Friday, February 12, 2010

Poems of Love, Death and Nasal Surgery

pub window

I was pleased with my poetry reading this week, more so than usual. Maybe because it's been some time since I did a sustained reading, maybe because it had a sort of homecoming feeling, with friends and strangers all out to hear what they might at the regular Wednesday night session at the White House.

I once could be found at this venue every week. In those days I wrote daily and having a regular opportunity to test out developing work was a great boon. There is nothing more inspiring than hearing other people's work -- those pieces you love and wish to emulate and those you can't stomach and wish to see replaced with something better, dashed out on the back of a coaster or in a notebook brought along for the purpose.

Though I now spend more of my time on composition I still keep a hand in the poetry and make it down to the White House readings every now and then. When I was last there, event organiser Ed O'Dwyer asked me if I wanted to be the featured guest. I must thank Ed for the opportunity!

On the evening of February 10 host Barney was in fine form, and it couldn't have hurt that I insisted he read one of his own poems to kick off the night. His concluding summation of my works was hysterically funny. I got a picture of him with the anthology Microphone On, a book I co-edited that kicked off what is now a thriving local publishing venture.

Barney Sheehan, poet and MC

The event began at 9:30 with an open mic, followed by my reading for half an hour and then some more open mic poets. I like this order of events since the guest poet is then placed in context with the other offerings. It's nicer than being elevated to a position at the head of the table, as it were.

I had taken some time to prepare what I would read and in what order. It was difficult to select from so many works, but the preparation paid off.

list of readers

This is what I read:

The Way of the Owl
Six Promises To A Future Lover
Rhinoplasty in the UK
Siamese Twins
Internal Organs Missing From My Body
Finland (A Farewell To Darren)
The Traveller, His Voice In The Trees
Swallow's Truth
Shipping Forecast
The Saint
New Moon
Hence Déja Vù

A few of these have been published and one even won a contest. I am sure I have read them all before, but it was interesting for me to situate work from different periods together. That said, they were all written within a five year span; I made a decision not to include any ancient works, partially as a way of making the selection process easier.

Next I must reconsider that book project. I've really been procrastinating too long.

myself, reading
(The last photo was taken by Susannah Kelly. Click through each to get a larger version on Flickr.)


1 comment:

Ed O'Dwyer said...

Absolutely delighted that you are coming around to the book idea. Publishers are so backlogged now and in need of financial backing, I think the best way to go would be to enter Templar's Pamphlet and Collections competition. Next week (Mar 17th), incidentally, Alex McMillen, editor of Templar, will be at the White House with guest Jane Weir, and he'll be talking about this very topic. You should be there. Check out the terms and conditions of entry between now and then - I think you'll find it agreeable. If you are one of the four picked for the Pamphlet, they will read and consider a full collection then. Obviously, as well, Templar is a very reputable imprint. Best, Ed.

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