So November came on top of us with an awful rush, with the first November reading featuring a Seven Towers writer right on the first of the month. The 1st November event was Alma Brayden reading at Bray Writers’ Group Halloween Fundraiser with an arts night in the Heather Hotel at the Martello in Bray. We had a wonderful evening with this warm, enthusiastic and dedicated group. Carmen was our MC for the night, and after some Jazz from Max and Jim, Alma read from her recently published collection Prism reading the poems ‘Celtic Animals’, ‘Sweet Nothings’ (for Sylvia Plath), ‘Chiaroscuro’, ‘Basra 1991’, ‘Everywoman’, ‘Blue’, ‘Yellow’, ‘First Born’, ‘Tapestry’, and ‘Carpe Diem’. The evening also featured work from artist William Gibb Forsythe (better known as Gibb).
The featured work was part of his ‘Bound’ exhibition (‘bound’ as in restriction, and as in on a journey) which consists of life casts and silicone mounding of the female form; the casted torsos are bound in ropes prior to casting, giving an overall ancientness to the modern casting.
The Bray Writers Group also run the Bray Arts Journal edited by Dermot McCabe and with Anne Fitzgerald as the Creative Writing Editor. The journal has a mix of poetry, fiction and articles. Submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com .
After this start, our next event was the first Chapters and Verse reading of the month, on 3rd November in Chapters Bookstore, with Eamonn Lynskey and Clair Ni Aonghusa, with Clair treating us to a rare poetry reading and Eamonn dipping in to the dark and not so distant past in Ireland with a wry commentary on the role the Church played in so many Irish lives. In keeping with our usual practice to increase readings – just to keep us in your minds for winter and up-coming Christmas – we had some extra lunchtime readings in November – as we will in December. So the 10th November saw Neville Keery and Catherine Ann Cullen paying homage to Armistice Day in our Eve of Armistice Reading. Both Neville and Catherine Ann have won the Francis Ledwidge Award, and Francis Ledwidge lost his life on the battlefields of the First World War. This reading was in Chapters Bookstore on the 10th November, and the 10th was a busy day, as the Clan Writers’ Group open mic in the Liffey Arms in Newbridge also took place – and Seven Towers writers Ross hattaway, Oran Ryan and Eamonn Lynskey, as well as Eileen Keane, who is also a member of the Clane Writers Group, took their turns at the mic, when Eamonn read from his collection And Suddenly the Sun Again , Eileen read an extract from one of her wonderfull short stories, Steve Conway read about the feminine side of flying and Oran debuted his new pieve ‘Prudence Antipode’.
Our themed reading in November was o n a theme that seems a bit unmerited given the weather outside at the moment, but in our defence – the snow had cleared when we planned it! The theme was ‘Remembering Last Winter’. Actually, funnily enough – it seemed few actually wanted to remember last winter! Not one of the readers had a pieced specifically about last winter – though some did reference winter, and some had snow! Pauline Fayne had a mix of memories – some with cold hands and warm hearts and some with warm hands and cold hearts, and she also did some ‘Mowing in the dark’ from her up coming collection of the same name with Revival in Limerick; Ross Hattaway read a mixture of work – some from the first collection The Gentle Art of Rotting (‘Imagist’, ‘Shelter’ and ‘My Cranberry Hero’), and ‘Feast of the Assumptions’ from the forthcoming, as yet untitled, collection, as well as a new poem ‘Love Poem Noir’. He did manage to embrace teh winter theme with his gift – ‘Winter Solstice Song’ by Sam Hunt; after Ross, Bernie O’Reilly took on the theme with a poem about last winter – ‘Thank you Mr. Winter’ as well as reading ‘Promise’, ‘Sunday’, ‘Winter Sunday Evening’, ‘Snow Fear’, ‘A Place’ and in memory of her grandmother whose poem – embracing the wintery theme with ‘Polar Bear for Sale’, and reprising his performance at the Newbridge Open Mic with his new work ‘Prudence Antipode’. The reading ended with Karl Parkinson, also embracing winter adn snow – even if it wasn’t last winters(!) with ‘Winter Prayer’ from Census 2,’3am Sitting in a Chair in my Flat in January’ and ‘Ode to the Phoenix Park’.
The next lunchtime reading was on the 17th November in Chapters and this saw Ross Hattaway reading poems desperately seeking a collection title, from his forthcoming collection, and Donal Moloney making a welcome return to the lunchtime readings, with an extract from his novella ‘In the Balance’.
