Ooops. Apologies for the delay in sending this around.
A hectic September ended abruptly, with the last Wednesday occurring on the last day and then we bounced Tigger-like straight into All Ireland Poetry Day! Took us a few days to catch up with ourselves after all the excitement!
And excitement continued for us in Seven Towers Agency all through September. In addition to all the rehearsals and everything else that surrounded the performance of Don Quixote has been Promoted by Oran Ryan, there was a book launch, readings, open mike. But, I’ve got to take a deep breath here, slow down, and take these things one at a time, though I have to say during the month, there were many times we were all doing lots of things at once!!
So let’s see. The month started a run, with the first reading on the first Wednesday which fell on the 2nd day of the month – a neatly packaged month, September. On this day Oran Ryan and Ross Hattaway gifted us with performances of their work in Chapters Bookstore. But this was a reading with a little bit of a difference as, as well as performing their own work, they both performed work from poetic friends – with Ross performing the work of recently published Doog Wood and Oran reading Ray Pospisil’s work. As well as being a most enjoyable reading, it was really interesting, as it always is when you hear one poet’s work performed in another voice, and especially when we are talking about voices as distinct as those of the readers themselves and also of Doog and Ray. Also, never having had the pleasure of hearing Ray perform his own work in person, it is always moving to hear it performed.
September 10th saw our regular themed reading in Chapters, on the timely theme of Autumn, with political and performance poet, Eamonn Lynskey taking off his newly fitted acting hat for a moment and ably stepping out as MC. Readers included Ross Hattaway, Eamonn himself, Eoin S Hegarty, and Bob Shakeshaft making his bookshop reading debut!
The next lunchtime reading was on 16th September in Chapters, with the always enjoyable Anamaria Crowe Serrano who was joined by Pauline Fayne making a welcome return to the lunchtime readings. Fun all round from two very distinct Dublin voices.
And meanwhile, back at the Victorian house we hang out in (not quite the same ring as ‘back to the ranch’, but sometimes you’ve got to sacrifice for honesty!!), frantic final touches were being put to Living Streets, Anthology of the Ranelagh Arts Festival. And in other parts of the City, costumes and materials for the set were being sourced, and all participants were running around wildly, but devotedly as we prepared for the launch of Living Streets and the debut performance of Don Quixote has been Promoted by Oran Ryan.
Rehearsals for Don Quixote took place in the basement club of the always generous and supportive Cassidy’s Bar in Westmoreland St and we thank them for that. Noel O Briain sat ably at the helm of his particular literary and dramatic ship, as he put Eamonn Lynskey (Dead Corpse), Raven (Rocinante), Nicola Watson (Vulture) through their paces. Sound was provided by some of the Harry Moschops magic, and the wonderful set by artist Colm Desmond (www.colmdesmond .com). Ruairi Conneely was our stage manager and Mike Donoghue did lights – and all of this work was even before performance night – it’s amazing the amount of work that goes on before the actual performance.
And before the actual performance, we took a little break out of it to launch Living Streets, Anthology of the Ranelagh Arts Festival, though, this was a kind of sideways tangent, rather than a complete break, as Don Quixote has been Promoted was being performed as part of the Ranelagh Arts Festival, and the text of the play as well as the poetry read after it is all in the Anthology. The Anthology was launched on 19th September in the Ranelagh Arts Festival shop and HQ at 26 Ranelagh, with wonderful readings from Macdara Woods, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanán and Eamon Carr after an introduction by Charles Crockatt of the Ranelagh Art Festival Committee who selected the work for the Anthology. Fun was, once again, had by all and Living Streets remains for sale in various outlets including the Ranelagh Arts Festival shop and HQ.
And then it was back to rehearsals, and finalising costumes, and material for stage set and . . . and . . . and . . . It was really all a great buzz though. And on performance night it all proved to be worth it – though I have to say it was a pity it didn’t run for more than one night, so we could all relax and enjoy the performances after the hard work right up to the last minute. Though we did manage to squeeze in a trip to the Ranelagh Arts Festival open mic The Speakesy, MCd by Macdara Woods.
And we have to thank Scoil Bhride Ranelagh for the use of the renovated hall and theatre, and for opening up the hall and keeping it open for our benefit and to their inconvenience. It was much appreciated. As were all the audience members who travelled far and wide to view the play. And for those who mailed to say they couldn’t’ make it that night – fear not, and watch this space, as the boards will once again be taken to. And I am sure that our erstwhile Dead Corpse, no re- arisen, will gladly sign the programme, and both the play script and his poem read afterwards in the Living Streets Anthology, as will our horse Rocinante, known better to us all as Raven, of the Rá event in the Cobblestone, and director Noel Ó Briain. Playwright Oran Ryan may be around somewhere too!!
So all the fun of the month up until then was barely caught up on when we had our Last Wednesday Series reading and open mic in Cassidy’s Bar in Westmoreland St and in Rocky Sullivan’s in Red Hook in Brooklyn.
