June Last Wednesday Social and Open Mic 26 June 2013

Quiet night at the Last Wednesday what with the summer’s re-visit after the magic moon!  And the hat went back to its usual seclusion in the back of my wardrobe, as Declan returned – from his stay at the back of the wardrobe (or did he go to Narnia?)

Anyway, first up was Mark Madden having travelled down from Northern climes in Belfast  – in the temporary corner of .  .  . (the lights being somewhat obstreperous!)  Mark started with a short poem ‘Perfect World’, about his perfect world (!) and followed this with ‘Coffee House Poetry’ from his poetry collection, Timely demise of the Reluctant Conformist,  about, among other things, the muse answering your call in camel pyjamas.  His third poem was about Ulster – ‘It’s alright, they’ve gone, you can come out now’.  He finished with ‘Horsewhisperer’;  After Mark it was the turn of Lauren Lawler, making her Last Wednesday debut with ‘My Grandmother in the 40s, the 1960s’; the with ‘The Banshee’, also about her grandmother, about whom she has mixed feelings – but good poems! Lauren’s next poem was about getting dumped – pulling out all the stops!  After Lauren, after a brief interlude when Declan lamented the disappeared from the Census Anthology – those who had attended the poetry open mic before and who moved on to different things – or were perhaps kidnapped by aliens -it was the turn of Canice Lawlor  also making a Last Wednesday debut (and with an ‘o’ not an  ‘e’!) with ‘A Fear that Dare not Speak its Name’. 

After a short break it was the turn of Ross Hattaway, forgoing his cricket for poetry for once!  Though it turns out there was no cricket on, rather than poetry winning out! Ross started with a new poem ‘Arigna’ – about the Arigna coal mine; he followed with a poem drawn from the Mount Temple Writes of Passage workshop – where he imparted his brief wisdom – and wrote a poem about the clock tower (that is in the book The Clock Tower Ghost and Other Writings). Ross’ poem is called ‘Watching’.  He followed up with a poem reacting to String Theory –which sounds stupid – ‘Unravelling the Edges of Speculative Physics’ – with knitting theory – the big yarn, with needle continuums and dark kitten forces. His gift was from Bruce Dore, for his younger son, who just left primary school – ‘The Last of Games’  After Ross it was Ruairi Conneely not last! Ruairi read some work from ‘The Unexploded Series’  – where he gets ideas for stories that he’s never going to write, so writes them as poems. He Then read ‘Celeste and Annette’, the first part of a three part piece.  And after Ruairi it was the turn of Oran Ryan reading his Emmaus piece from the Tellmetale Bloomnibus at the Irish Writers’ Centre which is available in the ebook of the same name. 

After a short break =, during which Phil Lynch magically appeared, fresh from his ‘Your wife thinks this is a holiday’ European poetry tour(!) and started up with ‘Encounters’, a sort of love poem, in sonnet form.  He followed with a struggle in progress,  ‘Gathering’,  His next poem was one written for the television Themed Tuesday, ‘Here is the News’, where you can vote for the war you like the most and the outcome you would want to see, and they’ll have ‘none of your positivities.  He ended with a poem to be read on 9th July Ten Days in Dublin reading in the Winding Stair Bookshop. The poem is ‘Hidden Treasure’, The brochure features a camouflaged Phil – behind the beard he is not wearing tonight  at the open mic.


After Phil, as it was such a quiet night, Declan organised a round table, and we started with Ruairi Conneely reading from Doog Wood’s Old Men Forget; Oran Ryan was next, reading ‘Leave a Note’ from One Inch Punch – Ah what an artist dies in me’; after Oran it was Phil, who performed ‘Life Blood’; and next up it was Mark Madden reading ‘Young Socialists’ (like Bambi in a wolf’s stare!) from his collection; after Mark in was Ross Hattaway, who followed up about the nightmare of daytime TV he was forced to watch during a forced convalescence – ‘The New Cooking’.  After Ross, the circle continued, This time Ruairi read a second poem from Doog’s book – ‘On Zeb’s Field’; Oran, up next, read  from The Clock Tower Ghost and Other Writings where ‘Joe the Astronaut Touched Down’ ; after Oran, Phil  with another performance – this time ‘Carpe Diem’; and after Phi;, a brief discussion on how to learn your own work off by heart – apparently the secret is repetition and a full length mirror was mentioned too! After imparting his words of advice, Mark read a gift work from Mick Farren (as in Mick Farren and the Deviants band) – ‘I know from Self Destruction’.  And then Declan gave Ross the final word!  And he ended with ‘The Trigger’ from ‘Killing My Husband’.



