Saturday, 2 May 2009
AFTER THE WATCHFUL HEART
Among the Berries - Liam Butler
Joan McBreen, Nuala, Jessie Lendennie, Paul Perry
Me reading at The Watchful Heart launch
A lovely time was had by all at the Kenny’s launch of The Watchful Heart last night; there were 4 of the 24 poets there, and we all read a poem each: myself, Eileen Sheehan, Paul Perry and Kevin Higgins. The actual launching took place in the gallery part of the shop, surrounded by Liam Butler’s stunning exhibition of welded copper sculptures, The Art of Welding.
Des Kenny welcomed us all and complimented the anthology’s ‘beautiful production’, which is such an important part of any book. Brendan Flynn of Clifden Arts Week did the official launch with enthusiastic references to Neruda and Rilke (Joe Woods’s essay in the anthology is about Neruda), and he called Joan McBreen, the editor, ‘a young Lady Gregory’ for her commitment to, and enthusiasm for, poetry in general, and this project in particular. He talked about the chances poets’ take in ‘going deep down’ and he complimented the title (taken from a Derek Mahon poem) saying, ‘The heart’s a wonder!’
Jessie Lendennie, director of Salmon Poetry, praised Joan’s ‘tremendous passion’, and Joan herself spoke of the undertaking of compiling an anthology like this one being ‘a launch into waters of many sharks’. Some of those sharks being the poets themselves, one presumes (!). She thanked poet Geraldine Mitchell, recent winner of the Patrick Kavanagh Award, who helped as a trusted reader of the essays and poetry, and in keeping her sane during the editorial process, it seems. (I’ve edited an anthology and I gained new and absolute respect for editors in the process.)
Others present included Pádraig Breathnach of Galway Arts Centre, and Wordsonthestreet publishers Tony O’Dwyer and Gerardine Burke. All in all, it was a great evening and Kenny’s gallery was the ideal light, bright, beautiful space to launch the book, all the royalties of which go to Cancer Care West.
More launches for the book are scheduled:
DUBLIN - MAY 21ST - UNITARIAN CHURCH - 6pm
LISTOWEL LAUNCH - MAY 30TH
YEATS SUMMER SCHOOL LAUNCH - JULY 30TH - GLASSHOUSE HOTEL - 6pm