Managed to attend the launch of Boyne Berries 10 in Trim last night and I'm glad I did. For the 10th issue, the editorial team decided to do something a little different and went for a full colour magazine with illustrations to accompany the poetry and prose and playwrighting and the result is a true work of art that looks very very classy. Greg Hastings' cover design (above) incorporates the starkness of the normal BB cover but the subtle colouring marks it as a collectors issue.
A good sized and attentive crowd there as always. To my great disappointment, the hilarious Paddy Smith was missing. Get well soon, Paddy!
Lots of readers too, which brought the poems and prose pieces to life. I was delighted to finally meet Evan Costigan, whose name appears regularly in publications and competition shortlists throughout Ireland, and his Leaving Nagasaki was a delight in its novel approach to an old subject. I loved Honor Duff's Giant Steps, with its kick in the teeth last line, the internal rhymes of young Rory O'Sullivan's The Door that opens into darkness; James Linnane produced a fine piece called Blade (never realised that he wrote such well-crafted poetry); Tom Dredge's poem on Joyriding was a stark odyssey to an inevitable conclusion; Susan Connolly's At Ellie Vaughan's grave was a delight from start to finish (Ellie was Ledwidge's wanno); and on and on. A very inspiring evening and a humbling one too.
My own poem was short and I got through it okay. When I was small, I used to get travel sick. I could hold it in for mile after mile and then 100 yards from the destination, it would all come out! Last night, I thought I read practically perfectly before blocking on the final word!!
As, for once, I managed to drive straight to the hotel without spending fifteen minutes circling the metropolis of Trim, I was able to spend some time beforehand chatting to the abovementioned Evan Costigan and also Carolyne Van Der Meer, all the way from Montreal and her first time in Ireland. She told me that one of her goals on the trip had been to meet me because she loves my blog. Patently untrue, but I adored her for saying it.
The multi-talented Padhraig Nolan (aka Scalder) did the artwork to her fascinating glimpse of the undercurrents beneath the teeming world of Montreal's Central Station and I believe she will be bringing the original artwork back home from her short trip too!
Peter Fallon gave the introduction - always a great and interesting speaker. I caught his reading at Strokestown this year and he read his poem The Fields of Meath, which is truly superb and kicks off BB10.
And to round matters off, I managed to get my picture taken with Orla Fay, which I can show with pride to my grandchildren in years to come, when she is rich and famous.
Many thanks to Michael for his usual courteous hospitality and wry sense of humour. There is a second launch tonight in Charlie Byrne's bookshop on Galway at 6pm and then he'll be jetting off down under in his attempt at world domination.
Boyne Berries 10 may be purchased here