Last Wednesday May 2013 – Open mic mistaking its MC for a hat

Open mic mistaking its MC for a hat

In Declan’s absence his month, we brought the hat out of retirement, dressed for summer in fashionable straw and a flowery ribbon.

Jonathan  from Dublin’s Underground Beat  reading from his book Thorns [insert link]. He started with ‘Bee’, about a  bee – as bees are the poets of the insect world; followed by a trilogy – ‘Reel’; followed by ‘Need’ and ending with the final poem  ‘Life’ . He followed this with a longer poem – ‘Eureka ’ with water  rising but without Archimedes! But seriously – a celebration of being alive.  Jonathan ended with a poem to his father, ‘Father’.


After I suspended cruelty temporarily, and picked all three names for the rest of the section (and Jonathan moved on to his event, the hat picked Helen Dempsey for first to the mic.  Helen read a series of poems on the theme of education, starting with ‘Sophia’, and then ‘Blue Boats’ from her first memory of school; her third poem – the school perennial – ‘Exams’ (going on for many at the moment).  Helen ended with her Bloomsday-ish poem ‘15 June 2011’. After Helen, the hat nominated Bob Shakeshaft with ‘Could You Just Listen’, followed by ‘Tide In’ and keeping with Jonathan’s sea theme, ‘Breaking thoughts’- with the sea speaking for itself;  Bob then read one of his poems published in Riposte ‘Austerity’, Bob’s gift was the Seamus Heaney poem ‘Mid Term Break’.  After Bob, it was Phil Lynch, reading an old poem about a recurring nightmare, followed by ‘Questions’ from questions he wanted to ask his baby granddaughter; then a new poem ‘Beyond the Flood’.  He ended with ‘The Sunshine is Someplace Else’, from a walk around Grafton Street, but for once tonight the sun actually isn’t!

So my cruelty was out voted, and I had to pick the names for the next round (damned democratic vote  – now I understand, it’s only fun when it goes your way!) – so everyone was warned, and Sarah didn’t get the rush of pleasure from seeing the shocked look on peoples’ faces as they were called.  Anyway . . .After a short break it was the turn of Rosamund Taylor  starting with ‘Syrinx’, followed by ‘Between Cooper and Kilcuddie’; she ended with ‘Walking without Feet’. After  Rosamund it was the turn of Oran Ryan, reading excerpts from Ten Short Novels by Arthur Kruger about paying tax and living while you are dead and also reading as a voice from the Dead Zone. After Oran it was Dominic O’Neill, reading a piece inspired by a very mismatched ‘Celebrity Wifeswap’!  – with women with feelings and opinions, nice kitchens, and women in strapless dresses, a touch of Woody Allen, Groucho Marx, and even some Oscar Wilde! After Dominic  it was the turn of Anne Tannam reading a work in progress, commissioned for a family gathering – ‘And Cobh was Cousins’. 

So, having been  browbeaten by Anne, I caved, and picked out all the names in advance this time!  So first up and forewarned was Ruth Farr, reading a poem about a fox she saw – sunning itself on a golf course green – ‘Boundaries’, and then back to the sea – ‘After the Wolf’, she followed with a performance of ‘Planting Dahlias’, a poem for her grandfather and ended with a recent work ‘Water Colour’ in memory of a friend who died last year.  After Ruth it was the turn of Eamonn Lynskey, reading ‘Rachel’ from his experience teaching (and recently winning a ward), followed by ‘Home again’ about his own experience of coming home again from hospital; he followed this with ‘Gale Force Winds on Main Street’; he followed this  with ‘Acton Town’, where he had never been before and yet .  . . He followed this with something completely different – where names were changed to protect the innocent – outside the Bunga Bar, with bounces danced in tux and broken noses!  After Eamonn it was the turn of James Conway (from the Rathmines Writers Workshop) reading ‘Sweat’, followed by ‘Stuff’ a reaction to some poetry he has been reading today, topped off with a metaphorical scented tart; his next poem ‘O Skin of Stony Shades’ abut sea swimming. James ended with ‘Changing Places’ about experiences in different religions’ places of worship .  After James it was the turn of Claire O’Reilly making her Last Wednesday and poetry reading debut – ‘Whole Story’ followed by ‘Someone’ both about knowing someone, but not really.

