Quiet last Wednesday, with heavy rain and winds and storm outside and with Shakespearian storms predicted. A naughty night to swim in. But many stalwarts nonetheless braved the elements for their art!
Declan opened proceedings, calling for silence and ending of conversations and also being careful to ensure he insulted everyone in the room, as much as possible, and even one or two of those who weren’t around.
First up to the mic was Oran Ryan with some experimental work – perhaps the opening salvo of a joint work in progress – between Oran and John W Sexton – with Steve the tumour and Canal Bridges, a prose poem opening for a novel. Declan’s pertinent question – how does someone write a novel with another person? Which Oran replied – we’ll just have to figure that out! We shall expect a detailed report! After Oran it was the turn of Roger Hudson making a return after a long absence. He opened with ‘Silent Family’, with clacking of needles – and knitting and reading killing conversations. He followed this with ‘Propaganda’, ‘First Week of the Rest of my Life’ about first week at university; then an excerpt based on his historical detective novel, ending with ‘Arctic Circle Warnings’. After Roger it was the turn of our newly antipodean-ised Ross Hattaway, pretending to be jetlagged, reading from a sneak preview version of his soon to be launched Pretending to be Dead starting with the Tanka from the book, including ‘Black and Tanka’ and ‘Getting Lost in the Id Tanka’ and ‘Disrespecting the Prevailing Poetic Oligarchy Tanka’, and, like Declan before him, trying to ensure any insults were shared equally among those present – one for everybody in the . . . He then moved to the longer bits – with ‘Did You’, ‘The New Cooking’ – inspired by a tsunami of gastro-porn! Ross’ gift was from Bill Manhire – ‘Children’.
After Ross, there was a short break and after the break it was the turn of Eamonn Lynskey, reading ‘Early Christian Chronicle’, – not exactly sacrificed to lions but . . . and all the prayers, and cardinal red turning to black on the b&w TV. He followed with ‘At the Railway Crossing at Proterstown, Clonsilla’ and ‘Concerning the Concept of the Universe as an Accident Waiting to Happen’. He finished with ‘The Canals of Mars’, and possibilities if we could have stood outside our history – if only. After Eamonn, it was the turn of Stephen Pepper making his first Wednesday and open mic debut, playing with sounds and words, wondering if we know what we think we knew was true. After Stephen it was the turn of Anne Tannamwith some new poems – ‘Ferral’ about people lost to addiction; ‘Staunch’, about experience donating blood; ‘Rise’, which will becoming out in the Poetry Bus 4; ‘Seven Signs of Love’, ‘Parallel Universe’ and finishing up with a poem from her book Take this Life – ‘The Start of the Affair’ . After Anne it was the turn of Phil Lynch who Declan relaxed before his reading by reminding him how important it was to give a good finish! Phil opened with an anti-homage to Dick Spring and John Bruton, chased his shadow, and then read ‘Mirage’ about that elusive poem and in memory of Louis Le Brocquy who died today. He next read a sonnet ‘Encounters’, and ended with a recent poem, ‘Questions’ inspired by and dedicated to his 18 month old granddaughter.