5. OTHER EVENTS AND INFO TO NOTE
4. LOOKING FORWARD
Now really, I have no excuse for the delays in the newsletters!! SO I’m not even going to put one in. But here it is – a bumper issue blog with memories from March and April and looking forward to exciting happenings in May.
But firstly, all the way back to March!!
And March was a busy month for Seven Towers, starting on the run with our first reading, the lunchtime reading in Chapters Bookstore which saw Clair Ni Aonghusa, Pauline Fayne and Greagoir O Duill strutting their stuff from behind the mic at Chapters Bookstore, for an enjoyable literary tour through time and space!! It was Cláir’s first reading with Seven towers at Chapters and she read from her novel Civil and Strange an excerpt of which we were delighted to publish in Living Streets, Anthology of the Ranelagh Arts Festival. Civil and Strange has just been published in Ireland by Penguin Ireland. Both Pauline and Greagoir read published work, though both have new collections – Mowing in the Dark for Pauline and Grace Notes for Greagoir. A great reading all round, and much appreciated by our ample audience!
With hardly a second to spare we were straight into World Book Day where we took advantage of the BookCrossing Suggestion from Cle, The Irish Publisher’s Association, and released some Seven towers’ Books into the Wild! Generally speaking the books themselves are tame enough, even if the contents aren’t always!! We haven’t heard from them since they left – on planes, trains and Luas’, and a few walking too!! At least one book had itself released mid air on a flight to the UK, and Eamon Carr’s The origami Crow was last seen trying to make its way to the Point Depot on a Luas; other books found themselves on bus Eireann buses and one or two took Diesel trains from Connolly and Heuston, though some preferred to stay local and opted for the DART. The less adventurous of our books had coffee or drinks in a few bars and coffee shops. SO you could have bumped into them. If you do see them – tell them they never call home (I expect they will if they run out of money or need rescuing!! You can check for more details and follow the books on www.bookcrossing.com.
The following week, Tuesday 9th March, saw Steve Conway reading from Shiprocked, Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline as part of Library Ireland Week in Baldoyle Library. And the setting could not have been more perfect for Steve’s book! The beautiful reading room in Baldoyle public library has a floor to ceiling window overlooking Dublin Bay, so behind Steve as he read, the sun was setting over the open water, kind of like life when he was broadcasting!! A beautiful setting was made more perfect by the friendly helpful staff and an enthusiastic audience.
The following day, Wednesday 10th March still being Library Ireland Week, we presented ourselves, in response to the invitation of librarian Brendan Devlin at the library in DIT Kevin St. There Seamus Cashman, Anamaria Crowe Serrano, Ross Hattaway, Eamonn Lynskey, Anne Morgan read from their work alongside Kevin St Librarian Brendan Devlin, and head of library services Philip Cohen. Subject matter and forms were many and varied – but I think the Haiku won out on the night with a large number of the readers wielding this form as a short sharp weapon – against the state, against frustrations and, eh, kind of against each other. Though of course we are all in it for the art!! It was nice to be there, and a great use of eth library space, so maybe we’ll see more art events there in the future.
Thursday 11th March saw us back in Chapters Bookstore for our monthly themed reading, and the theme for March was STARS! Readers for the night were Anamaria Crowe Serrano, Helen Dempsey, Eileen Keane, Ross Hattaway, Eamonn Lynskey, Oran Ryan and Bob Shakeshaft And I have to say the readers all read on the theme and we went from planets, to sun (yes the sun is a star!) , nodded towards Hollywood, and Ross Hattaway read a light verse from Steve Conway who couldn’t make the reading, which, at het end of the STAR menu, reminded us we could push star to exit!!
