With last Thursday having been National Poetry Day in Ireland, Tullamore Library, to celebrate the occasion, organised an evening of readings from local writers.
With the library itself currently being refurbished, the setting for the night’s proceedings was the library’s temporay home in Woodchester House, beside the old Post Office.
Before a small but appreciative gathering of fellow wordsmiths and enthusiasts, Tullamore man Ken Hume opened the event reading from his recently published first collection, “Snowstorm of Doubt and Grace”. Among the pieces recited by Ken were the poignant “Wordless Conversations”, reflecting as it does on how silence can so often, and indeed, so tellingly, fill as much of the space between two people as any words might ever manage to. He also shared the tragically apt for the times we live in, “Unemployment Town”, which, as the name suggests might be the case, needs no further explaining, sad to say.
Next up to the top table was Banagher’s Tomas Carty, regaling all present with verse inspired from his many travels and adventures across Europe. Displaying a keen and practised eye for seeing beyond and deeper than the obvious, Carty’s words revealed the sharp edge of a sword that, fully aware of it’s own incisive potential, never needs to completely leave the harbour of it’s scabbard in order to make it’s point, both clearly and passionately. What the poetry of Tomas Carty most ‘oft tends to prove, in fact, in general and without doubt on this particular night, is that sometimes it isn’t simply a case of the pen being mightier than the sword, but that sometimes, the pen can actually be the sword.
Next up was Anthony Sullivan, the Lusmagh poet and songwriter taking the opportunity to begin his turn in the spotlight by reciting one of his favorite poems from his schooldays, “The Planter’s Daughter”, by Austin Clarke. Sullivan followed this opening by reading two of his own poems, both pieces of social commentary in nature; “ Bright September Morn”, a reflection on the just passed 10th anniversary of 9/11, and “Remember Peltier”, a piece highlighting the case of native American Leonard Peltier, recognised by many, including the United Nations, as being a political prisoner of the United States government.
Bringing the evening and the event to what was at times a lighthearted, and at times a very touching close, was Seamus Kirwan. Seamus unleashed a storm of rhyme and wit in offering his own unique viewpoint on one of the worst cases of excess the Celtic Tiger brought to Irish shores.
He referred to the plague of fake tan. With every line perfectly measured and leading the audience from one outburst of laughter into another, many were left regretting the fact that Seamus had forgotten to bring along another piece of his, called “My Granny And The Hatchet”.
Sounding so much like a story just waiting to be told at the best of times, but even more so if it’s going to come wrapped in the effortlessly comic musings of this talented writer.
Seamus also shared a love poem, written to no-one in particular, but in a way, common to every heart that has ventured down love’s road. Comparing two drops of rain on the wind-shield of his car to two people in a relationship, he attempted to capture the essence of life and love’s fragility, from seemingly spontaneous beginnings to mergers that might well be predestined, to endings that can feel like they’ve wiped out entire worlds in the the blink of a tear-filled eye.
All the writers involved in this night would like to express their gratitude and thanks to Diarmuid and Tullamore Library for hosting the event, which hopefully, will be but the first of many such nights over the years to come.