Made an earlier than usual departure from Pukowski Towers this morn, wanting to get myself down to the bridge in ample time: thought if it's decent and summer-y, despite being September, but then hey the summer has been so fleeting all summertime maybe it's doing a defiant blast before the autumnal season kicks in, so as I was almost saying there: if it was a nice day, why not get down prompt enough to have time to sit myself down at one of the three recently-added tables by the Laune and write/read for some minutes before the bus for Killorglin and Knibs came along c. 10 a.m.
So I did; it was a pleasant sunny morn, hadn't even made it to the first left turn junction on my bridge walk before getting picked up by Ulrike, who kindly whisked me down to the bridge so I was there earlier than my intended early arrival. Ample time: across to the shop, duly got coffee, walked across to seat myself at a table, walking past two on account of their seats looked damp got me nowhere tbh, there was damp look to the seats on all three tables. Wtf, sit down and read whatever man, so I did.
Got my reading done, wrote a brief missive to Kent - it's actually staggering to think I have lived in Ireland for more than eleven years now - eleven years! Once a Kentish soul but that was truly an aeon ago - and bagged up my pens and papers and folders and ofc the coffee was finished a few mins before anything else, then wandered back to O'Sullivan's for a coffee refill. The machine was by then in a 'check bin' mode, told woman, she came and pushed a button or two and we were back to 'ready' so in with the cartridge, out with caffeine blast #2 for this day, grabbed some glacier mints as well, and matter of fact was crossing the road when the bus happened along! That was close then, the bus is never usually there close to its notional time of 9.55, normally after 10 somewhere, but for once it was barely late at all and sheesh I ran it close tbh. No worries, no Australian accent either, onto bus, off to Killorglin.
Folk sat outside Café K today, such was the sunny day kinda feel that I think I was the sole bod sat down inside when I went in. Then as eleven o'clock loomed along I got myself a coffee to take to the library, and off we went for Knibs.
More customary sighting of Kevin sat at 'his' table as you first enter the library today (his regular occupancy of same such that when I was sat at same table for a while on Tuesday and Sean walked in, he commented about how one shouldn't really sit there, it was Kevin's!), I strolled round to the usual Knibs one and when Kevin came round shortly after, he was telling me of his inclusion in the excellent monthly 'Riposte', a fine A3 folded sheet that gets printed and sent out to whoever subscribes, and Kevin's first poem therein was duly shown to me. He read out 'Thinking time', and I enjoyed again its distinctive word use and definite poem feel, which I guess the Riposte publisher agreed with hence it got in!
Frances and Sean arrived shortly after 11, Mick at almost half past, but we never did see Bridie, who had made a debut brief appearance a week ago and had said she would go off and write something to bring in this time. Kevin said he'd spoken with her before in the library, one Bridie Little apparently, shown her the Knibs poster and said about us meeting weekly, but she didn't re-appear this week. A short Knibs career then! Or maybe she forgot and will return another time, who knows?
Noel King is also in the same Riposte as Kevin, which is actually two sheets this month, must be all those Kerry poets peppering the page! Kevin read out Noel's 'Thoughts of autumn'.Continuing the reading-other-poets tack Kevin then read a Louis Mulcahy one (also in Riposte) called 'Reading Kerry Hardie', followed by an Anne Egan one called 'Words', also in same issue, and it drew favourable comments from us, though Kevin said she'd had a book of poems published one year at Listowel which he'd got, but our own Shakespearean wordsmith laureate thought 'Words' was better than anything therein.
Kevin gave me a clipping from a recent Observer, which some Sundays runs a poetry review section, and this one centred on a new collection (64 pages if memory serves) from Julia Copus, whose 'Ghost' I then read out.
Buddy had as usual dropped off a new piece last night for me to take in, and this was the enjoyable 'Sonny', or maybe 'Sunny' since the eponymous one is a sunflower in a pot who had been given to Bud and Kate some time back by his good woman's sister, and a heartening and well-told tale the story of the care taken to help ensure the sunflower thrived was. The photo included of the said plant drew comments too.
Frances said she had re-worked her opening segment to her novel draft that she'd read a while back, and so she read out the new version. '2021 - part one', its central character of Sugar and the narrative Frances read, seemed better set than the previous take, so clearly Frances has improved her work we seemed to agree.
She then read another piece, 'Life Impromptu' which ended with "is that just fiction?", which she'd originally entered for a competition which required that line to be included somewhere. Sean followed with his piece 'The riddle of stone' which was reminiscent of previous Sean work, talking about natural elements or habitat, and though some of us felt Sean didn't help his work by his hurried reading, it was quite a "rich" piece, as Kevin called it.
I then read out my short poem 'Sharing at the station', the shorter of two poems I wrote sat on Norwich rail station during my recent time across the water. Kevin was holding his copy of 'Riposte' at me as I looked up, and I thanked him for the prod to send it in, shall do indeed, though I needed the friendly encouragement to think to do so, which is a tad odd, I suppose.
Apologising for "I'm turning into a weather poet", Mick laughed and read his new effort 'Silk' out, which drew plenty of feedback on ways to improve it and shape his poem about clouds, with love and mountains in the wings. It only features four short three-lined stanzas, yet I was suggesting dropping the final one, which includes the silk mention, as being below the level and feel set by the preceding three, and there were several thoughts round the poetic table on Mick's piece.
Frances read out her "very old poem", called 'A terrible thing', which perhaps proved prophetic as the mother who inspired it has since died, and her daughter disabled from a first horse ride also.
Kevin read 'Thinking Time' again, I might have asked him to, he was happy to read it as many times as happened anyway tbh, and then read 'The Glass Blower', his mid-ranking poem (in his opinion) that has been accepted for printing by another publication (something fizz?) who rejected his "excellent" one he'd also sent in. Frances gave it its second reading, an interesting chance to listen to the same poem read by a different voice.
I reminded folk about Saturday's Open Poetry session at 2.30 in the same building, same table probably, and Frances gave me a run home to Pukowski Acres, en route to which Sean said he's walking up Carrauntoohil on Saturday, and invited me to join him. I said nope, I'll be reading poetry out then!
A good session. Off to Dun Laoghaire at 5 a.m. or thereabouts so gotta go sort something to eat now, and then get some food ready for tomorrow's train-Dublin-train time away from the Kingdom. That's about that then.