The following week, Thursday 18th March saw Oran Ryan and Ross Hattaway as featured readers at the open mic run in Trim by the Boyne Writers Group. This open mic run in the town hall of the Knightsbridge retirement village in Trim is a friendly and welcoming event and, like Seven Towers, one of the few open mics that welcomes prose as well as poetry and non-fiction as well as fiction. The group of readers were marshalled under the capable mc-ing of Paddy Smith (who knows a thing or two about the ‘alternative Ross Hattaway!), who, although apparently missing his whistle, still managed to keep everyone strictly within their time, while also maintaining a relaxed atmosphere! Oran Ryan was first up and he read from Ten Short Novels b Arthur Kruger, his (Oran’s not Kruger’s) second novel (confused yet?); Michael Farry (who edits Boyne Berries ) read poems inspired by ‘High Noon’ – focussing on the wild west – of Ireland: Eamonn cook read some work from his collection published by Dedalus; Orla Fay read a poem from a recent trip to London; Conor Duffy read a short work at the event, which he was visiting from Dundalk; Caroline brought us back to school!! Then Ross was up, opening with ‘What it is to be Late’ as a kind of apology for being late and some other work from The gentle Art of Rotting and from the upcoming collection Pretending to be Dead. He also read his poem ‘leadership which went on to be commended at the Strokestown Poetry Competition. Anne Crinnion read a personal and historical piece about the District Court Office in Trim where her father worked alone for 36 years, alongside a turf fire and a Royal typewriter!; jenny Anderson amused us all about the joy and torture that is Wagner; frank Murphy, from the ‘rival’ Meath Writer’ group read next, and was identified as the most recent winner in the local ‘Battle of the Books; Barbara Flood read about the ongoing dilemma – what t eat, what not to eat and Maria Dunne shared a childhood memory of cycling to collect day old chicks from the bus; James Linnane, who apparently has a foot in both Writers’ groups read about Kingly matters and MC Paddy closed the night with a short story about piracy with an unexpected twist! A fun night all round.
The following day, Friday 19th saw our slightly displaced by Paddy’s Day lunchtime reading in Chapters Bookstore, and the readers on this day were Orla Martin and Celeste Ague, with Orla determined to be fabulous and Celeste reading from her just published collection The essential Guide to Flight (Salmon 2009). Another great reading, and well attended too.
Liking to squash as much as we can into a month, and taking advantage of the extra week afforded us by the obligingly early first Wednesday of the Month, we took ourselves off to the UK with Steve Conway and Shiprocked Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline. Saturday 27th march saw us at the town of Ramsgate, with Dave Foster and his son Chris generously motoring us down! The venue was the beautifully rebuilt Ramsgate Public Library. The Library had been destroyed by fire, and the reading space has now been aptly names the Phoenix space – thought tragically many artworks and historical artefacts were lost in the fire. The event was a fundraiser fort Ramsgate Lifeboat and Steve was both excited and nervous to meet the crew from the very lifeboat that had risked their lives to rescue the Caroline crew from the Ross revenge when it ran aground on the Goodwin Sands in November 1991. Nervous, because the crew had waited until the last minute before coming off and the Lifeboat itself ran aground on the sands. But eh lifeboat crew turned out to be as generous and friendly as they are brave, and we had a wonderful meet and greet, with, among others, John Ray who is press officer for Ramsgate RNLI, a well attended reading and raised some money for the wonderful cause. We hope to head over again later in the year. The following morning saw an exciting diversion as we were admitted through heavy security to the ship itself, the still impounded Ross revenge. Though impounded, the ship is being carefully restored by a group of volunteers and I followed Steve Conway around for more than two hours being shown every nook and cranny – including a remarkably clean engine room. It was fantastic and the only real problem with the whole experience was that another appointment meant we could not stay longer!! There are some photos up on Facebook and we shall put some up on the website too. I cannot wait to get back – after an hour on the Ross, I wanted to go to sea with Radio Caroline!!
That evening, 28th March, we went to our favourite pub in London – the Hammersmith Ram in King Street, Hammersmith and between bites of the wonderful food served there, we had a reading with Seven Towers writers and Liverpool writer Alice Lenkiewicz. Readers were Steve Conway, who read from Shiprocked, Census and some light verse; Donal Moloney, who is currently living in London, who read from his current almost completed novella, Eamonn Lynskey also read – remembering to be as controversial as he could – and also remembering that he used to live in King St.!! Alice read from her collection Men hate Blondes and some other work. So again, fin all round!! Until the next time there too.
And then back home to Ireland in time for the Last Wednesday Series Reading on 30 March, in Cassidy’s bar, Westmoreland St, and open mic with special guest – NY based UK poet Jane Ormerod.
