Saturday, June 03, 2006


It has been a beautiful week here in Dublin and the sun is currently out in force, as are the tourists and all round merry-makers intent on finding the real deal craic with no additives of bullshit, which is where I come in

Dear Reader.

The next bit of real-life poetry I will create in Dublin is tommorow, Sunday 4 June 2006, when me and PJ Brady will be checking out the Monster Truck Art Gallery space and sussing out how we will go about putting the Patrick Kavanagh Celbration 2006 together. A workshop in the day followed by a fantastic night of page and stage poets, like the one we did last year with the very kind assistance of the Arts Council of Ireland, who are also assisting us this year with a bit extra than last.

Obviously they understand the benifits of this enterprise, which is all about bringing established and emerging talent together to close any gaps in the boring page versus stage debate. We are lucky in Ireland, as the divide is minimal, but in other lands Dear Reader, they are in a right tizz about what constitutes a real poet, whereas here a poet's person is their own guarantee. This is an historical anomoly unique to Ireland and I won't bore you with the details, as they are quite complex, but trust me, a poet can't get away with faking it here.


On Sunday a Brazilian saxophonist called Andre Costa will also be at the gallery, as shall be he who shall remain nameless, but who many consider to be Irelands finest poet.

All are welcome to attend and read, so click the Monster Truck link to your right for directions. It is a ten minute walk from Temple Bar.


The first gig was last Thursday and was a real victory snatched from the jaws of defeat affair. I turned up at 7.30 with he who shall remain nameless and Raven pitched up an hour later, then Tim Costelloe and Jessica Peart. Tim is a mid-twenties poet and had been out of the live loop for a bit. He was keen to do his new stuff and it was very good. Jessica is three years off finishing her Phd on The poet in the community, and is using Ciaran Carson and another poet for her study subjects. Raven was the guest and Fintan Higgins also did a turn.

When it became obvious to me that no one was coming at 9.30pm, I kicked off the readings, just happy to have an audience for myself, and then half way through my set, Tom the gallery head honcho who lives on the premises, drifted downstairs with a few of his pals and by the end of my set we had a bona fide audience, which increased as the night wore on until there were about 20 of us in the room.

The whole buzz was just about getting people to do their stuff and feel good about it. The following day I had a workshop with Jim McAuley and 11 other poets who have been selected by Poetry Ireland for this years Introductions programme, and I was the last to get workshopped.

Everyone brought a poem along, read it and then we all tossed in our tuppenceworth. After three full time years at writing school this stuff is second nature to me, and it's all about making people feel good about themselves, as simple as that. By the end of it Jim and I had become a double act, putting out the feel-good vibe. This one was mine, which I wrote after seeing Leanne O'Sullivan first read, and who very kindly read at the Patrick Kavanagh Celebration last year.


What O'Watts imagines is she may fly
as Fintan flew, if she attempts to launch
like the old Irish poet flock, who thought
themselves as birds and made her realise
how wings are crucial to succeed in flight
as a shapeshifter.

So now she knows all
her slim options she decides to try
out her wings, with no cutting quips or wry
observations, by flying in the form
of an elegy to the dark one who caught
her imagination's ember alight.

Western star gathers with the druid spawn
in full blather wear, making well worn
anecdotes of one another and lies
before their surety in tongue, to find
hanging from the mythical branch were pure
milk fruit of poets toil are torn,
Abharach's raiment in ancient straight cry

You've now found your soul, so sing all
your song, as fear and doubt cannot haunt
where you belong. Your flesh fits and my
measure's this gift. Go, weave the thread of life's
ageless truth twining timeless within your
spirit, and tell of what is to all
those yet to cross your ever wide
path from this moment onward

And in tall
dreams with future high hopes for all
those men and women who urge their love
not to hide
O'Watts imagines.


A nine tenths metrical piece I delivered from memory and which was well recieved by my fellow emerging poets. And this is what it means.

In Irish mythology Fintan mac Bóchra, known as the Wise, was a seer who accompanied Noah's granddaughter Cessair to Ireland before the deluge and lived for 5500 years after the flood, in a sucession of animals including a salmon and a hawk. He survived into the time of Fionn mac Cumhail, becoming the repository of all knowledge of Ireland and all history along with a magical hawk who was born at the same time as him. They meet at the end of their lives and recount their stories to each other. They decide to leave the mortal realm together sometime in the 5th century, after Ireland was converted to Christianity.


So basically the poem opens and the narrator is talking about a woman called O'Watts, (which is me) thinking she may fly as Fintan flew, if she attempts to launch like the old Irish poet flock who thought themselves as birds and made her (O'Watts) realise how wings are crucial to succeed in flight as a shapeshifter.

So now she (me) knows all her slim options blah blah blah and try out her flying in the form of an elegy to the dark one who caught her imaginations alight". This refers to me as O'Watts wanting to fly as an elegy to Leanne O'Sullivan after seeing her shine at the do full of new Irish poets.

So "Western Star gathers with the druid spawn in full blather wear" is the start of O'Watts' elegy and refers to all the poets at the new irish poet launch. So it is O'Watts talking not the narrator, and when we come to the "Abharach's raiment in ancient straight cry, stating..." The voice, although still a part of O'Watts' poem, has shifted to become a singing coat. I am talking about a Tuatha De Dannan god of sound I read about who had a singing coat, and so seemed apt for the part of an old Irish character from mythology telling Leanne (and me) that we "have found all your soul so sing all your song, as fear and doubt cannot haunt were you belong, your flesh fits and my measure a gift"..etc

So we have three seperate characters talking in the poem. The narrator, O'Watts, the singing coat and the narrator ends it.

That morning I got an e mail from Namaya, and he is booked for Thursday 22 June, so come down and see some of the best poets in Ireland. This is not an idle boast dear reader, but the plain bald truth.

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