Today I felt very privileged to be present at the lunchtime reading organised by North West Words at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Letterkenny. This event was part of the North West Words Writing Weekend taking place at the Radisson Blu.
Sundays are normally spent lazing by the fireside, or walking a local beach, so this was definitely going to be a Sunday with a difference! And what a Sunday it turned out to be.
At approximately 1pm Jenni Doherty embarked on her reading. Originally from Greencastle, Co. Donegal, Jenni was reading from her debut collection of poetry and prose Rain Spill, published by ‘Guildhall Press Derry’. The said title was very appropriate today as the rain was indeed spilling from the heavens!
Jenni read a selection of her work today but perhaps the most poignant was her poem ‘Brutal B&B‘. This poem written a few years ago has many echos of the present day Palestinian crisis. Words such as ‘It’s happenin’ in the streets/broken shells beaten weep/racking wounds crackle blast/fisted flesh carcass cast/amputation, condemnation/ disfiguration of love and limbs.’ These words rang true to the modern day crisis and everyone related to them in a very real way. She followed this with a poem dedicated to her twin brother. ‘Twin Peeks‘ tells of her growing up alongside her brother and the differences that were present between male and female. She tells how the closeness of being a twin is a special attribute and how life and distance can change so much. Her love for her twin is evident throughout. Jenni finished with her piece on ‘Village Buttons‘ where she recalls coming home to Greencastle and the ghosts that are ever present, and a place where her heart will always be.
Denise Blake has two poetry collections published by ‘Summer Palace Press’; Take a Deep Breath and How to Spin Without getting Dizzy. Denise read a selection of her work today also and a number of her poems touched me very deeply. Mother Goddess‘ told of the many facets of motherhood, the expectations and the realisations. Her words ‘help me to be the mother my own son needs’ is something I ask for every day. We all want to be the perfect parent, but if we can do right by our own son, then we are doing good. It’s almost the words of a silent prayer I say every day. When Denise read ‘Breathings’ I had a tear (or maybe two) in my eye. This recalled her experiences and feelings when her son left home. This is a milestone in any mothers life and I too have experienced such. Hearing someone else read how I felt made me very emotional. Genuine emotion is within her words. When she read ‘Sycamore‘ and explained that this is about her grandchildren, the line ‘web of veins sprung from the stem’ sums up the familial line. True love and emotion are intertwined with her beautiful expressions throughout her work. Finishing on a poem based on childhood stories, ‘Mother Goose‘ expressed clearly a mothers advice to her children.
Following the readings by Doherty and Blake, Patricia Morris entertained us with her impressive vocals and assisted by Neil Burns on keyboard. Patricia sang a range of her own music and songs such as ‘My Baby Don’t Care’. Her own compilation, ‘Between New Year and Valentine’ is one we certainly want to hear again and again. Patricia’s stunning voice from her Scottish Irish roots only serves to enhance any piece of music. She was the perfect ending for what was a beautiful chilled Sunday lunchtime.
This proved to be an absolutely delightful way to spend a Sunday lunchtime and early afternoon. Jenni Doherty, Denise Blake and Patricia Morris complimented each other perfectly and we the audience had to simply sit back and enjoy! Divine on a Sunday!
North West Words is the writers venue in Donegal. Poetry nights take place on the last Thursday of each month at Cafe Blend in Letterkenny.