Sunday, April 28, 2013

Panama Cafe Poetry Reading, Dundalk

This was actually a great idea which worked very well as part of the Dundalk Book Festival - readings in two cafés in the town centre from 2pm to 7pm. The two were the Panama Café, where the coffee certainly is good, and The 23 Seats, where the coffee is probably as good.

An eclectic collection of writers and performers kept the diners amused and entertained all day. It was difficult to tell who had come for the food and who had been enticed by the writers. Some came for food and stayed for poetry and vice versa.

Lots of Dundalk writers, poets but also writers of novels, science fiction, memoir, journals etc. A wonderful variety. Many of the local writers seem to be involved with one or other of the groups facilitated by the multi-talented Ferdia MacAnna, writer in residence in DkIT. Many featured in the recent publication, No Bother.

I read twice in the Panama, early and late and really enjoyed it. Start with something that gets a laugh and the audience is on your side, so I started with The Truth (still here halfway down on the Prole Competition page) which did the job. I also read my Manchester United poem in honour of another great season - there didn't seem to be many supporters there though.

Poet Richard Halperin read in both cafés and was one of the stars of the day. He read from his Anniversary collection (Salmon) and also from his second collection which is being launched in the Irish Writers Centre on 6 June.

Barbara Smith, fellow Doghouse poet, did a fine job as MC and with her Poetry Divas contributed greatly to the colour and fun of the event. They had copies of their new chapbook Poetry Divas 4 for sale. It contains many of their Greatest Hits including their Pair Bond (now performed with visual aids) and Flaming for Vincent, each stanza of which starts Oh give me a red-headed man. The chapbook should be available on Kate Dempsey's blog page.


Frank said...

Michael, congrats on piece on "Talking History" The Irish Revolution.

Barbara Smith said...

Cheers Michael. Inwould gotbthe Drogheda thing tomorrw, but I'm off to Storkstown instead