And next up was our Last Wednesday Series Reading and Open Mic. The event occurred in the evening after the Government launched that Plan, or proposal, or reprisal – well that 141 page document they launched which was, of course, for the good of the people, but which is going to hurt us a lot mor e than it’s going to hurt them . It was good to see a good turn out for the event, and to hear artists using their work to critique the destruction of the country.
At the opening of the event, our MC Declan mourned the absence of the microphone stand – absent as it was due, of course, to the ongoing microphone curse that follows us around! In the context of the National Recovery Plan, he assured those present that we will be initiating a Microphone Stand Recovery Plan. In the meantime, our resident roadie – novelist, poet and playwright Oran Ryan mcgyvered a replacement using some tape and a brush handle – and I’m sure there had to be an elastic band in there somewhere!
Also the ever generous (and soon to be published) Anne Tannam supplied us with self baked magic biscuits (we know they are magic as they inspired some poets in their choice of reading material), self baked and scrumptious. Declan decided everyone reading should be give a free biscuit!
Damien Kennerk read again his poem Elements, which is his favourite poem, meaning a lot to him, as it is about his friend Mick who died from cancer. He followed this with a few haiku. He finished up with a series of philosophical reflections that were particularly apt for the times we find ourselves in. After Damian, Phil Lynch came to the mic – with a love poem ‘Mystic Lady’; he followed up with an angry untitled poem in progress, on things related to the current state of affairs and Joe Duffy Politics. He finished up with ‘Christmas Present’, a poem long in the making, having begun in the 1990s in pre-Christmas run-ups to Invasions of Iraq. The second part of the poem Santa Clause is coming to town, which was written in 2002. The poem was read out on RTE. Roger Hudson followed Phil at the brush handle mic, reading from his recently published collection. (Lapwing 2010) He read Dead Sea Idyll’ – about death, decay, euthanasia, and holidays abroad! He followed up with some Christmassy poems – ‘First Frost’ and a Celtic Tiger Christmas poem, particularly apt when looking back– ‘Betrayal’. Roger finished with ‘Small Talk’ – about mourning our wasted life – with passing phrases, and sure, aren’t we all grand! After Roger, George Sweetman came to the mic and read a war poem – Poynang Province, Vietnam 1969 – a love poem from the battlefield’.
After George, we had a short break, with an experience of discovery – of the lights and the broken h eating system – and then Eamonn Lynskey took to the mic. His first poem was ‘Deposition’, another reflection of our times, particularly pertinent after recent news stories, including the shocking shooting in the Clearwater Centre in Finglas on 23 November; he followed this up with a poem on Ireland’s economic prospects for the next 600 years. Part one of the poem was Eamonn silently parading a black card around the room; part two was about the government thoughts on solutions for the crisis – which consisted of Eamonn marching around with a sheet of blank paper! The 3rd part of the poem was a word commentary on the back and forth/cat and mouse game that has been played. Eamonn’s final poem was a little out of season – but strangely apt – ‘Monsters of What should we dress up as for Hallowe’en – Eamonn suggests bankers are the biggest monsters of all. He finished up with ‘Green Shoots’. After Eamonn. Sandra Harris followed Eamonn to the mic, with a scandalous short story about hating the Beatles, oh and hating husbands too – although it would seem that both were linked – in the story anyway. After Sandra it was the turn of Ross Hattaway. After thanking Anne for her biscuits, commenting on the broom microphone stand (an Martin Egan teling him he needs to brush up on his delivery!), Ross, in his commentary on the RecoveryPlan – read about one of New Zealand’s founders – ‘Samuel Marsden who hunted humans ‘(I wonder did he rape and pillage too, or is that just our politicians?). And in another State of the Nation address he read ‘The New Cooking (The first line of which will not be the title of his, as yet untitled forthcoming book from which both poems were drawn). He finished up with some Tanka also from the forthcoming book – Black and Tanka, Counter Tanka, Oil Tanka, Disrespecting the Prevailing Oligarchy Tanka (a Hanka, as the title has 17 syllables!), The Id Tanka, Executive Summary Tanka, \and finally Cantankarous (no comments about Ross please). He finished up with a song from Straight Jacket Fitz called ‘Down and Splendour’, the final instalment of Ross’ challenge to himself to read a song as poem as his gift at the end of the open mic reading. Songs are posted on Ross’ Facebook page. Ross was followed by Helen Dempsey, with ‘Generation 2013’, based on current situation and September 1913 by W.B. Yeats. Her second poem was seasonal, kind of – ‘No Sleigh Ride’ – meeting Kris Kringle on the bus – in October! Helen finished up with a really seasonal poem ‘Advent’.