After the break it was the turn of John Clarke, making his Last Wednesday solo debut with ‘The Carpenter’, followed by a relationship poem, ‘Two Peas in a Pod’ , then ending with a poem based on his time as a teacher – ‘Young Men of Speed’.  After John it was the turn of Liz McSkeane with ‘On Burning Bridges’, followed by ‘Remembering Child’ and ‘Tenement’, a celebration of finally becoming fashionable! Her next poem was ‘Arguing with Arithmetic’ – square roots and all.  She ended with ‘Rush’ .

Open Mic 27 March 2013

So preparing for the open mic, wondering if there will be many people here – given the snow! And wondering if there will be any snow poems!  Lots of new and fairly new faces looking around the rooFujicam 114m, and a few old friends! 

And the last open mic before the new era after the Coolest month of the April Birthday.  (insert link to ‘April is the Coolest Month).

And first up was Steve Conway reading from the final chapter of the difficult second book – about the lessons he has learnt during his years on radio – Chapter 27 ‘The is no ‘And Finally . . .’, about reading on Radio Seagull – and the rest . . .  And then the final final chapter – as Steve headed off to the launch party for his newest radio home 8Radio. After Steve ran out to his launch party, Oran Ryan took to the mic, reading first from ‘Joe the Astronaut Gets Closer’ from The Clock Tower Ghost and Other Stories .  Next up was Ross Hattaway reading his (ir)religious poems from Pretending to be Dead  ‘Executive Summary Tanka’, ‘Feast of the Assumptions’, ‘The Church of the Bad Shepherd’ (or why he doesn’t believe in ‘things’!); and then from The Gentle Art of Rotting changing the theme a little with ‘Crossing the Saddle’ (stiill mentions religion and ghosts too), about the New Zealand return from war experience, ‘Towards a Civil Peace’ about possibilities for civil peace – but with a touch of religion too!  And then with ‘The New Cooking’ – a different kind of religion?  His gift was from New Zealand poet Kate Kamp, who seems, according to Ross, to have irritated despair at the core of her work – which is what attracts him. The poem was ‘Hamilton International Airport’. 


After a short break, it was the turn of Rosamund Taylor making her reading debut at the Last Wednesday – coming to the mic – accompanied by a drum roll from the room next door, reading ‘Whippet Spay’ drawn from her experience working in a veterinary surgery and then ‘Strangular Fig Tree’. After Rosamund, it was the turn of Daragh Foley reading three new works – starting with ‘Wingong’ with Tibettan rhythms and snowflakes; his second piece was somewhere between  critique and a prose poem, from ‘Ted Talks’ interviewing Bill Gates;  he ended with ‘Expectations’.  After Daragh it was Nicola Sothern making her Last Wednesday debut, reading 2 poems – ‘Lent’ and an untitled work, about bathing and killing, and then a short story ‘Set Another Place at the Table’, about Alison, marmalade, and a place at the adult table.  After Nicola it was the turn of Sarah Cooney, performing her first poem and then reading from her Iphone, making her Last Wednesday and poetry reading debut; the performed poem, taking inspiration from readings in her youth; the second poem ‘Today’s Children Tomorrow’s World, written for a competition of the same name,  and ending with an untitled work.

After another break, and as the room continued to fill up, it was the turn of Liz McSkeane, reading some new poems, ‘Angela Gazing at the Stars’ , ‘Angela Becomes Accustomed to her New Walker’ and  ‘Angela Considers the Implications of a Cup of Tea’, ‘Angela’s Mishap while Plugging Out the TV’, ‘Angela wonders about emptying the commode’, ‘Angela has doubts about the kindness of relatives and strangers’, all about Angela learning to cope with the changes associated with getting older – the poems sensitive and yet alive and energetic too. After Liz and Angela, it was the turn of Anamaria Crowe Serrano also reading some new work, starting with ‘Mirror, Mirror’, about endings and ends; and then work from jam her forthcoming conversation collection with Jennifer Matthews (to be published by Seven Towers); and then some new work –‘Myriad Months’ with some snow and ending with ‘In the Beginning’ also from the Jam collection.  After Anamaria it was the turn of Rebecca Gimblett making her Last Wednesday debut with ‘Gifts’ and ‘Muse’, also getting its debut. After Rebecca, it was the turn of Delta O’Hara making a return after a break, and, after dishing out family advice to Declan, future family advice, that is, Delta read another instalment of her work in progress about working on a phone sex line. 

