image: something appropriate to break up the text

I visited the Sound Eye Poetry Conference in Cork last weekend. It was good to hear some challenging poetry again, although I think I should have taken a couple of days off beforehand; I was too tired to properly appreciate all the work presented.

Anyway, I arrived at Cork station, thinking of apples and cricket pitches and Canterbury; Cork station is called Kent station. I soon realised I was being silly; it’s named after one of the heroes of the Irish revolution, Clark Kent. A station in Dublin is named after the greater hero, Sam Heuston, who founded NASA in America before he came to Ireland to be shot.

My first event was half way through Sound Eye (note to self: next time go to the whole thing). Anyway, it was an evening’s cabaret in the local gay club, which, I’m very glad to say, had some good beer available. The performance I particularly remember was Justin Katko’s abridged 45–minute opera, which threatens to be absolutely fascinating if performed complete, with a decent sound system, or, even better, recorded. Sean Bonney’s recital stood out too (I’m embarrassed to admit he was accompanied by someone playing sound effects, and I’ve completely failed to remember her name). A viol consort played some short formal works from the middle ages, and later on swapped instruments to end the evening with a drunken ceilidh (well, I, for one, was drunk). There were many other good performances I’ve not mentioned here.

The following evening, Mairead Byrne compèred a open–mic session that was closed, held in a town-centre wine bar. This was rather grand too, with no naff performances. I loved Kenneth Goldsmith’s recital of Bern Porter’s “The Last Acts of St. Fuck You” (he introduced Bern Porter as America’s Bob Cobbing). I took some photos of the event which will be posted on Wild Honey Press’s site; if not, I’ll post them here somewhere.

The more formal sessions during the day introduced me to some great poetry. I hope to add some notes on them in another post.