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 room, 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!