And, after the final break of the evening it was the return of Jim Rooney, representing the Ardgillan mafia!  Jim read from his current novel in progress, reading the final chapter, but one that gives nothing away – with Mother with a super power (that involves knitting and unmasking presidential penguins), in an airport Departure area.

Next up was yours truly, Sarah Lundberg, reading a work in progress, ‘Three Women’ based sort of on the story of Romeo and Juliet, and then ending with a poem written for Peadar O’Donoghue’s recent Jumper Memorial Day.   And then. Phil Lynch reading ‘Winter Sports’, a poem he had thought retired for the year, but then the weather changed; then a summer poem (hope springs eternal . . .), ‘The Sunshine is Somewhere Else’, and it definitely is! He continued with his weather theme, sort of, with ‘Against the Wind’, trying to beat the system; then a change of pace with ‘Conversations’ and he ended with ‘My Wife thinks I’m at a Poetry Reading’, and he is, but there’ll be more poetry later!

Last Wednesday Series Open Mic 27 Feb, Twisted Pepper, Dublin

First up was Ruairi Conneely, reading two poems that he confessed are really plots tor Philnovels he will never write!  After Ruairi it was the turn of one of the seven Towers’ beardies (actually, now that I think of it, Ruairi has a beard too!) Phil Lynch working all in rhyme tonight with ‘In with the new light’; ‘Welcoming Spring’; and a newly work shopped poem ‘Catching Dust’, about obvious things within your grasp, but that you don’t realise are there.  He also read ‘Talking stock’, a re-worded earlier poem, and he ended with ‘If St Patrick Could See us Now’, also a re-worked older poem, anticipating the national day.  Next to the mic was Helen Dempsey, reading a new poem on an argument that philosophy is too rigid and should embrace poetry, the poem simply called ‘Poetry”; she followed this with a poem called ‘Lydia’ about the second person converted to Christianity by St Paul and ended with a poem called ‘Change’ that was about, well, change. J  After Helen it was the turn of Bob Shakeshaft.  Bob’s first poem ‘Plague and Pestilence’ was dedicated to his brush with ecoli!  He followed this with a trilogy about the Neary debacle in the hospital in Drogheda – the trilogy contained a poem about Neary, a poem about meeting one of his victims written in the voice of a woman and ended with a celebration of the birth – specifically the birth of his granddaughter – ‘Life Celebrate’.  Bob ended with a gift from a 1939 anthology picked up in a second hand book shop – Siegfried Sassoon’s ‘When I’m Alone’.


After a short break, it was Oran Ryan trying out some new ‘Joe the Astronaut’ poems and reading from One Inch Punch.  The first Joe the Astronaut poem ‘On finding gin and a pair of socks on Hyperion’ was about well . . . it’s kind of all in the title!  The second poem wasTom Index ‘The Top 24 Logical Fallacies’, which is a list of the top 24 logical fallacies, and a bit of love. J Oran ended with a reading from One Inch Punch, based in part on his own experience of being bullied as a schoolboy.  The section he read was a bullying scene.  After Oran it was the turn of Darragh Foley making his Last Wednesday debut.  Darragh read new poems – so new he hadn’t even quite introduced them to himself! The first was ‘Dust’, about returning to things as a child of 26; his second poem was ‘The Huntress’ and his final poem was about an artist being stuck in software!  After Darragh it was Liam Parsons making a return after a long absence performing ‘Uncertainty’, followed by a second performance piece ‘My Cartoon Philosophy’, based on a time capsule he had buried and then unearthed, but could only recognise a Tom and Jerry Cartoon – and what would an alien think if they found that! After Liam it was the turn of Patrick Boyle and John Clarke mixing music and poetry with ‘Nice anticipation’ about the beauty of the south of France, followed by ‘Recollection a girl at a bus stop’ and ‘Promises’ and ending with ‘Looking Out’.  And ending part 2 it was Dominic O’Neill  from the Rathmines Writers’ Workshop making a Last Wednesday debut with ‘Faux pas’ about faux pas, as well as the origin of the phrase – a false step, stumble after a curtsy, and that whole digging place people get themselves into and just cannot get out!

