Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

Blogging Listowel's Literary Scene

Archive for May, 2009

Upcoming poems

May 31, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: poems, poetry, poets

I have poems by John MacNamee and Teri Murray on my mobile phone which I still have to upload here. Due to technical problems with converting the .amr files (the audio format my mobile phone uses) to .mp3 format, I haven’t done it so far.
If the worst comes to the worst I’ll just play re-record them from the mobile into the mac, though that will mean a reduction in quality. Fingers crossed I can sort it the other way.

Maureen Beasley Evening

May 31, 2009 By: Laura Category: historical, photographs, poet

Poets Corner at the Mermaids Bar at 7:00 tonight to honor the memory of Listowel founder and poet Maureen BeasleyMaureen Beasley

Back in Heart Net!

May 31, 2009 By: Laura Category: Uncategorized

"Michael Hartnett"

Back in harness

May 31, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: blogs

Back in harness after a long long day yesterday with long bouts of sitting blogging interspersed by short bursts of manic hareing around Listowel to get to various events to cover. Exhausting, exhilirating stuff really, and a wonderful mix of people.

The 9pm meal in Allo’s has one seat left at the table

May 30, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: Uncategorized

This is going to be a good meal.

The company superb.

I’m reminded of that Paris table where Proust met James Joyce for the first and, I think, only time. Dada was there and I’ve started a novel about it.

Imagine the conversation that night. It’ll be every bit as good around our company.

Philip Byrne joins us: he’s the best ‘concrete’ poet I’ve ever met.

Mary Lavery Carrig, part-time teacher in Tarbert Comprehensive School, part of the vital hinterland that so feeds Writers’ Week.

Jack Deacy, American man who took her photograph in Listowel and led to her writing a short short story that I have put away for safe keeping, and will post soon.

Patrick Stack, who’s celebratory because, due to Philip’s intervention, he succeeded in putting up his first ever audio file – Rebecca Miller reads.

And me, who’s going to be revived by the company and the place. Allo’s is a special treat. Another time I’ll tell you the story of how the Wiffed and I stumbled into it, and came away with an altered perception of North Kerry, if not the whole Irish race.

You’re welcome to join us…

A John Sheahan poem

May 30, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: poem, poet, poetry


Cowering under threat
Of leather;
Braced for palm-blistering sting,
Backbiting lash.

Hair-raising swish
Through the frightened air
Diminishing terrified targets.
Unholy aim -
Imprimatur of leather on flesh.

Tear-filled vision
Distorting education;
Blurred lines on blank page
Pleading for inspiration.

Learning through fear;
Remembering little, but pain;
Unrelenting leather
Force-feeding bewildered brain.



Book launch at The Seanchai, Saturday 30th

May 30, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: events, poetry, poets

I’m sitting next to Thomas P. Gilmartin Snr. from Ohio on the first row of the audience. Mary Lavery Carrig had introduced me to him when I was passing the stone seat opposite the statue of Bryan MacMahon as I came in. She had told him that the poem he was handing out to every and anyone for the past couple of days had been posted on the blog. He was a little startled I think, but pleased.

At the table in front to my right are seated three women which turn out to be Marian Relihan of the Writers’ Week Committee, Joan McBreen who birthed the anthology “The watchful Heart” which is about to be launched and who is the author of the collection of poetry, “Heather Island“, which is about to be launched.
Marian gets up to welcome us.
She introduces Prof. Patricia Coughlan of the School of English, UCD who is launching both books in conjunction with Joan McBreen of Salmon Poetry.
She tells us that the proceeds are going towards Cancer Care West.
“The Watchful Heart” is an anthology of new Irish poets. Reading it prompted her to think of George Herbert, the English Metaphysical poet.
She lauds a previous collection of women writers brought out in 1999 by Joan, and hopes we are all feminists.
This anthology gives “sense of room to … wander with enough from each poet to give you a sense of what they are like” and contains contributions from 10 women and 14 men. The anthology also contains prose pieces from each poet which gives an interesting counterpoint to the poetry. She thinks there is a Dublin bias [in Irish poetry], but that is not evident in this anthology. She talks about the “looser forms” in some of the Irish poems by for example Louis de Paor. Also stuff from performance poets. Leontia Flynn‘s essay about having to write – She gives a special mention to the oral poetry of Kevin Higgins which is “sassy“.
She quotes from a poem by Cherri Smith.
Joan is a poet of place – the place being the West and the North West. Her collection has 3 sections, many of the poems are place poems. “The central long section is personal experiences used as material
She ends by reading one Haiku from the 10 at the centre of the book.

