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Well in December, we managed to prove that whoever controls the weather machine (come on – you know you believe there’s a weather machine!) hates literature. That can be the only logical explanation for snow causing the cancellation of most of our pre-Christmas readings, the December open mic in Brooklyn, and even the January open mic in Brooklyn!! Though, maybe it spawned a whole lot of snow poems? We’ll have to wait and see.
So we shall slide over December (!) and just head into mild snowless January. January tends to be a quiet month for us in as much as we don’t hold readings until the last Wednesday ones, though behind the scene, it’s all busy, busy, busy, as we organize for the coming year.
That said, this January, we did manage to keep a bit busy publicly too – we had our stall at The Fashion Stage with Third Floor Espresso at the Twisted Pepper in Abbey Street – and we will be there every Saturday, enabling you to get your much needed Irish literary fix – and you might even manage to bump into some of the writers and pick up some signed books!
As well as the Fashion Stage, Ross Hattaway bagged himself a reading to the Stone Coast \University, Portland Maine MFA class during their residency at Howth in North County Dublin, and we got to listen to the class’ work from the residency workshop hosted by Annie Deppe and Ted Deppe.
And we ended the month, as always with the Last Wednesday Reading and Open Mic, which, in keeping with New Year, when everything changes, has moved across the street to Doyle’s Bar (www.Doylesintown.ie ). Actually, Doyle’s is the very place that the Seven Towers Agency was itself launched back in April 2006, when the world was a very different place. It’s nice to be back there, and it feels fitting as we warm up to celebrate our fifth birthday. And for those of you not familiar with Doyle’s – it’s a pub with everything – upstairs, downstairs, literary history, prime food and great location. This venue is for January only and we will be entering into a brand new location from February, so watch this space for more details.
In the meantime, the open mic:
So in the temporary venue at Doyle’s the writers (and MC Declan) finally felt they were properly appreciated with a high pedestal to stand on, complete with steps to climb! AND they were able to welcome a long sought after lectern – donated by our friend Jason – nice and sturdy with a light to shine on creative work (the lectern that is, not Jason, though he too is, in fact nice and sturdy, just no light!)
The evening started off with Eamonn Lynskey in a nostalgic mood, talking about those old photographs you find years later in Photograph; then remembering a holiday in Sicily with Gigolo Siciliano (Hmmm! What kind of holiday was that? Hmmmm!); then he read a poem from Anne Tannam’s soon to be launched book Take this Life – the poem was The Art of Listening. Eamonn was followed to the mic by Ross Hattaway – with a new poem – brand new – about being the ultimate new boy! And a little section on ‘soul management’ – where the old system had to be replaced, and now there are piousness seminars and the like as part of the new approach so the system stops blocking those who want to be saved. Then he got topical with Election Manifesto. His gift was Place from New Zealand poet Tony Bayer. After Ross Glen Hyland made his Last Wednesday debut with an untitled poem about Dreaming; he followed up with a love-lost poem – Song of Ours; and one from when he Perth, written by the Shelly Bridge. Next up was Anne Tannam reading from her soon to be launched Take this Life (www.annetannam.com). She performed Curriculum Vitae from the book and read the second in a sequence called The Great Escape – that escape so many of us long for – being imprisoned in that 9-5 cell. She ended with a gift, reciting, as a poem, a Randy Newman song In Germany Before the War. Anne’s book is launched on 5th February at the Exchange Arts Centre.
After a short break Noel O Briain made a welcome return after a snow bound absence, performing some sonnets lamenting ,passing of time and encroachment of age, leaving the age in one of the sonnets at 70, as his current age doesn’t scan! Noel assures us that there is nothing positive about getting old and distancing oneself from fickle youth. He finished up with James Joyce and Marilyn Monroe – in one poem – no really! After Noel, Jim Rooney took to the mic, complimenting Noel on his performance, before launching himself back into the world of Molly his octogenarian prostitute – servicing the yearly Christian Halleluiah conference! He also read a poem called Swim – about threesomes, staying with the sex theme – not that he has ever done a threesome himself – it’ s not that he had any moral objection, just that he can’t multi-task. Though it would appear from this poem that Molly may not be a fan of Jim’s work! Hugh Doolan took his turn at the mic next, and, after promising to keep in clean, began with a poem called Lucky followed by a poem about a tramp he used to see as a schoolboy in Drogheda, with four foot long dreadlocks – At least was less, Grasshopper, he continued with A Measure of you, a love poem, or perhaps a love-lost poem also and finished up with Soft Willow and Down and Cherub. After Hugh, it was Steve Conway’s turn at the mic, and he lamented the recently improvised new order at the mic (writers are never happy!) – down the steps and without lectern – which meant that he couldn’t emulate all those press conferences he’s been watching , climbing the steps, standing behind the lectern, saying that he was not going to step down, and then stepping down!! He read a prose excerpt from his current work in progress about the old Cork Road going from Bluebell in Dublin to Cork. The piece starts in Bluebell and travels on the old road, past what used to be the bridge over the Camac River, and with a little secret piece of old, country town of Bluebell – right in the middle of the industrial estate. You need to read the book to find it! He also told us the sad story of his first lost love – and of course the time of petrol at 4c a gallon!!
