FEBURARY 2010 newsletter


And so here we are again, back after our usual brief ‘break’ in January. And our usual helter skelter life continues.  January saw Shiprocked Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline remaining in the top twenty in its category on Amazon; it also saw the ongoing positive reception of our exciting new anthology, which we are really excited about and which we hope will introduce new voices all over the world.  However it also saw, as will all of 2010, the impact of our current recession on the arts and on book sales – which encourages us to slip in a little reminder here to encourage you to rise tour 1000 Book Challenge, which is still going strong, and which is what funds Seven Towers and allows us continue to publish great new books.


We would like also to start this first newsletter/blog of 2010 with two thank yous – one to our late friend and colleague Damian O’Brien, who died tragically before Christmas and who was remembered at a fitting ceremony on 28th January, put together by his wonderful Failte Ireland colleagues, and his many talented friends in the arts.  The memorial really showed the significant impact Damian had on the lives of his friends and on the arts in Ireland in his tragically short life – an impact that will live on in the memories of those who knew him and in the vibrant contemporary arts community in Ireland. 


Our second thank you is to all of the great artists who gave their time voluntarily through 2009 contributing to Seven Towers’ corner of that vibrant arts community – all you readers, writers, performers, MCs and artists who make all of this matter and who contribute so significantly to the fabric of society.  Yay for you guys – and here’s to lots more of this in 2010! 


And it is those very people that heralded our return from our performance break with a thundering successful open mic event on 27th January in Cassidy’s bar in Westmoreland St.  We had 16 readers at the event which was, as always ably opened and Mc’d by Declan McLoughlin, who excelled himself in getting the month right at the start as well as managing to keep his consecutive numbering straight, with only a slight stumble.  Apparently he has been practising counting over Christmas!  The first reader was North County Dublin poet Jim Rooney who brought a tear to our eyes with onions, paid homage to bats and to Loudon Wainwright and Queen Bees!  Jim was followed to the mic by writer and broadcaster Steve Conway who took the opportunity to expose himself by telling us the naked truth – or is that to expose us to the naked truth about himself?  Not quite sure, but her was definitely both exposure and nakedness in the contribution from the guy who will do just about anything for music, and he will do that!! Intrigued?  Check out the full story at http://steveconway.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/does-my-bum-look-big-in-this/.


Bob Shakeshaft followed Steve to the mic, with a series of new and reworked poems, reminding me and a few others of our North Dublin summers picking blackberries on the back roads.  Unfortunately the blackberries are gone now, though the memories as communicated in Bob’s poem remain.  Bob also offered a gift poem, reading work by fellow Ardgillan Writers Group member, Jennifer Brady.


Declan took timeout from introducing the next reader Oran Ryan to recommend the introduction to the new Census Anthology – as the best introduction he has ever read – or indeed written!! J

When Oran wrested the mic from him, he reads an excerpt from his current work in progress – which has progressed to the editing stage – and told is about Martha and Lorna and why Gordon made a mess of everything, in a thoughtful, well received piece.  After Oran, Ross Hattaway that he had considered reading prose, but as a civil servant on a work to rule, he felt that, as a poet, he should stick to reading poetry only.  The prose adventure is for another time.  So he read his always excellent poetry, from his collection Rotting and some new work – including a brand new poetry form the Hanka.  This Hanka is a poem that manages to be a tanka and haiku in the one space.  The work is entitled ‘Disrespecting the prevailing poetic oligarchy tanka’ which – go count them – is 17 syllables.  And what else has 17 syllables?  The rest of the work is a Tanka!  Of course, not content to disrespect the prevailing oligarchy, Ross made sure to be democratic in offending, and his next poem was ‘Church of the bad Shepherd’ – final version, which will appear in the new collection in 2011.  Ross’ gift was from the Australian poet Gwen Kelly – ‘To Helen Picking Violets’ – in honour of Australia Day

And in neat synchronicity, Ross was followed at the mic by an Helen – Helen Dempsey, who opened her reading year with a calendar poem bringing us from the start of a year through the months and then back again; this was followed by a thoughtful work on a true experience – of seeing a wasp and a ladybird on 8th December, and then a reflection on frozen moments reflected in photographs of loved ones on gravestones in the Algarve.  After Helen Edward Lee author of Playing Poohsticks on Ha’penny Bridge  who may be a reasonably good erotic pot, or a dirty git, told us about passion and bathrooms, haircuts, and going bald! Dermot McCarthy followed Edward to the mic, reading poems in honour of recently departed friends, and a love poem to his local chipper.  He was followed by Eoin Hegarty who reprised a previously read poem to his grandmother, with some added stanza in her honour, and in her memory, as she , sadly, died just before Christmas.  Eoin also followed Bob’s memory theme, reminding us of childhood games of marbles.  After Eoin Eileen Keane read an excerpt from her story A Silent Page – written not to be a pretty story, and which is the librarian’s fault!!  Maybe to become a novel in the future?  Remember where you heard it first!


