Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Travellin' Shoes

I've got my Travellin' Shoes on, and am hittin' the road tomorrow, so won't be appearing here much in the coming month. It's past midnight and I still have packing to do, because I went off to dinner and to the new Harry Potter movie with my son, and when I came home, instead of looking after practical details, I got involved in finishing a project I'd left half-done - laminating a mini-version of my SoulCollage deck.

So, here I go - tidying, packing, sorting, and getting ready to go, go, go.

Hope you all have a great summer! See ya!


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Poetry Reading(s)

Tonight, as part of the annual Earagail Arts Festival in our county, I'll be joining fellow-poets who have been published by Summer Palace Press to read at a wonderful old house in the country. Over the past few years, perhaps I've become blasé about reading in public. I'm blessed with a demeanour that hides any nerves I might feel (people always tell me how "calm" and "serene" I am when I get up to read), and I have come to trust that "it will be alright on the night".

I love to hear poetry read. I love to hear the voice of the poet. I love to hear any few words of introduction they might have. I love to recall moments from readingsI have attended. When I read, there is always someone who comes up to me later to say that hearing that poem brought it alive to them, allowed them to relate to it, to understand something of it in a new way, and I think I've done my job well if there is just that one person.

I didn't always love poetry. At school, the way in which it was taught (and read) turned it into a bore for me. The first poetry-reading I ever went to, I went by accident. Back in 1989? 1990?My friend had a new job, working in administration for an arts-journal, and one of her duties was to make arrangements for the hospitalty for a group of visiting poets. She roped me in to go along and help with the sandwiches. So I did. And I went home and wrote the following poem, dedicated to the women of Killybegs Writers Group.

..........Poetry Reading

We said 'It might be good for a laugh, at least'
Imagine going totally rhapsodic over trees!
Don't get me wrong.
I like trees. Really I do!
But they're hardly that inspiring.

And then, a woman's voice came up
and spoke my heart,
unfurled the rumpled fabric of my life,
in front of all those people.
It was all said in six lines.

Looking around, I saw faces
saying 'She's telling my tale'
and we stood, applauding our lives.

That night, in the Trades Club in Sligo, a smoky, beer-smelling room, filled with people, my soul opened up to what poetry might mean in a life, in my life, and my life did actually change forever. Where I live now, the friends I have, the journeys I have made, the paths I travel, have all been influenced by that night. My sanity has been maintained because of that night.

Since then, I have attended poetry readings in churches, in fine houses, in arts centres and in hotel meeting-rooms. I have heard Billy Collins, Seamus Heaney, Paul Durcan, Paula Meehan, Wendy Cope, Mary O'Malley.... many, many fine poets read, and there have been magical moments for me in each of those readings, but the memory of the night where I first met real poetry stays with me as the one that was the true gift.

If you don't go to poetry readings, try to find one. If you can't find one, open a book and read a poem aloud. If you have someone to read it to, all the better. If you don't have a book, read a poem from Poetry Thursday aloud. Stand up! Applaud!

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Poetry Thursday: Homage to Gaudi

I have a fascination with the architect Gaudi. His work thrills me, and I feel blessed to have been able to visit Barcelona and be in his buildings; to stroll about Sagrada Familia; to walk through Park Guell.

The salamanders there delight me, and prompted this poem:

How to Build a Salamander
...............after Gaudi

You’ll need the kind of wife who shouts a lot,
stamps her feet and throws things – pots,
plates, all the crockery piled on the table.

Better yet, a mistress or two girlfriends – lots
of women smashing all around them. Give them
reason to. It’s all in the cause of art.

When they leave, as they will, gather the bits.
Sweep all the broken pieces into piles. Save them
somewhere out of sight until the time is right.

Then – you’ll know just when – climb to the roof
of a house with odd windows, misshapen doors.
Sleep in the sun until your brain feels fried.

When it seems as if the plane trees below are saying
Jump, when it seems that the sky has blue dragons
painted on blue that only you can see,

call the boy, fill a barrow with your hoard – with
plaster, wine, all the stuff essential to the work.
Yellow, mustard, lemon, tan, terra, all blues,

all greens – a hundred shades, product of years
of anger, product of fury and a name gone to mud.
Pebbles – smooth, rounded, black, cream, polished, brown.

Where the park will be sit and wait
until an eye blinks before you. Catch it.
Place one cobalt shard right there, and wait.

The rippling of skin becomes a frantic challenge
to capture – work fast, grab pieces, bleeding fingers
placing waves and rivulets of colour on the beast,

the beast that calls you – only you – to give it life.
Under your hand, a heart beats. Under your hand
a quick tongue flicks, a cold eye glimmers.

............................................................ Imelda Maguire, 2004)

On 20th July, I'll be back in Barcelona to see my nephew (and only God-child) be married. It will be a wonderful family occasion, and apart from the wedding, there will be the added pleasure of spending time with my sisters and brothers (and other relatives and in-laws) in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

I dedicate this Poetry Thursday post to my family, and especially to Glenn and Claire.

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