First All-Ireland Poetry Slam team announced
On Friday the 11th of May 2007, history was made as 2 regional winners from each province sized up their compositions at McHugh’s pub in Belfast, the oldest building in the city. The eight poets had only 2 minutes and 15 seconds to perform each of their pieces in rounds one and two. Then four went through to the final round; Gerard McKeown (Ulster), Colin McKeown (Ulster – unrelated), Noel Sweeney (Leinster) and Brendan Murphy (Connaught).
The excellent organising from Mark Madden (Creative Writer’s Network) and dazzling MC work from Chloe Poems made this a truly great event, and benchmarks the beginning of many to come. The intention is for the annual event to alternate throughout the four provinces.
First and second places went to Brendan Murphy and Gerard McKeown, who now represent the Irish team. They’ll be up against the Welsh, English and Scottish at the BBC Radio Four Slam Championships in July.
Videos of the performances can be viewed here
Last week I received a call from Gordon Hewitt, spokesperson and performance member of the Belfast Poets Tour Group. Having recently completed successful tours of Australia and Ireland, he found that organising a tour of the open mic venues here was by far the more difficult. There are less than a dozen countrywide and only a handful who run every week.
His concern has led him to initiate an open-mic tour circuit of Ireland, so that any ambling poets may visit or perform at all of the six major venues (held in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Derry and Belfast) within a week or two. Not only will this boost poetic diversity and exposure, furthering the appreciation of Irish talent locally, but will also encourage International poets visiting Ireland access to these venues with an attractive ease and immediacy. Ó Bhéal has given its complete support to the venture and will be involved in the project’s first meeting in June. Post will be updated.