Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dromineer Literary Festival 2

Yesterday morning I attended the Dromineer poetry workshop with Dave Lordan (above). I've attended a number of workshops by poets and they've all be different and all very useful. This was great. A small number, five enthusiastic, skilled, energetic, frank poets took part. The prose workshop next door seemed to have an enormous number of participants - poetry really is a minority interest - all the better for that!

I'm not going to describe the workshop blow by blow - too tired and too busy writing - but just give a flavour. Dave stressed reading poetry and asked us at various stages to read poems our own and others. He started with Rita Ann Higgins, Rumi and Charles Bukowski stressing their use of plain language and direct speech. We read, Dave questioned, we commented.

He stressed that in the present economic climate, as they say, there may be fewer poetry books published but there is a growth in the number of open mics and slam events for poets and he encouraged us to take advantage of these and develop our reading styles. We read poems of our own and the others commented on our readings.

He encouraged participation in writers groups, small publications - chapbooks, magazines - and open mic sessions.

Random Thoughts from the workshop:

Avoid at all costs the neat epiphany or message at the end of a poem. The poet has no answers, nobody has any answers. If the last two lines contain the answer or the moral why bother with the rest of the poem?

Be careful of the dictatorship of the 40 line one page lyric. Attempt longer poems and sequences. What about a verse novel? See Nessa O'Mahony's In Sight of Home.

Avoid introductions to poems; get straight to the heart of the matter.

It might be useful to look on a poem as a musical score for a voice. A test of a good poem - Does it sound right?

A poem should be allowed find its own organic form.

Other poets mentioned during the workshop: John Ashbury, Tomas Tranströmer, Ron Silliman; Rae Armantrout; Barry MacSweeney; William Blake; John Milton.

PennSound is the best online source of readings of poetry.

Below: Group photo: prizewinners, judges, organisers etc at the Dromineer official opening.


Orla Fay said...

ooh Bukowski AND Rumi well I am impressed :P

Frank said...

Avoid at all costs rules! Best left to football matches, last two lines or otherwise! A poem is a poem is a poem. Congratulations on highly commended. (Twice!)