Tuesday, 21 October 2008
CUISLE POETRY FESTIVAL 2008
I was in Limerick at the week-end for the Cuisle Poetry Festival; I was one of the judges for their Young Poet of the Year children’s poetry competition and the awards ceremony took place on Saturday in Daghda’s lovely converted church in John’s Square. They read; I handed out silver cups; and Bertha O’Callaghan – who instigated the competition last year – was mistress of ceremonies.
The children of Ireland write about many and various things including crocodiles, chocolate, butterflies, deceased grandparents, unrequited love, war, drinking, rivers, trees, pregnancy, shampoo, poverty, Ryanair and mining. The standard was incredible and it was great to meet all the young poets and see how happy it made them for their writing to be acknowledged.
We made it to the Salmon launch of Caroline Lynch’s and Pete Mullineaux’s new collections. I am familiar with Pete’s work from years of hearing him read in Galway and he didn’t disappoint. Caroline is brand new to me and she read wonderfully from her slim book Lost in the Gaeltacht. Her poem 'Our Dead Grandmothers' was particularly striking in its gleeful and morbid honesty; she also read a new and very effective pantoum about death and marriage. She is a poet to watch, for sure.
The only other writer we heard read was Neil Rollinson from England. He delivered a rakish set of poems about his twin obsessions: sex and horses. No poem was about both, I hasten to point out. He’s a great reader and his poem about seeing all his potential wives on the Tube had poet Ciarán O’Driscoll, and many others, in convulsions.
In a happy addition to a great week-end, I picked up the newest Stony Thursday Book to buy and found I had three poems in it! I never had heard back about my submission so presumed it was a PFO, but there I am, nestled between Gerry Murphy (my ‘conduit’!) and Mary Noonan. Nice one!