Friday, November 27, 2009

Nude Launch Afters

Sorry I wasn't back here sooner, I was a little, um, busy this last two days.

Anyhow, Nuala's launch for Nude went very well indeed: quite a crowd turned out in the delightful No Grants Gallery for the night and many copies were sold - good job too. What great timing to have a nude exhibition, as a backdrop for the launch.

I collected my bag of copies for my creative writers and they can't wait to receive them tomorrow - they've been made wait a little longer than I first anticipated, so I'm glad to be delivering them.

Afraid I had to swing away early, I had an appointment with a large dose of preparatory lower-tummy medicine, and a toilet (and the least said about that the better - yuk!).

But I did manage to quickly swing by the Irish Writer's Centre to pick up a copy of the Davy Byrnes Six Stories shortlists and winners - and you gotta take your hat off to Claire Keegan - 'Foster', her winning story, is a pure blow-away. Feic me.

If you want to see pics, pop on over to Nuala's blog. My favourite is the one with all the chaps under the nude pictures ... :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dublin Nude Launch

I hope I have your attention now. I'm in Dublin tomorrow night for the launch of Nude, from Salt Publishing, by Nuala Ni Chonchuir (sorry about your fadas, N, this new version of Windows Internet Explorer won't let me copy and paste your name into Blogger, grrr! - give me Mozilla Firefox anytime!).

Where: No Grants Gallery, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

When: 6pm

Who: Nuala Ni Chonchuir

What: Nude

How: by any means possible!

So, you've been warned :)

PS. Did I mention I'm launching it..? Better go and write me speech now, hadn't I?

Friday, November 20, 2009

List Making

We are making lists here in Barbara-land. Ones that decide whether certain people have been naughty or nice, as well as ones that make fine promises about culinary standards that need to be addressed for the Yule season (whether to use Jamie's turkey treatment, or the stuffing as per the recipe on the back of the stuffing bag last year) - as well as outer rings of lists that orbit around the inner lists in a sort of black-hole-singularity kind of way (see, I've been reading the blogs tonight and paying attenshun).

So, I wondered: what goes on your lists for Christmas? Do you make lists of things that have to be done, or is it more a mental checklist (because you now know exactly what those lists should contain (besides socks and jocks))?

Do you worry about your lists; do you make a master-list of lists; and, more to the point, what happens when you start to list under the lists that you've made...?

Here's one thing that's going on my list: wasabi!

Friday, November 13, 2009

StAnza virtual poetry fest

Have a look at the post on Colin Will's blog about tomorrow, Saturday 14th's web festival of poetry, brought to you by the folks at StAnza.

They're beaming in live poetry from all over the world, from Mumbai, India to Sacramento, USA and everywhere in between, by satellite to St Andrews and then it's simultaneouly being webcast - so you can enjoy the action from the comfort of your own laptop.

StAnza website is here The festival kicks off at 1pm and finishes at around 10pm with live music etc to close. Remember this is a live stream; there won't be any catching up if you've missed anything, but you can tune in at any stage during the day.

Colin has the full line up in his post, mentioned above, along with poems, pics and translations. Do check out this exciting virtual poetry festival if you can, Saturday!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ouroboros Review

Another fine issue is just out, with poems by Susan Millar DuMars, John Walsh, Michelle McGrane, Arlene Ang and so many, many more.

Why not spread it around - it looks and reads really well, even on screen and you can embiggen it too - it's practically a magazine on your desktop. All you're missing is the licking of your finger to flick the pages - and lets face it, in these swiney-fluey days, that's probably not a bad thing ;)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

On the Subject of Forty-Two

There is a machine in Douglas Adam's trilogy, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (okay, I know it outgrew being a trilogy), that is set up to calculate the exact meaning of life, the universe and everything. Deep Thought is its name and the answer it comes up with is the number of 42.

42 is quickly becoming an important number for me. It has some resonance in my husband's family: his mother and father both lived in houses that held that number. For me, it is the number of years I will have on my next birthday - a number of years that is beginning to sound far older than I thought it would.

A few days ago, at the doctors I was asked if I smoked and for how long. I horrified myself by answering that I had been smoking for about twenty years. Where in the name of holy jeans did those years sneak off to? And that got me thinking again about how quickly a year seems to pass these days.

Years, when you are small, seem to pass very, very slowly indeed. I spent a great deal of time wishing them away: wishing I was wiser, cooler, popular and a lot of other various attributes that I associated with being older. Now I wonder how much of my life I've spent wishing, wishing.

As the years have gone by, I have found that each year doesn't last as long as the previous. I wonder is that because certain things have an inevitability about them, once you have learned how to get the hang of them: like Christmas, or Easter, or poxy Valentine's Day, or the start of school holidays, or the new school year. All these events stack up to make a year, and they just flash past - like swallows flitting in for spring and away again for autumn.

I suppose I'm supposed to feel contented with where I am now. After all, if the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything is 42, then it stands to reason that perhaps I know it all now, doesn't it? If only that were true. Someone once told me that by the time you reach 40, you have crystallised; you have somehow hardened into the person you will be for much of the rest of your life.

Trouble is, it's very hard to appreciate whether this is true or not, when the view you have is always a close up, and only a frontal one at that (the back of you being very difficult to see in the mirror). I used to think I had done well to reach the age that Christ was allegedly crucified at. Now, looking back, I think that I was really only getting the hang of life at that stage, and it was only a very tenuous hang, I might add.

I wonder what I'll think in ten years time? I wonder what I'll feel about having been 42 in retrospect? I wonder if I'll even make it to 52. Time was (especially in my twenties) when you didn't worry about things like that. Old was something that happened to your aged grandparents - or their contemporaries. It was never going to happen to you.

Ah, how youth is wasted on the young- isn't that what they say?

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Latest Stinging Fly has ...

... loads of poems, dark stories and some reviews too.

Liz Gallagher's The Wrong Miracle gets a good look-see by Grace Wells - her 'linguistic dexterity' and the 'sheer verve of her style' is mentioned; this comes alongside five other worthy first collections.

Highlights for me: 'Road Trip,' well-written non-fiction (although it had me completely absorbed in the way that fiction usually does) by Robert Hopkins; an interview with Deirdre Madden and two fine poems that sat well together - 'A Little Knowledge' by Val Nolan and 'Grapefruit' by Alan Garvey.

But hey, don't take my word for it: go get your own copy of the Stinging Fly, why don't you.

And the cover - so, so sumptuous - and red! I like.