Friday, October 16, 2009

Back from Limerick

Left Limerick late last night after two very busy poetry days at the Cuisle Poetry Festival . At the official opening on Wednesday Paul Muldoon translated Cuisle as Heart Throb.

Yesterday a poetry reading by Limerick poet, Paul Sweeney, at lunchtime, a presentation by self-publishing company Original Writing and a discussion on Publishing in Times of Recession which was attended by two former US poet laureates, Donald Hall and Robert Haas.

In the evening the Stony Thursday Book was launched - I was asked to read one of my poems, so was Robert Haas. The Book is a beautiful production and I'm delighted to be included with such poets as Robert Haas, Paul Muldoon, Fleur Adcock, Macdara Woods, Nuala Ní Chonchúir and many more. Because my poem, When I Returned about Auschwitz, has an unexpected twist in the end I asked the audience not to follow it in the book as I read. I told them to close the book, reminding them that I was a retired teacher (Laughter).

The launch was followed by a reading by three poets, Ulick O'Connor, Ireland, Catherine Smith, UK and Taja Kramberger, Slovenia. Wonderful. Three contrasting poets but as is usual the connections and contrasts were a major part of the enjoyment. Ulick read well with lots of references to an Ireland we have almost forgotten - Yeats, Behan, Maud Gonne, Countess Markievicz, Sean MacBride. He even mentioned Ireland's seven centuries of oppression, a phrase I don't like and which I had thought had gone out of use, rightly.

When Taja Kramberger introduced her poems with references to her country's and her family's trauma during the last century especially during and after World War 2 made me think that for all our talk of "oppression" we had it easy during most of the last century at least.

Catherine Smith's reading was wonderful. Her poems sparkled, teased, stung and swung in unexpected dark directions. She read with an enthusiasm, confidence and self mockery which contrasted with the other two readers. Most of what she read came from her collection Lip.

Dentist now, depending on how I get on there perhaps then the Over 50s Show in the RDS and the National Stamp Exhibition also in the RDS.

The Cuisle Festival continues today and tomorrow.

3 comments:

P Nolan said...

Well done Michael - I didn't make the cut, again. Maybe next year.
Looks like a handsome book!

BarbaraS said...

Sounds exciting, and glad you got to read your poems there too. Brill!

Honor Duff said...

Michael,what a great achievement to be published alongside such poets as Muldoon, Woods and Adcock. Congratulations!