Listowel Writers' Week Fringe

Blogging Listowel's Literary Scene
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George Rowley – the Open Mic @ Listowel

May 16, 2010 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: 2010, events, participants, workshop

I went into the White House Pub in Limerick on Wednesday evening. The poets were gathered for their weekly session. Matthew Gedden was going to read from his new collection “Swimming to Albania“…

My intention was to read a poem or two with all the other poets who surrounded the guest.

A man in a dark coat clutching a paper muttered “Hello Paul“. I didn’t know him. “Hello, how do you know me?” “Listowel” – and then I realised he was one of the poets who’d read in The Kingdom Bar last year. A Listowel poet who’d performed under the light of George Rowley.

Here’s George Rowley singing – a YouTube video shot in the poor light of the pub. Those of us who know George’s style know he sings, dances, rhymes and generally makes a lovely atmosphere for many hours during Writers’ Week.

The man in the dark jacket told me James McGrath will take George’s place this year. James will be MC (master of ceremonies) in The Kingdom Bar two or three times – when so many people crowd in to perform and partake.

I’d like to wish James well. George Rowley is an impossible act to emulate. Keep George’s seat warm in 2010.

ps I first met James McGrath at Listowel Writers’ Week in 2007. We did the Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill poetry workshop together.

Bloggers have been on summer holiday in Limerick, staying in UCH

August 16, 2009 By: ana Category: audio podcast, blogs, connections, preparations

We’ve been resting & recovering in Limerick with some Summer Music on the Shannon.

It’s been just like the Riviera. Crowded, hot, exciting and exhausting…

We’ll need a holday to recover from living with people from so many countries. Limerick has become a cosmopolitan place. Visitors from Canada, USA, Japan, Norway, UK, Spain, Italy, Kildare, Germany… and so on.

Like any hothouse there has to be a common language. It’s been music.

If you want to find out more about how hot Limerick’s been, try this link – when you have time on your hands.

We look forward to resuming normal service here soon – when we’ve recovered. Rest assured, we’ve been telling them in Limerick all about Kerry.

[One thing for sure, we hope Listowel Writers’ Week 2010 – the 40th festival – will be live streamed – broadcast live on the internet. After what they did in University Concert Hall, it should be possible…?]

Michael Reeves sent these wishes to Listowel Writers’ Week

June 06, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: connections, events, painters & paintings, poem, starting up

Apologies for not posting these earlier.

Michael (Mick) Reeves is from Limerick. We met at school. He is a fine painter and he lives in Clare and spends time in Murcia, Spain, where the light is special.

He sent me this text to pass on to Listowel Writers’ Week via the blog:

“From Spain I hear a body of voices
quiet moments for head and heart.
In your festival of words,
in the rhythm of the moment,
let words fall in all the colour of confetti at your feet…”

Finding Eoin Purcell’s blog post

June 01, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, connections, participants

Life in Listowel was so frenetic I missed this until now…

You can see why I post the whole of it:

Eoin Purcell writes…

Links & Whatnot
About two years ago I had a wonderful strategy session with a group of arts professionals. It was led by the engaging and intelligent Paul O’Mahony who is from the O’Mahony bookselling clan. I recall that day because Paul was forceful in saying that “survival is not guaranteed” for a publisher like Mercier, a thought that had been floating in my mind but had not taken the form of a concrete reality.

Reasons
Anyway. The point in telling you this is that Paul has been engaged this week in an exciting blogging project: The Listowel Writer’s Week Fringe. I love the idea of a fringe blog for Listowel Writers Week Festival which I think is a fantastic festival but one I think prone to circles and groups (I don’t think it is alone in this. Given the nature of Irish society, most festivals here go that way), the kind that can damage a festival.

Paul and his collaborators are blogging and updating on the week’s events. You should go read some of their thoughts!
Eoin

_____________________

Of course, it’s blatant self publicity of me to post it here…

Thank you very much Eoin. Your blog is a very important & rich contribution to the Irish blogosphere, without doubt.

What’ll we do on this blog after Writers’ Week ends on Sunday?

May 30, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: blogs, connections, events, participants

Many people are asking this question.

“Will that be it? Will you just go away? Move on? Or what?”

How do I know. We haven’t even seriously discussion the afterlife. God only knows.

But there won’t be an end. There will be an end of the beginning.

There is too much material to plumb.

Breakfast with George Kimball, a spontaneous, surprise, unplanned event threw up enough connection to keep me going to Christmas.

How’s this…

(1) Boston & Limerick – the links thru the Boston Maraton, Southill Estate in a rough part of Limerick and Dan Doyle (pro boxing promotor, J P McManus, cops & kids training together, George Foreman, baseball in Southill field, 200 kids to feed with apples, Adare Dunraven Arms…

(2) A commercial idea for George Rowley to consider…

(3) The possiblity of Paul O’Mahony meeting Kevin Hough (Limerick) today, for the first time in 42 years… We grew up in adjacent houses…

(4) Lemon marmalade… none of us had ever tasted it. I think Sue Kimball intends to take some home in her handbag. I photographed a packet of it for the blog – so the can all get to know it exists… Those of you in USA can think of importing it… We all need ideas these days, eh

I’m so glad everyone’s gone off and I have time to reflect my way into the day.

How, when where and with what am I going to interview Rebecca Miller (1962-). She’s on at 1200.

My son Benjamin O’Mahony, the student actor @Drama Centre, London, England, played in two of Arthur Miller’s plays. I better do a good interview for him.

Breakfasting with George Kimball and his mother

May 30, 2009 By: Paul O'Mahony Category: Accommodation, connections, journalism, participants

It was Patrick Stack I went to meet in the dining room of the Listowel Arm hotel.

Feeling delicate and fortunate to have been lifted into town by Malcolm Payne, my b&b host.

Patrick and I were getting sorted when George Kimball arrived. I was quick to say ‘good morning, George. Would you like to join us?’

He did and, shortly later, Sue Kimball arrived. She’s from Louisville, Kentucky. George was in a Kansas sweatshirt.

Like me, Patrick Stack hasn’t read a word of George’s work. I introduced them, and George was interested to find out how he could get to see the blog. He wanted to know how much of his session yesterday we had captured.

In case I forget it: if you are ever going to blog a festival, have a business card made specially for the occasion. Carry them and give them out to everyone so that they can find the blog after. It’s a mouthful to say “you can find it by googling ‘listowelwritersweekfringe.com’. I wouldn’t be able to remember whether you have to put the Listowel in or not, and, if you don’t get thru quickly you probably give up looking and do something simpler.

Jenny Dorn joined us. She lives in Colorado and visits London, England, to see her mother who is 92. Mine is 83, so she a teenager in comparison.

John Sheehan stopped to have a few words with George.

Across the room I watch the poet from Cavan, which he pronounces like “quavan”. He’s with four others, all conversing.

Better split this experience into short bits, rather than try to present it in one fell swoop.

Remember your readers Paul.


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