"Seven bums and fourteen legs,
a brazen ecstasy which begs
the question some of us are asking -
is Peter Goulding multi-tasking?"

Martin Parker, Editor, Lighten Up Online

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Asking for Directions launch

I was delighted to attend the launch of Trim poetry guru Michael Farry's first collection, Asking for Directions at the Castle Arch Hotel in Trim last night. In fact, it was very magnanimous of me to attend at all, after his table-topping Sligo Rovers trounced my beloved Shelbourne on Friday night but I'm not a man to bear a grudge and besides, his poetry is the type of poetry that I enjoy - accessible, easily read on one level but with a depth that often surprises.
The advice to all poets is to hone their craft, to analyse every word to see if it really fits and you can easily imagine Michael doing this, sitting at home agonising over a semi-colon, fretting over a superfluous adjective. His poems have a tightness and sharpness to them that defines the skilled craftsmen and he certainly has a way of seeing new things on a well-trodden path, as one speaker put it. The resulting collection of nearly fifty poems is an absolute delight and we were treated to a goodly handful of them last night, both from the author himself and the launcher, Pat Dunne. The book, which I highly recommend, can be ordered here
It is published by Doghouse Press, one of my favourite publishers ever since they published one of my comic verses in The Book of Ballad Poems many moons ago. Editor Noel King is on a whirlwind tour of the north east- Doghouse are launching James Lawless' Rus in Urbe at the Springfield Hotel Leixlip tonight and Barbara Smith's second volume The Angel's Share at the Basement in Dundalk tomorrow night.
The wonderfully dry and laconic Paddy Smith did MC for the night. He told me afterwards about the 5 minute play competition for the Trim Swift Festival and actually a germ of an idea has entered my head. If only I had some friends to perform it...
In an adjoining hotel room, we could occasionally hear snippets from a Unislim meeting. Fellow blogger Kate Dempsey suggested afterwards that it would make a good poem to have attended the wrong meeting by accident. Its been a long time since I wrote anything (except for the Shels football programme) but the words seemed to tumble out! Of course, I need a Michael Farry to hone it and pare it for me!

On the speakers at a Unislim meeting and a poetry recital entering the wrong meetings

At first I didn’t get it.
Just another poet playing to a vast hotel room.
I had heard she was good, a must-see,
one of the rising talents on the scene,
quirkiness her stock in trade,
but, to me, there seemed no depth.

But slowly, I realised the string of clichés
signified a subtle and brave self-parody.
The theme – fitness of mind, of body, of a nation –
linked the poems together, while the lines
“potatoes – out,
white bread – out,
bad carbs – out”
evoked a post Thatcheresque irony,
where less is more and more is less.
There was a quirkiness, yes,
but real depth too, shimmering
beneath the surface of her rippling words.
She spoke with passion,
a driven soul communicating the message
like a post-modern Elijah.
Her audience nodded sagely,
murmured “Hmmm,” after each poem,
which came so quick upon the last
they were surely sequences from a longer work.

In the next room, Kate Dempsey,
idly wondered at the open-mouthed looks
on the faces of her tracksuited audience,
as she recited “Amsterdam Otto recommends.”


  1. Thanks Peter! And a great poem. And if you need an actor for your 5 min play . . .

  2. Connie RobertsTuesday, May 22, 2012

    Hi Peter! Long time, no talk. Glad you had a terrific time at Michael's book launch. Wish I could've celebrated alongside you,
    but believe me, I was there in spirit.

    Hope life is being good to you...

  3. Peter, guess what was going on in the room beside the room we launched James Lawless's Rus in Urbe collection tonight? Yes a weight loss meeting!!

  4. Lovely to meet you and play the muse, be it all so briefly!
    Michael! Fantastic. Someone is trying to tell you something. Write that poem!

  5. Thanks Michael, obviously our poetry is too heavy.
    Connie, how are you? Hope all is well with you and yours over there!
    Hi Kate - great Muse!