After a short break, Liz McSkeane came to the mic, with a short story – ‘Innocence’ about a young couple, and the famous dilemma – should she stay or should she go? And what will the going be like and the consequence of the going! After Liz it was the turn of Kathy Irvine, making her last Wednesday debut, reading a series of work in progress – ‘Surface’, and three untitled poems, a love poem, a poem about identity and sleeping and waking sky. After Kathy it was the turn of Eileen Keane, admiring the anarchic microphone stand, – which is not a microphone stand but a shelf for biscuits (with thanks to Magritte). Eileen read the next part of the story about what happened to guest, a heartfelt and emotional journey through some of the saddest ongoing episodes in Irish History. Next up was Oran Ryan, trying out his mcgyver ed microphone. He read a recently written poem Revised Standardised Life of Prudence Antipode, a poem which will be taken on a further, not so standardised life of its own in the not too distant future – continue to watch this space. After Oran, it was the turn of Anne Tannam, with something slightly different – taking a few poems, running together without titles from her forthcoming collection Take This Life.
After Anne, a short break during which we had a quick raffle for a bottle of champagne, and a Seven Towers Book. With David Murphy, returning after a long absence, securing a bottle of champagne and a book of his choice and Eileen Keane securing a book of her choice! This was followed by Steve Conway, starting off the final part of the evening. Steve read from his book Shiprocked Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline, remembering the fateful night, 19 years and 3 days ago – on a ship running aground – after the anchor has broken (remind you of anything? I hope the coast guard and the RNLI are ready, this time it’s a whole country that’s running aground with Steve on it!). Steve left us on tenterhooks as out intrepid heroes were barely clinging to life as the ship went over in the icy water. By the way, signed copies of Steve’s book, and Ross’, Oran’s, and Eamonn Lynskey’s will be on sale at the Fashion Stage market in The Twisted Pepper in Abbey Street 12-5pm every Saturday and Sunday from now until Christmas. After Steve, it was the turn of Donal Moloney, with another segment from his novella, with a scene with Lynn and Brian, Jonathan, Helen and the hangover., and leaving us wondering just how Brian will extricate himself from the situation. After Donal it was the turn of Karl Parkinson reading a poem dedicated to the two men killed in Clearwater, who came from the same place as Karl and one of whom he knew growing up – ‘How it is Down Here’, with a harrowing tour through city streets; he followed up with Positivity Manifesto, the other side of the life, planting poet tree, with thoughts coming through phonetically! After Karl it was the turn of David Murphy fresh from his champagne win and reading a poem from that time in our dark and distant past when people bought property; followed by ‘Jim Larkin’s Big Hands’, and then an almost romantic poem ‘Sway’. His final poem was a work in progress, he felt was necessary for the day in it – and with audience participation – being gathered so those at the bottom of the well will pay for the rich. And at the end of the reading making a well return after a long absence – where he was busy making music. He started with ‘Wild Wire Opera’, the operatic voices of the wind whistling and whirring through gaps; he followed up with a poem written over with his own handwriting – which he can’t read! The poem was dedicated to Brendan Kennelly, sad, and yet hopeful. His next poem was a love poem ‘Green Water’, remembering what was. He finished up with one of his own song lyrics, talking to the stranger in yourself. And, talking about Martin, we are supporting him in his aim to get into the charts this Christmas with the singlt The Tune from his album of the same name. The single can be downloaded at
The arrangement of the days this month left us with almost a full week after the Last Wednesday open mic – and a week that we filled up! On Saturday, Ross Hattaway, Eamonn Lynskey and Oran Ryan braved the beginning of the Big Freeze and drove to Galway to help celebrate Kenny’s Bookshop’s 70th Birthday. They had a wonderful day in the beautiful store, signing (and selling!) books and hanging with the fantastic staff adn a myriad of other writers. And then, to bring the month to an official close, on 30th November, we went along to the Centre for Creative Practices in Pembroke Street for another celebration – this time it was the launch of Dublin, Ten Journeys One Destination published by the Irish Writer’s Exchange (IWE) a writer’s co-operative based in North County Dublin. The Book is an anthology of 10 stories by people from different nationalities who found themselves in Dublin, and among the African, Scandinavian and North American (Continental) contributors is a Dubliner – our very own Oran Ryan. The book was launched by Des Geraghty who as also written the introduction, and the evening was wonderful – with a very full attendance – even with the weather that was in it.
