Monday, 4 March 2013

An afternoon with Poet Tony Curtis – Reading at Ennis Book Club Festival Saturday 2nd March 2013

Every so often things happen that lead you on certain paths. At first, you don’t put too much thought into where they might take you and you go along for the ride. I did such a thing on Saturday and I wasn’t disappointed. In a previous post I shared the news that one of my poems was picked to be a runner up in a recent competition. As a result of this, I received a pair of tickets to see Tony Curtis. This poet’s talents are well listed but I had never attended one of his readings.

A relaxed Mr. Curtis strode into the room and was introduced. He described himself as ‘a bendy kinda soul’ and always dressing in black and white.  Sharing stories of his life and inspirations behind his work, his entertaining descriptions enthralled me. Orating from his collection ‘Folk’ and his new one ‘The Connemara Pony’, I was hooked. The evening got better as he recited ‘The Garden flat’, written at the railing of Michael Hartnett’s house and ‘What darkness covers’, the last poem Tony read to Michael before his passing. He spoke with affection of his friendship with Dennis O’Driscoll and his last encounter with him before his passing in December 2012.

Laughter filled the room as he told us of how the Arts Council did a report into why he was so popular with the people who call the Central Mental Hospital their home. His regard for its occupants was evident as he spoke of how he felt when reading there and shared two poems reflecting life in such an institution.  

We had the pleasure of being the first audience to hear two new pieces ‘Civil War’ and one about Elizabeth Bishop before he finished the evening with a song.

Overall it was worth the journey to Ennis to attend the event and I look forward to reading my signed copy of ‘Folk’ over the coming weeks.

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