After Eileen Orla Martin delighted us with her performance piece – telling us that when she grows up she wants to be absolutely fabulous!!  And after the absolutely fabulous Orla, Eamonn Lynskey took to the stage to throw some colour in the direction of the Great Chilcott Whitewash currently polluting our news networks, with a series of poems about that war, and a reflection on how tyrants deal with tyrants combined with just how little is really learnt from repeated history.  After Eamonn,  the eloquent Raven performed a new version of High John, a poem based on a character from African American folklore, as well as a poem dedicated to his beloved San Francisco.  He also read a memorised gift poem about Australia in honour of Australia Day.


Karl Parkinson  was next, with a new version of his Winter Poem (different version published in Census Anthology)  and also gave us a view from the block of flats and a nightmare vision of a possible future city – and the future is very near!  After Karl, regular Ann Tanhem performed without a safety net and having forgotten to bring text with her, performed work from memory telling of Consolation, what life is like some mornings, and then reminding us of the positive side of snow – when everything is new and clean.  After Ann, Ash Fox, made her debut performance at eth Last Wednesday Series Reading and Open Mic asking us ‘What’s it all about’.


All in all really enjoyable evening that left everyone wanting more – which we’ll get next month, same time, same place. 24th February, Cassidy’s bar.


The Brooklyn Open mic was given a brief rest for January so that Rocky Sullivan’s bar could do some necessary maintenance, but it will be back in February, and Census 2 will be there making its debut appearance in Brooklyn showcasing the Brooklyn last Wednesday contributors.




Lots to look forward to for 2010 – and 2011!  Hotly anticipated publications of 2010 are And Suddenly the Sun Again by Eamonn Lynskey the debut poetry collection of Alma Brayden, R Nemo Hill’s A Gumbo Abandoned, Rick Mullin’s Huncke and Greagoir O Duill’s Gracenotes.  And of course Census 3 which will be open for submissions from March 2010.


And remember – all of these publications will be 1000 Book challenge Publications, so by buying a Seven Towers Book today you can all make a significant contribution to the publication of new work in 2010.


And 2010 will also see the publication of Steve Conway’s second book (currently a bit of a secret – but not about Radio Caroline (the sequel will be later), though following one’s dreams, and/or making them, could be in there!)  And lots and lots of other things on line – though kind of secret and to be revealed as the year goes on.


But to give you a hint – there will be Shiprocked the reprise tour in Ireland and UK in March, for those of you who didn’t catch in latest year – look out for us around the Irish coast, and in London, Ramsgate and Harwich; and also a kind of a reckoning in the Census Tour which, given the varying nationalities and international and national birth places of the contributors will definitely go far and wide as books can take you anywhere and everywhere!  You never know where the book and its contributors might appear!


We are also delighted to announce an addition to our website for 2010 – enabling our friends in the art world to add their events to our calendar.  Events will be put in as friend’s events and once confirmed by our webmaster will be seen on our website

Instructions below:

1.      On the Bottom Left hand column of the Seven Towers web Page (www.seventowers,ie) is a small calendar icon. Underneath the icon there is a link which says “post new event” Click it.

2.       2 You arrive at this page

Add Event

Monthly View

Flat View

Weekly View

Daily View




Add Event

Event Details

Event Title

Event Description


Event Date

Start Time:



     Days    Hours    Minutes   
   All Day 
   No end date (Show start date only)

Contact Details

Contact Info



Repeat Event

This event does not repeat

Repeat Event

Repeat Method

Repeat End Date

Don’t repeat this event

No end date

Repeat every   

End after occurrence(s)

Repeat until:      

Other Details

Picture File

(20 KBytes limit – Valid extensions : GIF PNG JPG JPEG )

5.         Powered by ExtCalendar 2


3.  Input a brief description of the event at the “event Details – whether it is an open mic or a reading   And in the larger text box underneath give a description of the even in greater detail and the names and bios of the readers if needed


4.  Select the category “Open Mic/Reading run by Colleagues “  – it is the last category on the colours and it is Brown in colour.



5         choose the date ( i.e.  18 jan 20 10 ) and the time ( i.e.  08 00 pm  and the length of time (  i. e. 0 Days 2 hours 30 mins ) the event is due to last. Please do not select repeat event.


6   When you are done inputting at the bottom select ADD EVENT button. If you have inputted the fields correctly you will be told the event has been accepted and needs approval by the administrator. Don’t worry, the event should be up on the web page within  the hour depending on  web traffic. Thanks !


And a sneak preview of 2011 – this will see new work from Oran Ryan, Ross Hattaway, Quincy R Lehr, Ray Pospisil – in a Second Coming for many of our writers!!


And of course, the great open mic adventure continues:


Since  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 scene 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 lastwednesday@seventowers.ie 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.