If you happened to be listening to yesterday afternoon’s Drive Time programme on RTE Radio One, you might have heard a segment about Poetry Day Ireland (April 27th 2017), about a whole day of poetry, in all sorts of places throughout Ireland. (Listen here, starting about 1:58 in).
The over-excited voice commenting about getting up at 5.30am in County Roscommon in order to get to Dublin in/on time – well, that was ME! I was interviewed about my favourite poet/poems, and of course I had to mention my devotion to Seamus Heaney (forgot to mention Emily!). I also gave a shout out to Jane Clarke, who was the reason I was there at Poetry Ireland in Parnell Square East.
I’d heard that Jane would be giving a talk at a seminar, and I was curious to hear if she’d reveal her modus operandi – I wasn’t disappointed. All the ‘Mind Your Own Business!’ speakers had fascinating insider information to share, and I learnt a lot. I now have a better idea from Paul Perry as to why my grant applications are never successful; Jane Clarke gave some clues as to the publicity lead time for a poetry collection (absolutely ages); Don Paterson, Poetry Editor at Picador, was refreshing in his views about tightly themed first collections (avoid, they’re usually contrived and boring. Phew!); Alexander Technique practitioner Tomás Hardiman made me aware of how heavy my head is; and Poetry Ireland’s Communications Manager Muireann Sheahan made me realise how I should be more into Social Media (oh dear). All information that was well worth getting up early for. And I even missed an opportunity to read with the Hermits in Strokestown so I could be there…
Before I got to Poetry Ireland, I’d spent a restful hour in the sanctuary that is the Irish Writers’ Centre, just around the corner. I’m a member there, so I thought, why not?
Before that, I’d been shopping. For books, of course. Poetry books.
I’d entered the Books Upstairs Poetry Competition and was curious to see who’d won. Not me, sadly, but what a lovely shop: loadsa books, literary magazines and a coffee shop with window seats – oh joy!
And I’d got my Confirmation money to spend. No, no I mean my Christmas money. Or was it my Birthday dosh? Ah, sod it, I might as well come clean (the chancellor of the family exchequer doesn’t read this blog anyway): I spent a whole week’s grocery money on books, OK?
What a thrill! I bought Emily Dickinson’s complete works in one volume (and it later opened straight to ‘Hope is the feathered thing…’). I also bought Africk McGlinchey’s ‘Ghost of the Fisher Cat’, Mike McCormack’s ‘Solar Bones’ (which is said to be something of a poetic novel), ‘Ballistics’ by Billy Collins, ‘The Travels of Sorrow’ by Dermot Healy, and ‘Mountains for Breakfast’ by Geraldine Mitchell (which I hope to hear more of at Stroketown Poetry Festival this coming weekend). I also bought a copy of The Moth magazine, wondering if it has changed much since I gave up being a subscriber a while ago (the jury’s out on that one).
I had to lug my cache everywhere for the rest of the day, but hefting great weights is supposed to be a boost for fitness. I now have one arm longer than the other, but hey!
And now I’m hoping I haven’t missed the opportunity to see the recent film about Emily Dickinson, ‘A Quiet Passion’, with ‘Sex and the City’ star Cynthia Nixon in the title role. Read the review that made me want to see it here.