(I'll split this post into 2 or 3 or it'll be too long-winded!)
Back to life, back to reality. I always feel very flat coming back home after Baffle or Strokestown. I can't do a complete review of the Baffle weekend because there's just far too much, so I'll just jot down random jottings as they come to me.
Well, brilliant time from start to finish, from the cosy intimacy of Harney's for the heats, to the delightful Brunch on Sunday lunchtime to the final in the Loughrea Spa hotel on Sunday night, and the sun shone the whole weekend, which has to be a first. Thanks to Ian and Siun, Fionnula, Eamonn, Lucy, Wiltrud and all the other members of the committee for their hospitality.
Slightly smaller entrance this year, roughly 36 entering, to be whittled down to 16 for the final. Great atmosphere in Harneys. Jammed packed but absolute silence whenever someone got up to speak. No idea how the judges decide between a serious and a humorous poem but they did. I had a very rhythmic poem, echoing a steam train, to suit the theme, and I was pretty amazed that I read it through with barely a hesitation. Must be the rhythm.
Of course, the debates and surprise about the poems that did and didn't get through is half the fun. There were a couple of surprises in both camps - I heard that the other heats in O'Dea's Hotel proved equally as controversial, but that's all part of the fun. I was delighted to get through. After winning it last year, this was the limit of my hopes, I actually didn't want to win it again for fear of appearing greedy.