Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Florentine Hive of Activity at Waterford Writers Weekend

Lto R: R Coady, B Knowles, Marion Ingoldsby, J Loftus , P Sirr, M Roper, M Nolan,  J Ennis , E Sweeney , B Hanlon , N Crowley  M Coady upper Poets , composers, musicians

The ebb and flow of tides
and bedded silt
by wharves and quays
M Coady

Following fast on the heels of the Ennis Book Club Festival, I travelled to the South East for another literary event, the annual  Waterford Writers Weekend. As I drove down, I tuned in to Arena, the arts magazine programme on RTE radio1 where local producer, Jacqui Corcoran had assembled a gallery full of interesting guests in the semi public space of the the Book Centre, a bookshop housed in a former cinema, all with a connection to the festival . Beginning with academic and author, Brian Keenan,  he told presenter Sean Rocks in a compelling interview, why he returned recently to the Lebanon, where he was incarcerated for four and a half years. Will we ever forget a pale and gaunt Keenan emerging to address the media so eloquently after his release in 1990. Poets, Peter Sirr, Mark Roper and writing consultant and festival organiser Vanessa O Loughliwere among the writers who gave an insight into the festival. In contrast to the Ennis Book Club Festival the emphasis is clearly on the writer as opposed to the reader with a large selection of workshops facilitating active participation in the craft.
Gourmand et gourmets 

The Book Centre was also the venue for a discussion on food writing with popular local chef, Martin Dwyer now happily relocated to the Languedoc where he runs a Chambre d'hote . An active writer, Martin writes a very entertaining blog about his French experiences. Also on the panel were Catherine Cleary, restaurant critic of the Irish Times and author Jane Travers who did a good job of posing open questions to generate some good talking points although at times there was stiff competition from the nearby junior reading area.

Publishing Supremo O Loughlin

While they don't call it the sunny south east for nothing, the weather was simply stunning,  the sort of weather where your mother might hunt you out to play rather than sit in a corner reading a book, much less writing one. Nevertheless, there was full house at Vanessa O Loughlin's insightful 'Getting Published' workshop which was a mine of information on the whole business of publishing.

The real draw of the  weekend for me was the performance of the choral piece celebrating Waterford's enduring maritime tradition, specially commissioned for the opening of the Tall Ships Festival in Waterford 2011 and  one of my selected highlights of 2011 With all the international sailors returned home, there was a sense that this reprise was for Waterford people to savour . In the elegant space of the 18th century Christchurch Cathedral, the stirring and eloquent lines of five poets were heard clearly,  read by each poet in turn and then sung by the 200 strong choir with representatives from no less than 40 choral groups in the region, to settings by five composers. The original orchestral score was  reduced for piano to good effect . Finally there was a screening of a  short documentary by John Loftus with interviews with the poets and composers on their creative experience. (This is soon to be available on line, I am told)  A truly wonderful collaboration of the spheres of literature and music ,  one I was proud to be associated with at the first performance .   In the words of conductor Niall Crowley,  'Waterford waa veritable Florentine hive of activity' for  the  endeavour and the event was  a worthy finale to round off  a splendid Waterford Writer's Weekend.

My review of the first performance of 'Come the Sails' at the opening of Tall Ships Festival here

here, now, this very moment
in flowing time,
within this harbour
and this haven  Ml Coady

No comments:

Post a Comment