Who knew poetry could be so cool? Not me! But that was before I went to see The Night Town Project at The Workman’s Club last week. Part of the Dublin Writers Festival, the idea was a meeting of music, photography and poetry – the twist being that much of the recital was as Gaeilge. I parked myself front of stage in the blood red room, not sure what to expect, but excited by the buzz.
First off was a bilingual intro from Liam Carson, Director of the IMRAM Irish Language Literature Festival and the charismatic curator of this event . The multi media project celebrates the city at night, using live music and imagery as inspiration and backdrop to four poets. The photographs by Mark Granier and Jim Berkeley were transformed into beautiful on screen projections by Margaret Lonergan.
Sean Mac Erlaine took to his brass to compliment the reading by Ailbhe Ni Ghearbhuigh, a witty young poet from Tralee. Ailbhe interspersed her work with stories of her love for urban life and gave us an insight into a country girl’s impression of Dublin. Her soft lulling “An Gaeilgeoir Deireanach” was truly enchanting and funny too, a breath of fresh air on a close city night.
I must say I was surprised at my own grasp of the mother tongue and Ailbhe reminded me of what a poetic language Irish is, even for those who only have the cupla focal. Peter Sirr gave a rousing rendition of his work, reading in his matter of fact manner. His description of the city gentle with energy hit a note with me as he spoke of the personality of this great little town of ours.
Gabriel Rosenstock infused mystery to the night by reading from just beyond the stage, and it worked brilliantly in the vaudevillian romance of The Workman’s Club. There’s something wonderfully heady about that room, but filled with the acoustics of his words it was intoxicating… Rosenstock’s Gaelic lilt was the perfect setting for his beautiful poetry, gra weaved into every word.
A solo musical interlude from Sean Mac Erlaine sealed the mood, followed by a single reading from Mark Granier. I really was in my element and so glad to experience the city through all these unique observations. The night finished on a high with Colm Keegan, All Ireland Poetry Slam Champion 2011. An earthy Dub, Keegan brought us the underground dimension to city life.
With his native Clondalkin accent, Keegan was a departure from the other poets and in his gritty words he created a darker Dublin. But Keegan injected his own brand of humour in between his stories of young lads in trouble and nights on the edge. His first collection “Don’t Go There” has just been published. If you haven’t read poetry since school, then buy this book!
www.dublinwritersfestival.com / The Workman’s Club, 10 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2