After a short break it was the turn of Ross Hattaway (who was late!).  Ross read a new poem ‘19’ setting out how we are governed by arbitrary numbers.  He then performed – without the book (The Gentle Art of Rotting) ‘The Empiricist’, and followed this with a move to his second collection Pretending to be Dead and read ‘Aisling’ before moving on to the tanka with ‘Black and Tanka’, Getting lost in the Depths of the Id Tanka’, ‘Oil Tanka’, then a Hanka (the 17 syllable title ‘Disrespecting the prevailing poetic oligarchy’ being an honorary Haiku!).  He also read ‘Birth of a Nation Tanka’, ‘Executive Summary Tanka’ and ‘Kantankarous’.  He finished with a gift ‘Living First Class in a Third Class World’ by Mike Eagar.  After Ross it was Sarah Lundberg, but I’m writing the blog, so forgot to take notes while reading J. Then it was the turn of Gift making his last Wednesday and poetry reading debut, with a poem about himself and a friend drifting in and out of conversations.  He followed this with a poem about being homesick for South Africa, and about a tradition of being sent out alone to another tribe to prove yourself.  The poem recalls this time, known as Akol, and likens the homesickness then to that felt now, in yet another tribe.  After gift it was the turn of Ruth Farr, having come down from Belfast for the reading, and performing love poems – ‘Soles’, about a woman polishing her lover’s shoes, ‘Mistress’, ‘Sonnet after Pablo Neruda’, ‘Dissolving Zeus’ and ‘Sutures’ with a touch of email, alchemy and maybe a stitch in time.  She ended with ‘More than the sum of our parts and possessions’.  After Ruth it was James Conway to the mike.  James, also from the Rathmines Writers’ Workshop was making his Last Wednesday debut, and read ‘Stonewall’, about builders building the old stone walls around the city, the stonemasons and slat butters.  His second poem was for a neighbour who died in America. ‘A Web of Whispers’.  He also read ‘In a Grotto’ about a dream child he invented, and ended with ‘The Appeal’ about a woman he knew once.  After James and rounding off the night it was James Rooney making a return after an absence.  Jim read from a novel in progress (relieved that he wouldn’t be expected to learn it by heart to recite!) This reading was from Chapter 5 with a large German man and a horse.







JOHN KEARNS is the author of the short-story collection, Dreams and Dull Realities and the novel, The World. His novel-in-progress, Worlds, was a finalist in the 2002 New Century Writers’ Awards. He has had five full-length and five one-act plays produced in Manhattan, including In the Wilderness, Sons of Molly Maguire, In a Bucket of Blood, and Designers with Dirty Faces. His fiction has appeared in The Medulla Review and Danse Macabre. John’s poems have appeared in in the North American Review, the Grey Sparrow Journal, Feile-Festa, and the ASBDQ experimental text journal. John is the Treasurer and Salon Producer for Irish American Writers and Artists. He has a Masters Degree in Irish Literature from the Catholic university of America.



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The Seven Towers


Directors: Sarah Lundberg (Managing),

The Seven Towers

Seven Towers was set up as a not for profit company in 2006 by a group of friends who loved great literature and wanted to play a part in the cultural scene. They knew of a great many superb writers and poets, who, because of the size of the Irish Market, were not finding publishers and exposure to the public. Thus they began publishing and agenting books and setting up readings, and have continued to do so since then. Seven Towers is not supported by any grant or aid, and is run totally on the good will of those who help and promote our work. We strive to foster an atmosphere of collaboration and co operation among artists of many different genres and disciplines. We also strive to foster a strong international feel to our work, inviting poets from other continents to drop by and read with us and work with us. Not only this, but 7Towers runs readings in the US and in Britain, including the Last Wednesday Series, and the Chapters and Verse series. Seven Towers is immensely proud to be part of a flourishing Dublin Literary scene and sees a bright future for Irish and international Writing.

Directors: Sarah Lundberg

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