Tuesday 4th – A Treat in Coventry and a Night with Poets from Cork
Antony Owen works hard on the exchange programme between the UK and Ireland. He had invited a handful of Irish Poets from Cork, Adam Wyeth, Cal Doyle & Kathy D’Arcy to guest at Nightblue Fruit at a new Venue (which we only just found), to be fair we were delighted to find Coventry, I took Claire Walker and Maggie Doyle too, Three Poets do Battle with Road Signs and the A44 4 44 (title of a poem yet to be written)!
It was a great night, I felt energised by the atmosphere and thoroughly enjoyed listening to new poetry, both that of the Guest Poets and open mics. I performed a few poems which seemed to go down well. I performed an allotment poem (from the ever expanding collection), my Halloween poem about Princess Juliana and a poem written for 52 about my hacking chest infection, called Constrict.
Before we left I treated myself to a book. Kathy D’Arcy’s collection ‘Encounter’, which I look forward to reading, I am sure I will hear her voice as I read my way through it. She was complimentary about my poetry and liked the unique voice of my work. A voice I hope future years of writing will strengthen.
I enjoyed all the sets, Kathy’s poetry spoke to me and connected me, it is powerful when that happens. Her work reminded me of my time in Ireland and she was brimming with smiley positivity! I was very careful not to look around the shelves, I could have spent a fortune on books! I have so many lined up to read and have just borrowed two more.
Poet Biographies Written by Antony R Owen;
Major Open Mic event run annually to celebrate Coventry’s twinning with Cork, Ireland in association with O’Bheal and Coventry’s Nightblue Fruit. Twin city link acknowledged by President Michael D Higgins in 2014.
ADAM WYETH is a poet, playwright and essayist. Born in Sussex in 1978, he has lived in Co. Cork since 2000. Wyeth’s critically acclaimed collection, Silent Music was Highly Commended by the Forward Poetry Prize. He has been hailed as a ‘poet of ideas exquisitely wrought and swarming, demanding a reader awake to complexity on a subtle scale… The Irish Times call, ‘Silent Music is a clever volume that playfully questions taken-for-granted certainties… a fresh and imaginative voice is evident.’
Adam’s second book The Hidden World of Poetry: Unravelling Celtic Mythology in Contemporary Irish Poetry was published by Salmon in 2013. The book contains poems from Ireland’s leading poets followed by short essays that unpack each poem and explore its Celtic mythological references. Paula Meehan says ‘This book connects us back to a Celtic dreamtime through mythology, which is, no more, no less than the poetry of the ancestors. Seamus Heaney calls Adam, ‘A gifted commentator/close reader. A hearer and heartener.’
Adam’s debut play Hang Up, produced by Broken Crow, has been staged at many festivals, including the Electric Picnic, the Galway Theatre festival and will be staged in Berlin later this year alongside his fourth play, Apartment Block. Hang Up has also been recently adapted into a short film and premières at Cork international Film Festival, 2014. His third play, Lifedeath was showcased at the Triskel Arts Centre mini-festival of new work in 2013 and was named by the Irish Examiner as the play of the festival. It had a performance reading as part of University College Cork’s Theatre programme. In 2013 Adam was commissioned to write the The Poetry Sessions, for Cyclone Theatre Rep. A full-length play covering all the poets on the Leaving cert syllabus, which has just been on its nationwide tour.
Cal Doyle has read as part of Poetry Ireland’s Introductions Series. Most recently his poetry has appeared in New Eyes on the Great Book and the Penny Dreadful. He regularly writes on Irish poetry for Southword and is the poetry editor for the Weary Blues. He is currently working on respective collections of poetry and prose. He lives in Cork, where is completing an MA in Irish literature and cinema in UCC.
Kathy D’Arcy is writer in residence with Cork literary organisation Tigh Fili (Poets’ House). Her first collection, Encounter, was published by Lapwing Publications in 2010, and a second, The Wild Pupil, was published by Bradshaw Books in 2012 (‘among the best poems I have read in years’ – Thomas McCarthy). She currently teaches Irish women’s literature with UCC’s MA in Women’s Studies programme, runs writing workshops and works with homeless teenagers, but she originally qualified and worked as a doctor. She is also a playwright; her plays ‘Retreat’ and ‘This is my Constitution’ have been staged in Cork, and the latter appeared recently at an Irish parliamentary briefing on constitutional change. Last year she was awarded an Arts Council Literature Bursary, and this year she received an Irish Research Council Postgraduate Award to conduct a Creative Writing PhD developing her experimental poetic techniques.
It was good to see Saleha Begum too, she has travelled far and wide since I last saw her and is busy with her own creative projects. Here are some of her photographs from the night, they catch some of the warm atmosphere (in a very cold room).
Saleha Begum © 2014
It was a fabulous evening, the Big Comfy Bookshop is a place to visit, great venue for words, coffee, books and marshmellows. It didn’t matter that we lost our way (or at least I did) on the way home, or that it was midnight before I was in, or that I had work the next day. This was one of those truly magical, uplifting nights where the stress of the work day slips away as you surround yourself with comfort. Pure pleasure.