At the open mic, Karl Parkinson was first up positing that ‘if music is religion, then poetry is prayer’ and encouraging all with his positivity mantra; Oran Ryan followed on with what he called his ‘anti-poetry’ taken from his current work in progress One Inch Punch, reading a dark humour piece on suicide called ‘leave a note’; Oran was followed to the mic by our guest poet Jane Ormerod. Jane is originally from London and now lives in New York where she runs the poetry press Uphook Press, as well as running a number of events around the US, and she read from her most recent collection Recreational Vehicles (Three rooms press 2009) and her first collection 11 Films (Modern Metrics, 2008) on boxing, Dublin and Walt Whitman. After some public service announcements from our MC Declan McLoughlin. Bob Shakeshaft came to the mic, reading about Falling out, clerical abuse and a series of Haiku. He also read a gift from poet Nathan Anderson who he shared a stage with a few days previously. Steve Conway was next to the mic with his humorous poem ‘TWINKLE’ and an excerpt from Shiprocked about playing hide- and seek on the Ross Revenge, which I can appreciate even more having seen some of the hiding places!! Steve was followed to the mic by Helen Dempsey who brought us on a lightning tour around the world from Dublin to Eastern Europe and through history or oppression and response to same too as she read work about the Dublin report and inspired by a visit to a concentration camp museum. Ines Dillon was next up, confessing to being a recovering soap opera addict – reading a poem about the change of schedule of Holby City, and then darting of fin another direction to an art class in London – where the model got stuck on the circle line tube – and Seven Towers weren’t even there this time. After Ines, Eamonn Lynskey read his poem from Census – ‘When Gravediggers Die’, inspired by a line from his mother-in-law, followed by a poem created from a line of Wordsworth’s!! After that Ross Hattaway decided to eschew warnings from his agent and read, not form the published book, but from the yet to be published one, reading work from his up-coming (2011) publication Pretending to be Dead, reading poem the title comes from (Possum) and ‘Church of the Bad Shepherd’. For his gift he continued with his promise/challenge for 2010 to read a song and read an adaptation of ‘Mutton Birds’ by Dominion Road. After this, David O’Riordan read a kind of dream sequence story, with his character abandoning the gold in all our hearts to the stars, before seeking to retrieve same! Anne Tanhem was next up and read a sequence of poems on parenthood, about the birth of her children, response to a request from one of her children to ‘write a poem for me’, and one about the birth of other people’s children! After Anne Anamaria Crowe Serrano read a poem she had written trying to reconcile her love for her grandfather with his political allegiance, followed by one that was library related! After Anamaria, Orla Martin came to the stage in an attempt to establish herself as a gay icon! Orla also reminded us about her 9th April open mic event in the Winding Stair – which of course, being late with this blog, I cannot advertise in advance. I’ll just say, watch out for the next one later in the year! After Orla, Liz McSkeane made her debut at eh open mic, and her first time reading for a long time. She read of Friedrich the Great’s Christmas in 1957 and channelled Jane’s Eyre’s consciousness through a poem about the mad woman in that attic. After Liz, sci-fi writer David Murphy surprised all present by reading poems he had written – a relatively new departure for David. He read about Mahon Falls in Waterford, a canoe trip to South America and a comprehensive medical check! After David Desmond Swords returned to the event after an absence and read prose in the form of a blog response, nicely rounding off the evening and bringing us right into April, which had the cheek to start almost immediately after the open mic!!
And so here we are now, the April update!!
And April started off with our lunchtime reading in Chapters Bookstore on the 7th of the month where Eileen Casey featured with her former student Bernadette O’Reilly. The curse of the Seven Towers mic struck at the beginning of this reading and both readers gamely read loudly into the store without the benefit of a mic. They were greatly helped by the listeners though who, on request (shouted by me!!) did come closer to make hearing easier. And I think fun was had all round!. 15th April saw our themed reading in Chapters, on the unlikely theme of ‘Hair’ and, to my surprise, most readers wrote something specifically for the event. Steve Conway read a story hot off the press (well the printer) about how he always gets the girl, though not necessarily the haircut! Ross put us all off yoghurt (you’ll have to ask him to explain!), Anamaria apologised for not having more hair related poems (though she did have a good amount) we think she was feeling the loss of some of her magnificent hair, which was about 6 inches shorter! Eileen read from her novel, and Bernie and Anamaria both read sad poems about hair loss due to chemo therapy. Interestingly all readers read a mix of types of poems with Eamonn Lynskey even adding a sad poem – though nobody, not even Oran Ryan mentioned animal hair of any kind!! It was a really fun reading all round.