For the third consecutive year Fermanagh Writers were invited by Poetry AP4Ireland to participate in All Ireland Poetry Day. We’ve been buffeted by gale force winds and rain at a ruined castle and duelled with muzac in a shopping centre the previous years. So it was wonderful to gather around a fire where we were welcomed in this year. Our special guest was Irish writer and poet, Seamas Mac Annaidh. This was the first year that we have broadcast our reading. After a couple technical glitches we were live on our own channel on ustream tv for the full hour. We have recorded the programme and will broadcast it again at a later date.

One of our poets, John Llewellyn James, shares his thoughts about the evening:

Ken Ramsey, our M.C.

Ken Ramsey, our M.C.

We arrived primped and pressed. Press ganged into accepting that Fermanagh time was not the clock that the rest of the universe seemed to follow and appeared dutifully for our cue at the appointed hour.   No Angelus bells ushered Seamus Mac Annaidh forward, instead it was left to Ken Ramsay, our Compere for the evening to bravely hurl a few words into the void of the modern-day ether of the internet.

Poetry Ireland had kindly given us this opportunity and we staged it in typical fashion at our local watering-hole, Charlies.  But our hosts were no strangers to our band of ragged warriors of the quill, had oft given us shelter and victuals, with stout to lubricate dry throats.  This evening we took the prized seats in front of the fire and gathered round its warming glow, trying to ignore the forbidding stare of the gaping-mouth of the laptop, waiting to devour our words, our images and perhaps our souls.

Peter Byrne toasts the memory of Seamas Heaney

Peter Byrne toasts the memory of Seamas Heaney

Seamus started us off with a rambunctious ditty about hairdressers, purloined some audience participation and ensured the fire was lit in our stomachs.  He moved  on to more serious fare, movingly recounted, about different times, unquiet times, troubled times, all with a local flavour, before finishing with a modern rap on Fermanagh.  This set the tone for the evening; maybe it was the untimely passing of another man called Seamas, our beloved national poet, Heaney, caused many to reflect on the great man of letters and some of us had a few lines to say about the man.  For others, it prompted reflection about the passing of time and those we have loved and lost, yet love still.  Our time with them just ran out.

Sadly, time also ran out, our window onto the world was closing and it was time to withdraw behind the stage-curtain once more, resolving to take further opportunities at a future time, to place ourselves in the virtual world of the internet.  Spellcast by those magical techno-wizards, kindly loaned to us by our very own Hogwarts, Fermanagh South West College.

AP3