An evening of women’s literature at the Irish Writer’s Centre (06/01/2012)

The Irish Writer’s Centre,  last evening  06/01/2012,  hosted along with Dublin City Council a celebration of women’s poetry, music and literature to mark Oíche Nollaig Na mBan (Women’s Christmas). The event was presented by June Considine.

And what a night it was.

The event was bi-partite in structure, with readings by three poets and story-tellers to begin, a brief interval filled with music was quickly followed by three more readings by three more women writers. The first half was decidedly poetic, with readings in English and Irish by Celia de Fréine, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Eilis Ní Dhuibhne.

Celia De Fréine read In Relation to Each Other, Dearbhail , Celia Óg , and Ophelia. Dearbhail was indeed heart-breaking, the tale of the murder of Dearhbail by jealous women.

Eilis Ní Dhuibhne read two tales , The Man Who Had No Story and The Blind. 

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill read from a few collections, Including from my favourite Pharaoh’s Daughter, with translations by Paul Muldoon,  Michael  Hartnett,  and Dr. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.  Poems read included , The Language, Dán do Melissa, and Closure.

Music flowed along with wine  as Jane Hughes on cello & Ellen Cranitch on flute played a selection from Carolan and Tchaikovsky, including the much giggled upon Fanny Power.

Interval over, the business of literature reared it’s head in the shape of Mary O Donnell ,who read from a WIP about Northern Ireland , alongside two  poems which were tremendous and indicate a wonderful talent in two quite distinct areas of writerly discipline.

Sarah Clancy charmed the crowd with her Argument Poems , which included Ringing in Sick  To Go Mermaid-Hunting,  Cinderella Backwards , and Riot Act. 

Mia Gallagher topped the evening off with some reading from her upcoming book.

This should not have been a unique evening in the calendar. There  are hints of more such evenings being planned, the audience was mixed  between the sexes and they were always interested. It was utterly charming, eclectic and beautifully balanced. I expect that people who wish more detail on the music and books can contact the Irish Writer’s Centre directly. Kudos to the board, volunteers and organisers for a great evening.

Pic by Stephanie Joy

Paul Muldoon and the Art of Poetry, No.87, Paris Review

The Griffin Poetry Prize has been making excellent use of Social media, including Twitter to publicise this year’s prize list and as little of note happens in the Irish Sunday papers, I thought to add in by way of my blog their link to the Paris Review interview with Paul Muldoon . Poetry readers familiar with this site will know that it is  a rare occurrence for me to link to the Paris Review interviews , but that I think they are always worthwhile.

Paul Muldoon came to Tara in 2008 to celebrate our unique heritage, along with Susan Mc Keown and Seamus Heaney , this was a protest, a lament and an attempt to support those campaigners who had fought through Ireland’s courts and the EU about radical fast-track planning. One Irish newspaper  of note reported the Turn at Tara as ‘Heaney celebrates Heritage Week’ !  One expects this type of bilge as a matter of course in an undifferentiated mass-media that distrusts ideas. But I digress -

Related Links

I said it once this week but it bears repeating , radical censorship is unnecessary in Ireland, a media group-think can just marginalise to sustain intellectual poverty, and what better way than to push trash-culture, ego-driven self publicity and other ephemera of failure ??

Heaney, Mc Keown and Muldoon : Singers at Tara

Just One Book Campaign, Salt-Publishing appeal

Salt Publishing, that wonderful house of Poetry and Literature today lost out in the English Arts Council Funding rounds for 2011. The house has set up a Twitter campaign to ensure that it stays in the market called the #JustOneBook Campaign . The issue is of relevance to those amongst us who support the  literary house and publishers of quality poetry.

I am linking here to the Salt Publishing blog, Twitter Account, and current book list for those who wish  support this campaign.

The New North – Contemporary Poetry from Northern Ireland

Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Jean Bleakney, Chris Agee, Moyra Donaldson, Gary Allen, Andy White, Matt Kirkham, Geróid Mac Lochlainn, Frank Sewell, Paul Grattan, Sinéad Morrissey, Alan Gillis, Leontia Flynn and Nick Laird, as well as classic poems by Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Ciaron Carson, Paul Muldoon, Medbh McGuckian and Michael Longley.

Wraiths III , White Nights , by Seamus Heaney.


III.  White Nights
“Furrow-plodders in spats and bright-clasped brogues
Are cradling bags and hoisting beribboned drones
As their skilled neck-pullers’ fingers force the chanters

And the whole band starts rehearsing
Its stupendous, swaggering march
Inside the hall. Meanwhile

One twilight field and summer hedge away
We wait for the learner who will stay behind
Piping by stops and starts,

Making an injured music for us alone,
Early-to-beds , white-night absentees
Open-eared to this day. “
from, Human Chain , by Seamus Heaney , published by Faber and Faber 2010.

Note : I am attaching to this short post a link entitled : Feis Teamhar , a Turn at Tara because I was there to hear the poets and musicians on that day. I believe that the Newspapers under-reported the day and did not attend to Mr Heaney’s words. He was there to celebrate Tara as a cultural centre and to support the Campaign to Save Tara . He was also there to support his nephew who was and is a Tara Campaigner .

Since that time , there have been other feiseanna at Tara, this was the inaugural one organised by : ” Paul Muldoon, Pulitzer prize-winner, will read his poetry to celebrate and honour Tara and will be joined by musicians: Grammy award-winner Susan McKeown, Laoise Kelly, Aidan Brennan and others “.

Save Tara Campaign release on Feis Teamhair