|Actor reading Julian Gough's story in St Nicholas's|
I am writing an essay on her at the moment for a plenary I am giving at the AEDEI conference in Spain next month, so I have been immersed in Edna interviews lately online etc. I didn't learn anything new on Thursday night but it is always a pleasure to listen to her. Did somebody once say that if we didn't have Edna O'Brien we would have to invent her? She is our grand dame of letters, for sure.
|Crowd at Galway Stories literary walk/reading, St Nicholas's|
Sharon said that for her Irish poetry is both 'an ancestor from the past and a sister-brother from the present'. She also said 'Poetry is about going below while singing above.' I love that. Seán asked her about the tag 'confessional'; Sharon said she feels her poems are more 'accusational'. She said, 'No one would choose to be in the family of a family poet' and that when she writes she is 'resting' from herself. She also said that when she edits what she has written she 'tries to take out half of the adjectives and a third of the self pity.'
A local, sweet-voiced singer, Stacey Nolan, sang two songs at the Arena event. She may be Galway's answer to Gillian Welch. Writer and film-maker Conor Montague read from his story 'Eat the Swans' which features in the new Galway Stories anthology from Doire Press - a visceral, shocking story that will not suit the squeamish reader/listener.
|Juno McLoughlin at Alan McMonagle's book launch, Town Hall Theatre|
Later I went to Paula Meehan and Sharon Olds's excellent reading at the Town Hall. They are a great poetry pairing and Paula was in fine, lively reading form. Sharon has a more subdued style in comparison but she is utterly convincing and sincere. It was a great evening. Down to the festival club after in the Meyrick Hotel where I enjoyed chatting to the very affable American writer Ben Marcus, as well as Mary Costello, Declan Meade, and many others.
|Alan McMonagle signing Psychotic Episodes|
I spent the evening in the Meyrick again enjoying the great conversation of Ron Rash (yes!), the lovely Richard Burns of Nantucket (a Cúirt stalwart), young London-based Irish writer Danny Denton, Mike McCormack, who is just back from a US book tour, Declan Meade, Mary Costello, and Martin Dyar who is now running the Strokestown Poetry Festival which is on next weekend. And I'll be there for the first time - whoop!
So, that was my Cúirt. I hate to think of all I missed due to fatigue/needing to eat/clashing events etc. I managed to meet the lovely Michael Harding and I got him to sign his memoir for my Ma. She will love it. I also met friends from near and far which, at the end of it all, is what good literary festivals are all about: the old friends and the new, the old books and the new, and all that great chat that makes going back to the desk alone both easier and important.
Next stop Strokestown :)