In Dublin we welcomed Briain Collins in with his video camera to video some of the performances for a film of live performances to be shown on the web. And along with our always popular MC Declan McLoughlin, who temporarily forgot how to count again – even after all the help we gave him last month – we had seventeen readers in all. Steve Conway opened the night, treating us to a sneak preview in the form of an abridged introduction to his new book, which shall be revealed to you only slowly and in tempting titbits until . . . Steve was followed by Helen Dempsey who remembered the 1979 Papal visit and invented a new word “madra-fied” You have to come hear her read to get the context!! Oran Ryan cheered us up next, with a reference to the recently astounding (the underling denotes sarcasm in this context!) discovery announced in the Independent recently that there appears to be a connection between creative genius and mental health issues – read from his current almost completed work in progress, One Inch Punch from a fictional poetry collection contained in the book (see it’s all about tempting hints at the moment) read a poetic litany of artistic suicides!. Eamonn Lynskey followed Oran, and fittingly for his recent resurrection having been revealed to us as a dead corpse, who came back to life as a political poet, all on the same stage, read works about afterlife, and after death. Gabriel Collins followed Eamonn making his debut at the Last Wednesday series, reading about almost love, and conversations with friends. Gabriel was followed by Dermot McCarthy who read about writers’ block, and who ceded the mic to Ross Hattaway, who read mostly off book, with a nod to possible future elections affirmed his allegiance to the Prose party (strange for a poet, but there you are), he also told is of his special hobby – the new cooking, and read a gift from his close friend New Zealand poet Mike Eager from his verse work about Wild Bill Hickock. Ross was followed by Eileen Keane who read from a new story Snapshots but left us hanging on until next month for the end of the story – can we wait that long! Eileen was followed by Pauline Hall. Pauline, whose work in included in Living Streets Anthology of the Ranelagh Arts festival was making her first appearance at the last Wednesday Series. After Pauline we saw the return of Edward Lee reading new work and from his recently published Playing Poohsticks on Ha’penny bridge presenting his always disarmingly honest look at love and death. Edward handed the mic over to Orla Martin famed around Dublin for her Winding stair Bookshop readings, the next of which will be on the 4th December from 7-9pm. Ann Tanhem followed Orla to the mic, making not only her debut reading at the Last Wednesday Series, but reading her work for the first time ever in public, and an able reader she proved to be!. Bob Shakeshaft followed Ann, fresh from Stephen Smith’s Monday Night Gloir Sessions , and bringing us on a quick international tour as he read works from trips to Tunisia and Bulgaria. Bernie O’Reilly read after Bob reading a series of the short stark poems she is becoming known for providing snapshots from her own life and the city around us.. Bernie handed the mic to Anne Morgan who read topically about Autumn in Rathfarnham, about cooking and about opera. After Anne , Steve Kerr took to the stage reading about LA and Street Methodist, and showing his flair for accents. And Jim Rooney rounded off the night, dedicating his reading to the late Drogheda poet Noeleen Thompson and including some of Noeleen’s work within his reading. As always, a big thanks to all – including our listeners – and to Cassidy’s Bar, always generous and supportive.
And, meanwhile, across the water (see it can be worked in different ways!) in Rocky Sullivan’s in Red Hook in Brooklyn, after the pizzas, Quincy R Lehr, stepped into the vacuum left by our temporarily absent MC Lisa McLaughlin and ably conducted the proceedings, including adding a reading of his own work. Other readers were New York artist and writer Oriane Stender, Brooklyn poet Dan Machlin who’s most recent book of poems "Dear Body:" (Ugly Ducking Presse 2007), received a "Face Out" grant for emerging writers from CLMP/The Jerome Foundation, and Dublin poet Pauline Fayne – making her first trip over the pond! Next month nhas a equally exciting line-up as you will see under events below.
And now, I’m going to cheat a little. This is the part of the newsletter that is supposed to focus on September, but October kind of snuck up on us this year, with the wonderful All Ireland Poetry Day coming right at the start of the Month on Thursday 1st October. So, as I said, I’m going to cheat, and include it here,. My defence is that it was almost September, still, and technically, in some time zones . . . So anyhoo, there were poetry readings everywhere, North South, East and West to contribute to this great celebration of our poetic heritage as this little island has produced so many internationally renowned poets, and Nobel laureates. Our contribution to the day was an afternoon and evening of poetry in Chapters Bookstore – and a big thank you to Chapters for their on-going support of readings, poetry and independent publishers. We had a real party atmosphere in the day, as we had four readings with featured readers one ach hour and left the mic open then between each one. Some of the readers stayed though the whole session and read at each open mic part! Eamonn Lynskey opened proceedings for the day, at the 3pm reading and he was followed by Anamaria Crowe Serrano who was followed by recently award winner at eh international Balcony TV awards Karl Parkinson. This reading was so enjoyably, that the shoppers in the packed store flocked down to us to listen! It was amazing to see, and really thrilling.
In the open mic portion of this hour, we had readings from Anne Morgan, Bernie O’ Reilly and Darragh O’ Neill.