After Steve there was a short break and Sandra Harris then took to the mic opening with shouting ‘that bitch’ into the mic! But it’s ok, she wasn’t freaking at Declan, or at anyone else in the audience, it was the first line of her new short story, again about love and love lost – are we seeing a post Christmas theme here? After Sandra, it was the turn of Phil Lynch who read a very old poem (as in written years ago) called Progress with lunar ambassadors and European famine; his second poem was Mirage about the experience of waking up with the hint of a poem but losing it before he could write it down. He then read a love poem, Together, and finished with a short untitled poem – a kind of national obituary. After Phil it was the turn of Damian Kennerk who started with a Haiku, followed on with Tension and Fear about playing football in Father Collins’ Park; his next poem was called Fall from Grace about a homeless person in North Stand at the bench on the bridge opposite the post office at the top of Ossory Road. He finished with an escape poem, not unrelated to Anne Tannam’s great escape – this time he was escaping from St Fintan’s school, but not really! After Damian, Bob Shakeshaft took to the mic, lamenting the move from Chaplin’s, reading about aging and final preparation, and then he read To Be, and then lamenting his recent illness he read The Plague of Uncertainty followed by Life is . . . and then he read a poem named after a weed – with an unpronounceable Latin name (not to mention I can’t spell it!! The poem though had a serious theme – about unrelenting despair that can sometimes take root. His final poem was a gift from Anne Tannam’s forthcoming book In a Notion of Ignorance. After Bob, the final reader of the night was Oran Ryan, remembering the last time he read here – when Seven Towers was launched. And, in celebration (!) of his recent finally passing acquaintanceship with the H1N1 virus, he read A Little Local Trouble – and just how quickly a little local trouble can actually spread, and just what a little trouble can do!
A ridiculous amount of news for January 2011. And all to do with getting bigger and better and keeping moving on. We have our new company line up, new reading venues, a much improved 1000 Book challenge, and 2011 publications to look forward to.
New Company Line Up
Our sturdy line of dedicated workers for has expanded for 2011 to include well known Irish poet Mr Eamonn Lynskey. And, noting Eamonn’s experience and talent, as a writer and performer, we are delighted to have him join the team, and promise to use and abuse him for the benefit of art everywhere! Eamonn joins our dedicated line up of Ruairi Conneely, Izabella Cwiszewska, Ross Hattaway, Oran Ryan and Sarah Lundberg back at the office, and MCs Declan McLoughlin and Lisa McLaughlin in the firing line caretaking the open mic.
As with all the ‘back office’ people, Eamonn will share in a vast array of work areas and add his enthusiasm to that which is at the heart of all things Seven Towers.
New Reading Venues.
As Seven Towers coming of age, we’ve decided to celebrate by taking the Chapters and Verse reading series on tour!! We’ll be starting with the lunchtime reading on the first Wednesday of each month at Third Floor Espresso at the Twisted Pepper on Abbey Street. (See Press release at http://chaptersandverse.wordpress.com/)
And, as if that wasn’t enough excitement – you will also be able to experience the Chapters and Verse experience at our favorite London pub – the Hammersmith ram (www.facebook.com/hammesmithram), who will be hosting a monthly themed reading at open mic on the last Sunday of each month. And this will be followed by their weekly trad seisuin – so a fun night out for all of us. The press release about this is also at http://chaptersandverse.wordpress.com/.
We will also be continuing with the Chapters and Verse Themed reading in Chapters Bookstore in Parnell Street on the 2nd Thursday of each month – starting with our Valentine anticipating Love and Chocolate Reading at 6.30pm on 10th February 2011.
AND . . . we could be coming to a venue near you. In February Chapters and Verse will be heading out to Blanchardstown Public Library – with verse rather than chapters this time – with poets Alma Brayden, Ross Hattaway and Eamonn Lynskey, and we will be popping up elsewhere throughout the year.
And, for the 1000 Book Challenge, we’re launching a bigger and even better challenge for 2011 – it will still be a 1000 book challenge, as each 1000 books sold enables us to continue publishing wonderful writers – but for 2011 – we’re looking to make it a sale total of 2011 as quickly as can be done!! See the synchronicity.
And to make it easy for you to support the challenge – we’ll be selling our books at easy to access venues – and at The Fashion Stage in the Twisted Pepper at Abbey Street, we’ll be continuing with our recession busting offers of books at a spectacularly reduced €10 each or any three for €20. So in a win-win situation – you get to own and read wonderful books, we get to make enough sales to keep publishing wonderful books to you to own and read – what more could you ask for?
