Anyone who has been to the Baffle festival in Loughrea on the October Bank Holiday weekend knows what a great time there is to be had there.
The committee sets a theme and you stand up and read out your poem in a pub in the heats on either the Friday or the Saturday nights. The judges then draw up the finalists, who read their work on the Sunday night, after which the Baffle Bard is elected.
The beauty of it is that you get serious poems, comic poems, poems in Irish, love poems etc from local people who may not have any grounding in poetry to people who have travelled long and far to be there. And when they read, normally in a pub packed to the rafters, you can hear a pin drop.
Anyway, its a great bit of craic so if you're stuck for something to do on the October weekend, get writing. This year's theme is 'Off the Rails.'
(One word of warning - its better to write specifically for the theme. If you use an old poem that might have a tenuous connection to the theme, the judges normally can see through this, as I have found out personally!)