4pm saw featured readings from poet and Diplomat Neville Keery and poet and musician Joan Harman , with an always enjoyable set from Francis Ledwidge Award winner and accomplished reader Neville, and a treat too in hearing Joan read for the first time. At the open mic here we had work from Anne and Bernie and from Patsy and Karl then a reprise from both Joan and Neville.
At 5pm we were treated to readings by Seamus Cashman reading from some older work as well as a new unpublished piece; Fintan O’Higgins, incorporating some recently located work by a Sr Joseph de Paor! And a salutary lesson about the relationship between music and words; and Ross Hattaway, who also included a gift by James K Baxter.
After a brief break, we launched into our final hour with featured readers Oran Ryan and Bob Shakeshaft and a final open mic round up with Seamus Cashman performing Lotan Baba from memory, Bernie sending us on our way with sweet thoughts, Patsy, performing also from memory, and rounding off with a final work from Oran Ryan. And with a whole year to plan for next year’s event, we can hardly wait to see what will happen!!.
And now we concede that it truly is October.
And news of course has to begin with the successful launch of Living Streets, Anthology of the Ranelagh Arts Festival , which is now for sale and now part of the 1000 Book Challenge which is still going on.
Living Streets contains fiction, non-fiction, poetry and visual art work from the Ranelagh Arts Festival and features: work from Bill Barich, Eamon Carr, Evelyn Conlon, Tom Conaty, Anthony Cronin, Tony Gilmore, Pauline Hall, Ross Hattaway, Anne Haverty, Francis Hyland, Maeve Kelly, Eamonn Lynskey, Aidan Matthews, Cláir Ní Aonghusa, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanán, Noel Ó Briain, Honor Ó Brolcháin, Louise O’Callaghan, Raven, Nollaig Rowan, James Ryan, Oran Ryan, David Scott, Luke Sheehan, Ronan Sheehan, Macdara Woods, Bohoe, Raghu Babu, Imelda Healy, Kate Horgan, Ann Murphy, Daragh Owens, Martin Parr, Brigid Tiernan. It retails at €12.99 and all royalties go to the Ranelagh Arts Festival.
And, in other news, September saw former Radio Caroline DJ and Phantom FM DJ Steve Conway continue to spread his wings in two directions – as he guested once again on Gareth O’Callaghan’s breakfast Show on 4FM and began work in earnest on the New Book! Our lips are, at least temporarily, and at east somewhat, sealed, but watch this space, and similar ones like it!!
This month too, we are excited to announce the beginning of the music sessions in conjunction with Tumbleweed Love – Tumbleweed Love recession Sessions with IMRAMA and The Lazy band – for more look under events. This will be a mix of established and up coming bands and musicians, and we guarantee that no matter who plays, we will keep the entry fee to a healthy under €10 euro so that music lovers out there can indulge their love!
And not unrelated to this, Tumbleweed Love impresario is Conor Farrell, also known as Conor Dawg of the Prairie Dawgs who run the Tumbleweed Love Sessions over at the Cobblestone. And the Dawgs are howling into music annals in October, as they launch their first CD in the Village on 30th October. More will be available on www.prairiedawgs.net and on http://www.seventowers.ie.
And of course we are continuing with our 1000 Book Challenge. This is a challenge we have set ourselves and you in support of independent publishing in general – and this independent publishing house specifically. Many independent publishing houses publish, as we do, books that can be only described as necessary, usually poetry, short stories and literary fiction. First runs can be relatively small and overheads are usually kept to a minimum so money is spent mostly on producing the books. Most small independent publishing houses can sustain future publications by selling a few thousand books a year, and to highlight this, we have initiated this 1000 Book Challenge to see how long it will take us to sell 1000 books. And, in order to thank you for your help in participating in this challenge, we are offering reduced rates to all who buy book directly from Seven Towers – at any of our non-store events, from our website or by contacting us on email@example.com. The offer prices are listed with the books at the end of this mail.
AND REMEMBER – for every 1000 Books we sell we can publish 2-3 more titles, and all future titles will be 1000 Book challenge titles.
For the rest of the year the 1000 book Challenge will be coming to a place near you – and will be coming to Chapters Bookstore in Parnell St, so keep watching!!
And – As Always –
From the Last Wednesday in April 2009, The Last Wednesday Series Reading and Open Mike will run simultaneously in Cassidy’s Bar, Westmoreland St, Dublin 2 and Rocky Sullivan’s, Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York City on the last Wednesday of every month. We believe this exciting event will help to establish an ongoing sharing and twinning relationship between the vibrant writing scenes in both communities and also provide an established space in Dublin for writers visiting from America and in New York for Irish writers visiting there. We would like to thank Fáilte Ireland for their help and encouragement in this venture.
Details are available at www.seventowers.ie
Any visiting writers wishing to attend and/or writers wishing to publicise their books at either event can contact Seven Towers at firstname.lastname@example.org in advance of the event and their details will be circulated with event publicity notices.
Each venue, Cassidy’s Bar and Rocky Sullivan’s give their space free of charge to this event, so we encourage you to support them. There is a full bar, including soft dinks and tea/coffee available and each venue also have good food menus. We encourage all patrons to drink sensibly.
For events and other stuff check out www.seventowers.ie