A wedding gift
The ivory handled knives
warmed by your fingers.

Joan McBreen reads. She’s been coming to Writers’ Week since 1986 and thanks Proff C. for a wonderful introduction.
She will read a few poems from her own book and then ask 4 contributors to the anthology present in the audience to read.
She reads “Mobretia on the Road to …” – ‘When you left absence and distance became companions” – a poem of loss.
She thanks Writers’ Week for the inclusion of workshops from which all writers can learn.
Loss is the tobacco smoke recalled in the lilac garden where we met”
Winter Light, Lissadell” – “The ghosts of my parents pick flowers at Lissadell
A poem at the grave of Pablo Neruda in Chile – a pilgrimage she and her husband made there.
The last poem in the volume – from her time spent living in Switzerland where the rain was what she missed most about Ireland

Cherri Smith from Co. Derry now living in London reads – she says that “we as poets are especially attuned to the changes the climate“.
About being in Spain, walking inland from the ruined shore, hearing a horrible noise from somewhere – “These Arts” – “some surgery the mountains had a taste for
John McAuliff from Listowel now working at University of Edinburgh. “Return” – about looking for destruction and enjoying it
Who is Anne Kennedy I ask myself?
Eileen Sheehan from Co. Kerry. “Where you are ” which is about displacement.
Paul Perry, originally from Dublin. “Dawn Sun” about visiting his father living in Budapest in the early 90s, with whom he had had a difference of opinion.

The four poets are asked to sit at the top so they can see the faces of those who will be asking the questions. John McGrath asks Joan to tell us about Ann Kennedy. When she died, Ann left a vacuum for a while in Galway cafe society and was terribly missed. John McAuliff adds that she was an American poet published by Salmon – she had a brightness about her as a person and a poet.

Joan is asked about putting the anthology together. She praises the professionalism of all the contributors and the ease with which it all came together thanks to them.
Cherri Smith tells how writing poetry has changed from an emotional response (writing to find out what you feel) to an intellectual response (writing to find out what you think). It’s a very mysterious thing – about transmission, heart and head.
John McAuliff talks of the danger of nostalgia when writing about Irish material while living in England.
Gabriel FitzMaurice mentions the “internal exile” of all poets.
A lady asks why publishers don’t include a CD of the poet reading. Joan McBreen says doing this is a very complicated and expensive exercise given that you need a recording studio and a recording engineer sensitive to the medium and audience of poetry. A man in the audience disagrees, pointing out the ease with which you can record on a laptop and burn to CD. Prof. C adds that lots of poetry clips are available on YouTube.

Head for the pub = Terry’s advice #listww09

May 30, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: Uncategorized

Terry Gilliam & you question first…

Documentaries are such a learning curve says Terry. History at school was so boring…

Lots of researchers reading all the books for you. Experts giving you their latest theories…

No more Python series…

Richard III Henry’s propaganda… Kalamazoo brought up by Terry Jones.

Richard II seems to have been a horrible person and sold up all a pup…

For a person who learned no history in school, Terry Jones has become a walking historian. Proves that no matter how bad your school teacher, within reason, you can discover an interest in stuff that went past you.

John Mc Carthy throws in a funny comment about how things sunk into bogs in Ireland and how the present political leadership is risen from a bog.

Why so little written about Gun Powder Plot?

Terry says that’s a good question. Maybe it’s that the Americans aren’t interested.

Huge applause…

Louis de Berniere in here at 7pm – 35 minutes.

