quite a few of her poems from the collection in various journals and papers over the last while); Kerry Hardie, with Only This Room; Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, with The Sun-Fish (a PBS recommendation this quarter); and Peter Sirr, with The Thing Is.
I like all of them very much and am having a good read of them all, being suitably impressed by their writing, skill and techique. Peter Sirr's remarks about the complexities and wrestling with the minutiae of editing, and how it is always taxing raised a few chuckles in the room, as did editor, Peter Fallon's ripostulary remarks about how we all submit to the editor - hmm.
On a more serious note, Peter Fallon referred to the dangerous currents of uncertainty in the arts world and how none of us know how these will play out, especially now that the Celtic Tiger has well and truly scampered off over the horizon - eastwards. Tough times are coming. Small comfort I know, but in the end, it was still a good turn-out last night, all things considered.