READING AT O’BHEAL – CORK.
My first reading of the tour was hosted by O’Bheal at the Long Valley pub in Winthrop St. The Long Valley is a traditional Irish pub; with its fair share of stout, ale and ciders. The Poetry readings take place in the Hayloft the upper room of the pub, which is a wonderful room that holds around 50 people at a push. The bar has a stone horse’s head displayed at the corner, which was sculpted by an ex-bar man who went on to establish his name in the art.
FIVE WORD CHALLENGE.
The evening starts at around 9:00 with a short 5 word challenge, where the audience determine five words, all to be used in a poem, which they then spend about 15 minutes writing, followed by readings of the poems in no particular order as the mic is open and poets get up and read their offerings when they feel like it. There is a certain tension, perhaps not wanting to be first or just timing it right to get the best response, so your eyes flick across the room looking for the next reader, in anticipation on who will do what with the five words. The winning poem is selected by the audience response, on the night it was the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Cork City, Terry Shannon, whose poem won the audience appreciation and will be included in the anthology of five word challenge poems that is produced by O’Bheal at the end of each year.
The Lord Mayor, was there to show his support for the work that O’Bheal do in developing and promoting poetry as part of the twin cities initiative and also to welcome me as a representative of Coventry on the literature exchange, which he did in his speech, also talking about the importance of the visits. He was fine speaker and man very proud of his city and so he should be, it is a fine city.
You can hear the Lord Mayors speech at:
My reading which can be heard on an MP3 recording at: http://www.obheal.ie/blog/audio/Guest%20Reading%20-%20Malcolm%20Dewhirst.mp3
It consisted of my poem about the M42, which is the only poem I have written that mentions Coventry, followed by my place poems that relate to Birmingham, Cotton Mills, the Yorkshire Dales, finishing with some of my music themed place poems with another on Birmingham and Punk Rock, My Liverpool, Beatles poem, finishing with my Memphis Blues poem which I dedicated to Rory Gallagher.
Readers included Sue Cosgrave, who was part of the exchange last year, Julie Field who sang a self penned song that mixed Irish Gaelic and Tibetan lyrics. Other readers were: Jo Collins, Afric McGlinchey, who will become to the UK as part of the exchange in November. Also reading were Patricia Walsh, Laura Dunne, Tom McCarthy, Rab Urquhart, Mary Brennan and Simon Deasy, all very accomplished poets who explored so many themes with their unique voices. We were delighted by the song of Lady Grew, originally from Ohio and now touring festivals and open mic evenings in Ireland, delivering her unique mix of reggae and sometime operatic sounds, which finished of an excellent evening of poetry from such varied voices.
All the performances can be heard at:
The night was young and further hours were spent drinking ales and stout and talking poetry in the Old Oak pub around the corner, to some accompaniment of traditional music, slowly the crowd thinned down and the music faded and we headed home at around 2:00am.
If you are ever in Cork City on a Monday Evening – then do head to Long Valley on Winthrop Street for an evening of Poetry – it starts at 9:00pm – with free entry, 5 word challenge, a guest poet and open mic. You won’t get a better welcome anywhere from a group of really accomplished poets. Tell them I sent you.
READING AT THE WHITEHOUSE – LIMERICK.
The Whitehouse Bar on O’Connell St, Limerick is the home of the weekly poetry readings, hosted and organised by Barney Sheehan. The bar is split into two parts, one for poets and one for drinkers with the poets reading in the small curtained corner known as the Poetry Theatre.
The night I was there, I was one of two guest poets, the other being the Galway Poet Elaine Feeney, who read from her collection published by Salmon, Where’s Katy. Her poems are mix of imagery and feelings sometimes dark that live in the reality of her experience and acquaintances. Her main set was some of the darker poems that she rarely gets to read as she has several light whimsical poems which her audiences expect her to read. She did not get away with not reading her poem Urban Myths and the Galway Girl, which was constructed from a series of thoughts and sayings of one of her co-workers, whose moans and groans and offers of advice are cleverly crafted into this wonderful poem.
The Whitehouse performances are video’d and you can see Elaine’s performance here.
Her book “Where’s Katy” published by Salmon is an excellent collection and well worth seeking out.
There then followed an open mic, which included the excellent Terri Murray, reading from her collection Where the Dagda Dances. Terri had run out of copies by the time I asked to buy one, but I paid her for it anyway and gave her my address and two days later it arrived with a wonderful inscription.
Other excellent readers included Clare Dollard,Paul Casey from O’Bheal In Cork, Shelia Fitzpatrick O’Donnell, Christy O’Donnell, Sara Andgren, Rose O’Shea.
Mark Whelan, Paul Massey, Terri Murray and Barney Sheehan the Whitehouse Poets M.C.
There was also a group from the W.B Yeats Society in Dublin who came to listen.
My set was similar to the one I read at O’Bheal with some interesting contrasts, such as the tree at the Grange Stone Circle brought thoughts of my Malham Cove poem, where the tree cleeves the rock.
You can see my reading in the two clips below.
The evening and the trip ended with a drive back to Cork and another 2:00am arrival at the B&B.
The Whitehouse Poetry evening is every Wednesday in the Whitehouse Pub on O’Connell St. Limerick, it starts at around 8:00pm another evening that should not be missed.