Meet the bloggers at Lynch’s Bakery and Cafe

May 30, 2009 By: Patrick Stack Category: events, journalism, participants, poems, poetry, poets

We’re in Lynch’s Bakery and Cafe. Lynn Roberts, winner of this year’s Poetry Collection competition has just come in and sat down at Paul O’Mahony‘s invitation. Jeremy Gould is seated to my left with Phillip Byrne (a concrete poet). The room is reasonably full.
Earlier, Cathy Desmond, a music teacher based in Ennis, wandered in, having just arrived for the weekend. She had a choice of going to see “6 yachts tied up on pier” (her words) in Galway no doubt ogled over by thousands of land-lubbers (my words), the Iniscealtra festival in Mountshannon, Clare, or Writers’ Week. She opted for Writers’ week. She rushes off after a few minutes to catch as much culture as possible in the limited time left.
Mary Lavery Carrig comes in. The funeral of a local Sister passes – she was a great age, Sister Anne was, Mary tells us.
Ronan Tynan has just arrived and sits down. Paul stops recording to give his full attention to the growing assembly of poets – a couple of more and the current stanza of poets will have become a canto of poets.

Kay Donnelly, another writer, arrives – and sits. I met Kay yesterday – she’s based in Waterford.I catch the end of a story Paul is recounting that involves de Valera, poets and Poland. It’s taken from a play he (Paul) is writing in his head.
The discussion swings around to how good the story Gabriel Byrne told at the opening on Wednesday {LINK to POST}. I remark that his piece for Sunday Miscellany (to be broadcast tomorrow morning at 9.10am on RTE Radio 1) was brilliantly written.
The head Librarian from Mayo, whose first name is Austen (or is that Austin?), makes his appearance. I miss the critical bits of the conversation that ensues due to Jeremy and Kay mentioning the 6 degrees of separation theory. Headage payments comes up when Pat McCannon (from Meath) wanders in and gives Paul a copy of a story he wrote for the Special Olympics about his son Niall 12 years ago. Niall played on the basketball team for Ireland at the Special Olympics. The piece was published because of that he tells us. Pat’s grandfather wrote the song “The turf man from Ardee” – Kay knows it.

It’s the 100th anniversary of Brian MacMahon‘s birth, somebody comments and wonders why there isn’t a special event to commemorate it.

One of the multiple interweaving mini-conversations involves spelling. There is too much emphasis on spelling Kay says. Spelling wasn’t standardized until the 1700s (?) I remark.
Mary’s second boy is 13 today – he’s playing football right now.
I learn that Mary Lavery Carrig is a descendent of Sir John Lavery whose painting of Lady Lavery was on one of the old Irish currency notes.
Pauline Frayne and Teri Murray arrive in and sit at the next table.
I spy a gorgeous painting on Jeremy’s laptop and enquire about it. Jeremy tells me he took it at the exhibition in the Lartigue – he bemoans the fact that there was nobody there, as it’s a beautiful space.
Mary reads the first poem from her new collection which she wrote for her son, into Paul’s mobile, for subsequent upload.
Mary tells me that John Sheehan wrote the piece her sons played at the launch of her book yesterday – it’s called “The Marino Waltz” – and was used in the Peat Briquette (of Bord na Mona – not Boomtown Rats – fame) advert on TV.
More than an hour has passed already and it’s time to separate. Teri Murray is kind enough to read one of her poems into my mobile phone for posting on the blog. I’ll be posting it here as soon as I can get an amr to wav or mp3 converter.

Who sacked Rome? Who’s really guilty?

May 30, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: Uncategorized

It wasn’t the Christian Brothers.

Augustine say the invaders took over and did so fairly peacefully. It wasn’t the Goths.

Attila the Hun, from the east. 15,000 Huns a mercenary army… I think I was told at school that it was Attila.

AD451 invasion to rescue a damsel in distress… probably true… The family want AWOL = Terryspeak.

If this guy was lecturing in university, people would attend lectures.

The Pope stopped Atilla the Hun, turned back after conversation with the Pope. Did some sort of deal… Pope Leo was bishop of Rome trying to make him chief christian figure… Attila died drunk… lasting achievement was the establishment of the Pope.

Not Hun, not Goths… who?

Ah, the Vandals – they did it. Sophisticated people, wore sandals, had bars, hunting, art, poetry. Vandal poetry eh…

Another damsel in distress enters the story: Geiseric loved Rome, urban renewal program.

Christians didn’t stop the killing in the Arena.

Terry breaks the news: teh Romans destroyed Rome. The Pope did it.

Heresy – council of nicea… Pontifex Maximus = the Pope.

Warm applause…

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