Saturday, April 17, 2010

Readings and settings

Before I headed off to hospital Friday a week ago, I had the rare pleasure of hearing Martin Dyar, winner of the 2009 Patrick Kavanagh Award for an unpublished ms, reading to a select group of about 40 - 50 people.

The setting was magical: the drawing room of an old country house, Annaverna House, in the middle of a forest, on the slopes of Cuchulainn country - Ravensdale and the Cooley Peninsula. First, some readings by local writers; some who are getting started in the trade and some more established (yeah, I read too).

After drinkies and chat, Martin Dyar totally wooed the audience with his tales of characters from Mayo, his muscular language - I heard comparisons being made with Ted Hughes' work! Long poems, short poems, humorous and restrained, he brought something for everyone and had us all utterly spellbound. He even read the poem he read last year at the Irish Writers' Centre, Dublin for the Stinging Fly launch, which I think is called 'Death and the Post Office.'

That reading has sustained me over what became a very trying week. I ended up in hospital (again) from Sunday, with a partially collapsed lung, as a result of pneumonia - which I think I may have had for some time - fatigue and a persistant pain under my left ribs had been diagnosed as, well, something 'muscular' ... hmm.

It's going to be a long recovery, and you can help me: what I'm looking for are a list of books, easily obtainable, (think Easons for a start - possibly Amazon) that I might enjoy - come on guys, save my poetry & prose soul!


Rachel Fox said...

My Mum's still in bed after pneumonia hit last week - sorry to hear it's got you too (very sorry!). I'm being nurse (not one of my more natural talents...).

I've just mentioned one of my favourite reads so far this year on the blog - 'The Children's Book' by AS Byatt. Have you read that already? It's on sale pretty much everywhere here.



Rachel Fenton said...

Get well very soon, Barbara.

I'm always recommending anything by Michael Ondaatje. I love his economy with prose and his poetry. And I like that in every novel of his I've read there has been a line that has popped its head out and made me laugh childishly: in the English Patient it was "penis sleeping like a sea horse" and in In the Skin of a Lion it was "white character" - I'll say no more!

Mary McCallum's The Blue if you've already read Ondaatje....

Angela France said...

Oh my! Do get better very soon - I hope your family are waiting on you.

All my reading is academic at the moment - I don't have time for anything else so can't help you there.



This guy was on Jools on Friday and blew everyone else away.

BarbaraS said...

Thanks Foxy Rachel, I will get husband to look out for that. Being minded is nice, but I know my husband will be glad when I'm well again :)

NZ Rachel, I've not read his work, so now you've got me wanting to. I love the penis line :)

Angela, no matter keep at the academia, someone has to, thanks for your warm wishes.

Jaki, really enjoyed that, v. refreshing indeed! Thanks :)

Peter Goulding said...

Sorry to hear about the pneumonia - get well soon.
I met Martin a couple of weeks ago and he was telling me how winning the PK has really opened doors for him, been accepted by a lot more publications etc. Death and the Post Office is an amazing piece of poetry.

Desmond Swords said...

Get well soon Barbara.

bartic - is the word verification (no joking)

Jane Holland said...

Get well soon, Barbara. Very sorry to hear that you've been unwell. Hope the sunny weather helps a little, at least, and you're soon back in good working order!

All the VERY best, Jane x

BarbaraS said...

Peter, glad you agree - we're delighted that we got Martin Dyar before he became unobtainable ;)

Desmond, thanks for your warm wishes. Like the word verif - as close to bardic as you like!

Jane, thanks very much - yes, the sunshine does help a little; much nicer to look out the bedroom window at sun than overcast rainy skies :)

Kay McKenzie Cooke. said...

I can second the AS Byatt Childrens Book idea - I loved it when I read it, and it's nice and long ... Rest rest rest!


Oh bless you, B. You are having a hard trot. There's a fantastic novel being launched this, no.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Masterful short fiction featuring a crabby elderly American woman. Funny & brilliantly well written.

BarbaraS said...

Kay - that's two persuasive arguments for AS Byatt's book, and N, of course I will be getting 'You' as soon as poss! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara, I was away last week and am a bit out of touch with the blogworld at the moment in any case, but I'm really sorry to hear you've been so ill. We all wish you a quick recovery from HQ here in Edinburgh.

Anyway, some books: Karen Solie's collection, 'Pigeon', is fab in every way. Mark Halliday's HappenStance chapbook, 'No Panic Here' made me laugh more than any poetry book last year, and isn't *just* for laughs either. 'Rays' by Richard Price (Carcanet) is eclectic - clever and moving in equal measure. Also very good are 'Apparently' by Matthew Caley (Bloodaxe), 'Cafe des Artistes' by John Hartley Williams (Cape), and 'Stations of the Heart' by Raymond Friel (Salt).

As far as prose goes, I'm really enjoying August Kleinzahler's memoir, 'Cutty, One Rock', and 'Dreams of Rivers and Seas' by Tim Parks is a terrific novel.


BarbaraS said...

Hey Rob, thanks for all those suggestions, I will follow them up. Like the sound of 'No Panic Here' something with humour, but something that goes deeper than that is very appealing. My love to all of yours at Edinburgh :)