And so here we are at the end of the month, ready to head into the final month of the year – if you can believe we are here already!!
But first some news!
Of course, the launch of Dublin 10 Journeys, One Destination is big news coming into the Christmas Season, with Oran Ryan Story “The Book Club”, being part of it. And added to that is the Fashion Stage Market (see events below) running each weekend up until Christmas. And in that context we are launching our Christmas Read out the Recession Package – or should I say packages. From now until Christmas, there will be the following offers on Seven Towers Books –
All poetry collections will be €10 each, and if you buy two you will get a free music CD;
Oran Ryan’s novels will be €7 each of two for €10, and if you buy two with a poetry collection, then you will get a free music CD.
The offer will also include Steve Conway’s memoir Shiprocked, Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline which will be available at the Recession beathing reduced price of €10, and if you but that with a poetry collection – or Oran Ryan’s two novels – you get a free music CD
And, as if that wasn’t enough, we have a very special, recession beating Anthology pack – buy Census, the First Seven Towers Anthology, Census, The Second Seven Towers Anthology and Living Streets, The Anthology of the Ranelagh Arts Festival and get all three for €20.
I f that wasn’t enough as part of their Twisted Christmas features, stories and dramas giving a quirky take on the whole Christmas season, Oran Ryan will be sharing credits with such luminaries as Barry Devlin, writer of the soon to be released movie A kiss for Jed Wood. (Yes! Barry Devlin of Horslips) and the featured writer is the marvellous Lora Lee Lorden Templeton. The show is broadcast live on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and there will be pod casts available, for those so interested.
Heres what KRCB have to say about their Twisted Christmas feature
In a dangerous world full of chaos and uncertainty, it’s good to know that some things can still counted on Twisted Christmas is one of those things, returning again for its eighth unpredictable year. The annual lit-comedy-variety show will once again feature the strangest and funniest holiday stories we could find, read aloud by political satirist Will Durst, Reed Martin (of the Reduced Shakespeare Company), comic Debi Durst, actor John Moran, and more. Listen for a special treat from monologist Josh Kornbluth, and outrageous performances by Doug Jayne (singing the Weirdest Christmas Songs Ever Written). Hosted by North Bay journalist and performer David Templeton, the show will also feature a tribute to Christmas carols by the Twisted Christmas All-Ukulele OrchestraTwisted Christmas is one of those things, returning again for its eighth unpredictable year. The annual lit-comedy-variety show will once again feature the strangest and funniest holiday stories we could find, read aloud by political satirist Will Durst, Reed Martin (of the Reduced Shakespeare Company), comic Debi Durst, actor John Moran, and more. Listen for a special treat from monologist Josh Kornbluth, and outrageous performances by Doug Jayne (singing the Weirdest Christmas Songs Ever Written). Hosted by North Bay journalist and performer David Templeton, the show will also feature a tribute to Christmas carols by the Twisted Christmas All-Ukulele Orchestra
You can listen live here
And that’s all the news we’re putting in for this month – I think that’s more than enough for anyone to handle!
ALL EVENTS LISTED HERE ARE WEATHER PERMITTING!
Friday 3rd December, 1.15 Chapters Bookstore, Parnell Street, Dublin 1 Patrick Chapman and Oran Ryan. More details at
Saturday 4th and Friday 5th December Seven Towers at the Fashiopn Stage, Twisted Pepper, Abbey Street. More details at
Wednesday 8th December 1.15 Chapters Bookstore, Parnell Street, Dublin 1 Alma Brayden and Eamonn Lynskey. More details at
Thursday 9th December 6.30 Chapters Bookstore, Parnell Street, Dublin 1 Themed Reading – Chrismas Cheer. More details at
Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th December Seven Towers at the Fashiopn Stage, Twisted Pepper, Abbey Street. More details at
Wednesday 15th December Chapters Bookstore, Parnell Street, Dublin 1. Reading to celebrate the launch of Dublin, Ten Journeys, One Destination, with Roslyn Fuller, Ifedinma
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th December Seven Towers at the Fashiopn Stage, Twisted Pepper, Abbey Street. More details at
And for the final event of the year,
29th December, 7.30 Rocky Sullivan’s, Red Hook, Brooklyn Last Wednesday Series Reading and Open Mic – And Last Chance to be eligible to submit to Census 3 – the Third Seven Towers Anthology.
And we’re done. See you in 2011.