And, in other news:
The wonderful Eamonn Lynskey has lots to celebrate as he marches into 2011 – as well as taking up a virtual residence in one of the Towers, he has also been awarded the Heinrich Böll residency in Achill this summer. (See http://www.seventowers.ie/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=265&Itemid=1). So congratulations to Eamonn. And, as if that wasn’t enough, he has also taken over the presentation of the Sunday afternoon book show on Liffey Sound Radio Station. (www.liffeysoundfm.ie),
And congratulations also to Rob Brown, formerly of Chapters Bookstore who is braving the economic elements in his quest to spread great literature far and wide with his venture The Market Bookstore. At the moment, Rob can be found at the market in the St. Andrew’s resource Centre in Pearse Street – a wonderful market that had now added abundant words to its organic fruit and vegetable stalls. So do call in and support Rob there as he brings Irish book sales back to the front line, with real people taking to real people about really good literature.
Well, I think that’s all for the moment – but isn’t that more than enough. I, for one, can’t wait to jump into the rest of the year!
And from January 2011 – a new added excitement to our open mics will be the ‘Stranger than Fiction’ event. This will be where we will take an event in the news – either a current event or an interesting/strange story and invite open mikers to write a piece of short fiction or a poem on the item. This will be read at the open mic and then we will post in alongside the newsletter following that open mic. Pieces will be posted as read, without editing or censorship – only pieces that are particularly offensive or bigoted will not be posted. It will be a kind of virtual open mic following the actual open mic. Submissions will be taken from open mics in Dublin, New York and London; though, in each case the news subjects may be slightly different, picked from local locations, except when the stories have generic or international appeal. And participants are welcome to suggest their own stranger than fiction storylines too.
And – As Always –
Since the Last Wednesday in April 2009, The Last Wednesday Series Reading and Open Mike is running simultaneously Dublin and Brooklyn New York, in a new to be confirmed venue in Dublin 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 Failte Ireland for their help and encouragement in this venture. AND from February 2011, Chapters and Verse reading and open mic will also take place in the Hammersmith Ram pub in King Street, Hammersmith London on the last Sunday of every month from 6pm tpo 8pm. SO with the Ram, The Twisted Pepper, Rocky Sullivans and our soon to be announced new Dublin venue we are becoming a veritable holiday guide of literary hotspots and great places for food also!
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.
All the venues give their space free of charge to this event, so we encourage you to support them. There is a full bar, including soft drinks and tea/coffee available and both also have great food! We encourage all patrons to drink sensibly.
Wednesday 2nd February Twisted Pepper, Abbey Street Dublin 1, 1.15 Eamonn Lynskey and Ross Hattaway http://www.seventowers.ie/cms/index.php?option=com_extcalendar&Itemid=86&extmode=view&extid=450
Saturday 5th February, The Fashion Stage, Twisted Pepper Abbey Street 1-7pm, buy Seven Towers’ Books at those recession beating prices!!
Thursday 10 February Chapters and Verse Themed Reading 6.30pm Chapters Bookstore, Parnell St, Dublin 1 reading with on the theme of Love and Chocolate. http://www.seventowers.ie/cms/index.php?option=com_extcalendar&Itemid=86&extmode=view&extid=451
Saturday 12th February The Fashion Stage, Twisted Pepper Abbey Street 1-7pm, buy Seven Towers’ Books at those recession beating prices!!
Saturday 19th February The Fashion Stage, Twisted Pepper Abbey Street 1-7pm, buy Seven Towers’ Books at those recession beating prices!!
Wednesday 23rd February Wednesday Series DUBLIN Reading and Open Mic 7.30pm in Doyle’s Bar, College Street, Dublin 2
Wednesday 23rd February Last Wednesday Series BROOKLYN Reading and Open Mic 7pm in Rocky Sullivan’s Red Hook Brooklyn with Lisa McLaughlin
Thursday 24th February Blanchardstown Public Library¸ Blanchardstown Dublin 15.
6pm, reading with Alma Brayden, Ross Hattaway and Eamonn Lynskey.
Saturday 19th February The Fashion Stage, Twisted Pepper Abbey Street 1-7pm, buy Seven Towers’ Books at those recession beating prices!!
Sunday 27 February from 6pm Hammersmith Ram, King St Hammersmith, London, – and an open mic so all voices are welcome.
4. Other Events and Info to Note
Tongue Box performance poetry event with Raven, with, Harry Moschops and Angie McLaughlin. Always a wonderful event, with jazz, blues, poetry, atmosphere! – Cobblestone in Smithfield last Tuesday of each month
And Glóir Sessions every Monday night at 9pm in the International Bar in Dublin – http://www.facebook.com/TheGlorSessions
Mike Igoe’s open mic event in Feile every Second Wednesday.
The Caca Milis cabaret in Wexford www.cacamilis.org
Boyne Writer Group open mic in Trim
5. LOOKING FORWARD
Advance Notice for:
Themed reading in March.
And Library Ireland Week 7 -12 march
Upcoming releases –
Grace Notes by Greagoir O Duill
Pretending to be Dead by Ross Hattaway, with artwork by Paul Hattaway
Obscure Classics of English Progressive Rock
Census the 3rd Seven Towers’ Anthology