Lit Up, the monthly poetry event with a twist, returns for a new run, with host Michael Wilson. Myself and life partner-in-rhyme Geraldine O'Kane will be kicking off the new session.
Lit Up encourages readers "to read poems that have inspired them or that they cherish. There will be two selected headliners and open mic. To perform at the open mic just put your name down on the night, you can also read your own work but we do encourage other peoples' poems as well."
Thursday 20th February, 7pm, £5
Community Arts Partnership, The ARC, Floors 1 & 2, 7 Donegall Street Place, Donegall Street, BT1 2FN, Belfast
"“[I]t’s not about writing a brilliant poem. It’s the journey and giving yourself time and space with your thoughts and translating that into writing. Anyone can benefit from that process regardless of their background.”
I've an interview in Irish Times Life & Style today, talking about poetry and mental heath ahead of my reading this Thursday at dlr Libraries Stillorgan for the First Fortnight Festival. Many thanks to Sylvia Thompson for the article, and to Lisa Jewell at Poetry Ireland for putting us in touch! Details on how to book for the event are available here.
I recently discovered a tape of a poetry reading from back in 2001, at the old Arcadia Coffeehouse in Belfast. It was at the back of a drawer, on the b-side of a tape of (some very dodgy) ab-libbed poetry. Although I remember the reading pretty well, I completely forgot it was recorded.
As the date shows, this was recorded an age ago. At the time, I had been reading in public for about a year: listening to this, I'm still rather nervous and unsure. It's also interesting to hear how my voice has progressed with my speech impediment: there are quite a few mispronounced words and bum notes here.
Oh, plus also, the poetry is, well, pretty weak. But as an record of a bygone time, it's still worth archiving. Arcadia's poetry nights was, at the time, the only platform for Belfast poets outside of the universities. Run by Mark and Debbie Madden, it was chaotic, friendly, and a great place to cut your teeth reading live.
Arcadia was in North Street Arcade, a 1930s Art Deco shopping arcade in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast. It burnt down in 2004, before a time when everyone had mobile phones with cameras and easy access to digital recording. There's precious little record of the Arcadia poetry nights left. At least there's this."