So after a little kerfuffle over an accidental double booking , and the return of Declan, in top hat form, Helen Dempsey was first up at the mic in the Twisted Pepper Sweat Lodge, reading ‘Clearing the Decks’ though unfortunately she had to compete with the microphoned voice from the next room. Courageous and artistic. She followed with a fresh off the press poem ‘Conker’; she ended, appropriately considering the competition, with a rant – ‘A Diatribe on Train Commuting’. After Helen, Jim Rooney braved the mic with ‘Wormhole’ about time warping in ongoing or repetitive family argument; followed by his ‘John Le Carre poem’ – that is if two people in Ireland understood it . . . (When Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was made into a TV series it was said that only two people in England actually understood it!); he finished with ‘Life Force’ about a visit to the Testosterone Factory seeking an answer for an empty life – as Declan said, another fine rant! Next to the mic was Bob Shakeshaft, reading a new Dublin poem, about cycling on the crossbar of Daddy’s bike to Glasnevin graveyard; his second poem is one he worked on at Anne Tannam’s and Liz McSkeane’s workshop [insert link]; he finished up with a gift from Samuel Beckett ‘Morte AD’. After Bob, Noel O Briain made a welcome return to the Last Wednesday Series, and started off keeping in the theme on ranting!! He started off with a rant about the over exposure of the word artist, measured by hits on YouTube, and comparing this with the shock and awe that could be inspired by artists of old; then, having re-read the poems of Yeats about unrequited love for Maude Gonne (and adding Iseult to injury!) he performed a new work on unrequited loves of poets through the centuries.
After Noel, we had a short break, and, though the next door event had quietened a bit for the moment, we worked at getting miced up! And next up to the mic was Steve Conway, and the fans were fully activated blowing cold-ish air, though it was suggested that they may be competing with the MC’s hot air. Steve read from the new book Running Away From the Circus, and giving away one of the big secrets of broadcast radio – DJs lie, but, worse than that, they sometimes even convince themselves the lie is true – the passage being complete with the uncovering of lies! He finished with an autobiographically true poem – well 50% true! And, as Declan said, admirable resisting the rhyme between grass and a**! After Steve it was the turn of Phil Lynch, who started with ‘Return Journey’ about a recurring nightmare; followed by ‘Reading Between the Lines’ about wishing he was elsewhere; he finished with a poem written especially for the Seven Towers’ Chapters and Verse Themed Reading, ‘Tiger Hunt’, dedicated to the late lamented Celtic Tiger. After Phil it was the turn of Sandra Harris who read Hideout set somewhere in America in the 1920s, involving bank robbery, some strange names, lots of money, gender issues, competition in love, a bit of a fight and just maybe she was toying with us through it all. After Sandra it was the turn of Oran Ryan who read an excerpt from his new story Grenfell was a Loser, in which Grenfell is a loser, living in a tower block at the end of the world, which might just be where he wants to be, or perhaps deserves to be, or just where he ended up, or just because . . . Complete with car accidents, stoned drivers, nakedness, police arrests, oh and a horse!
After Oran, there was another short break, which was followed by Anne Tannam, who after suffering some abuse as a result of her tendency to heckle Declan, performed a poem to her daughter who had just headed off earlier to her debs, followed by a dialogue (sort of) with the universe. She finished with a new poem about the writing process – world exclusive performance of – ‘When it’. After Declan picked up his train of thought , and after some further well placed insults, it was the turn of Eileen Keane who read a piece in honour of two friends who were present, visiting from Australia, and about a collaborative process she is working on as an artist with artists from Ireland, Wales and Australia, and the experience on one of the weekend in Skellig, stepping back in time for the event, and studying the cottage chairs some of the results of which are part of an exhibition in Wales. Next up was Padraig Nolan fresh from the Seven Towers contribution to the 100 Thousand poets for change. A mic made it to the scene at this stage, so we’re no longer a mic-less open mic. By sheer coincidence, he had been to the same artistic venue as Eileen and had brought work written based on his experience there – ‘Tigh Seamin’. His second poem, ‘By the Conniger’, about shallow sandbanks around Ballyconniger near Wexford. The third poem he performed, ‘Kinship’ was about queuing for a bus; he ended with the performance of ‘Spark’, about the jealousy of lightening. After Padraig, it was the turn of Evan Costigan another performed without the safety net of paper. He started with ‘Conch’, and continued in the morbid tone with ‘Rigor Mortis’ after William Carlos Williams. The last poem he performed was ‘My Gay Brother Does a Sleep Over’. After Evan it was the turn of Sean Ruane performing a poem that started out at ‘Pearl Harbour’ and ended up as ‘Ophelia’; his second piece was a short poem which was written following being told some dark stories by some friends; he followed with some satirical pieces written about 15 years ago, which he found recently and realised that they are still relevant today, and then a poem about what he doesn’t know, having proof read a scientific book for a friend, in spite of knowing nothing about science – and involving the throwing away of and embarrassing retrieval of a wedding ring. He finished with ‘Delivery’
The Stranger than Fiction Writing Challenge was easy this time. The challenge is to take a name from a news paper headline and write either a poem or a story with that name as a title, in a way that makes sense, kind of inspired by the name.
THE LAST WEDNESDAY GIG SEPT 2011 AND SOME UPCOMING POSTERS FOR OCTOBER 2011
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