Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Salmon Poetry Launch

I was in Dublin yesterday doing research (The Sligo Champion 1913 finished!!!) so I walked the few hundred metres from the National Library to the Unitarian Church for the Salmon launch. Four books were being launched, by four poets though one book was a memoir.

The venue is great, reading from a pulpit has a special quality about it. I wondered how the evening would be organised, four books, four readers had the promise of a long drawn out affair. It was anything but.

Joe Woods of Poetry Ireland welcomed us, the publisher and the poets. Jesse Lendennie of Salmon introduced each author in turn in alphabetical order. Her introductions were bright, insightful, welcoming and short. Jessie likes long unusual titles for poetry collections citing Patrick Chapman's earlier volume Breaking Hearts and Traffic Lights as a great title. Each read for about ten minutes, three or four poems, a short extract from the memoir.

The four writers are at different stages in their writing lives and displayed a range of writing and reading styles. Patrick Chapman in his fifth poetry collection The Darwin Vampires mixes the surreal and the mundane to create sad, funny meditations on memory, love and death.

Noel King's collection Prophesying the Past has poems about family members, grandparents, parents all deal with in a cool non-sentimental way. They range over a large time frame and geographical area and are written in a variety of forms including a number where the line and word arrangement adds to the effect.

Alan Jude Moore' Strasbourg is his third collection and in spite of its title it is firmly rooted in his native Dublin but reflects the way our cultural identity has widened beyond narrow nationalism to include all of Europe and beyond.

Poet Knute Skinner has published thirteen books of poetry. An American native he now lives in Clare. His memoir, Help Me to a Getaway, tells of his two year travels in the late 50s in Ireland, Denmark, England, Spain, Italy, and France as he searched for a place to spend the rest of his life writing poetry. He read an extract which involved a beautiful girl called Rosa in one of the Canary Island.

I had a dilemma. I couldn't buy the four new books - on pension, a stack of to be read at home already, overfilled bookshelves - so I had to pick one. Which? I'm actually reading with Patrick Chapman and Heather Brett in Kilmore, Cavan next week so I may get his there. I have Alan Jude Moore's Black State Cars, I prefer poetry to memoir so that ruled Knute out.

That left Noel King. We've published Noel in our magazine and the poem is included in this volume and Boyne Berries gets an acknowledgement. We're publishing a short story by him in the next issue also. We hope to have him as a featured reader in Trim early next year as well. Co Prophesying the Past it was.

Have to choose my own set of four or five poems for Drogheda reading tonight. It's in a cafe so maybe that recent set of Coffee and Scones poems might be just the ones. My TV performance still isn't online.


Paddy Smith said...

Very interesting blog, Michael. But as regards your TV appearance, I'm afraid I have bad news. I asked RTE when the programme would be on their Player, and this is the reply I got. (Lots of people will be very disappointed.)

Dear Paddy,
Thank you for your query.
Unfortunately we were unable to obtain the rights and clearances to provide 'CSÍ: Chrysanthemum Killer' on the RTÉ Player.
We apologise for the inconvience and hope that you otherwise enjoy using our service.
Best Wishes,
RTÉ Player Team

BarbaraS said...

Good to hear about the collections/memoir launches. Glad you're enjoying Noel's book, I had the pleasure of reading that before it was a book.