As usual, a great night, last week, courtesy of the hugely prolific and talented Trim-based Boyne Writers Group crammed full of good things.
Launched by journalist Michael Slavin, whose bookshop on the Hill of Tara is every bit as much a tourist attraction as the grassy mounds themselves, we were treated to a selection of readings from participants. And it was so nice not to worry about reading, just to sit back and drink in the thoughtfully expressed imaginations of others, hoping something might kickstart my own literary yearnings.
The evening consisted mainly of poetry though Sunday Miscellany star, Caroline Carey Finn, the very sharp Barbara Flood and the delightful Danielle McLoughlin more than compensated with their prose piece, letter-writing essay and short story respectively.
The evening began in fine style with Daragh Bradish's paean to the legacy of literature, Pathfinders; Orla Fay's "May beneath the castle" shows why she can't be far behind Michael Farry in getting her first book published; James Linnane's progress as a poet continues, with fantastic internal rhymes in "Lies and Convictions"; LA Speedwing gave us a most unusual take on Lunch Breaks; the impossibly young Rory O'Sullivan treated us to another gothic classic; Ann Crinion gave us a lovely bitter-sweet piece called "Ray at Seventy"; David Glynn's Remember was a marvellously realised piece with a great last line, while Jenny Anderson treated us to a smorgasbord of popular culture in "Finding Heaven"
Maurice Devitt's name keeps cropping up everywhere. So much so that I made the mistake of thinking I'd met him before. "Maybe" shows why his star is on the rise; possibly my favourite work read on the night was Mary Torris' wonderful "Apology to a spider"; Michael Farry read both his own poem "Road Trip" and that of the wonderful Canadian poet, Carolyne van der Meer ("Atonement") linked by the rather magnificent first line, "By Mullingar, we were through the worst of it,"; Tom Dredge is another product of the Boyne Writers stable and his "Redemption" was beautifully crafted, as usual.
And there are other poems in the book that stand out - Fred Johnson and Noel King both deliver, as always and, as a rhymer at heart, I was particularly taken by Niamh O'Reilly's sonnet "The Stone Gate"
I'm sure I've missed someone who read on the night - if I have, please forgive me.
Boyne Berries 11 may be purchased here
Two very interesting conversations afterwards with Chairman Paddy Smith, who is now embarking on a career in short story writing. He suggested that I might lay to rest my prejudice against the genre (prejudice? me?) by delving into the works of William Trevor.
Also with the aforementioned Michael Farry who disabused me of the notion that once you had your poetry manuscript accepted for publication, that was it, you merely waited for the launch. Oh no - Michael was summonsed to Kerry to meet with Noel King and his red pen and the manuscript was dissected word by word before being accepted for publication by Doghouse.
Of course, this is how it should be but there seems to be a tendency today for editors just to accept everything as is.
Sure scares the crap out of me, though.