As the nation celebrated National Poetry Day last Thursday, three members of Tullamore Rhymers’ Club played their part to mark this special occasion by greeting over sixty young students from the Sacred Heart, in Tullamore Library that morning.
From shortly after half past ten until early afternoon, in what was a very relaxed, informal and fun manner, Thomas Carty, Jill Britton-Batty and Anthony Sullivan hosted two poetry readings and workshops with their young guests. The rhyming writers shared their experiences of life as poets; revealing why they each began writing in the first place, and detailing some of the process involved in how they actually write their poetry.
As well as sharing some of their poetry with the students, the Rhymers also made a point of encouraging any of the group who written a poem of their own and brought it along, to share their writing, too. And, in some cases where sudden bouts of shyness or stage-fright took hold, the young poets present were encouraged to let a friend read their work aloud on their behalf instead.
Reflecting on the morning’s events later on in the day, all three Rhymers were unanimous in their praise for the talent displayed by the young students; those who wrote, those who read, and all who took part in any other way. And the Rhymers would like to express their thanks to each and every one of the students who were involved in this National Poetry Day event, and of course, to their teacher, Mr. Nigel Brennan, all of whom contributed to making it as enjoyable an experience as it turned out to be.
For the Rhymers’ Club, however, the morning was only half of Thursday’s story. An almost full-strenght team of Carty, Batty and Sullivan, now supplemented by fellow rhymers Seamus Kirwan and James Delaney, returned to the library just after 6pm. The first item on the agenda was to support fellow poet Jean O’ Brien as she gave her new collection, ‘ Merman ‘, its official Offaly launch. And the Rhymers’ Club would like to wish Jean every success with her latest publication.
After Jean read from ‘ Merman ‘, the Rhymers’ Club again took to the stage. Acting as MC for the evening, Anthony Sullivan read a piece from his next collection which is due for publication around this time next year, before handing over to Seamus Kirwan. Seamus then read from his forthcoming and highly anticipated first collection, ‘ Ravings Of A Mad Irishman. ‘ Seamus is launching his book on October 19th in Clonmore House, Tullamore, at 8pm, and anyone with an interest in poetry or writing in general, is welcome to attend.
Further readings followed from James Delaney, Jill Britton-Batty and Thomas Carty, before the mic was opened to the floor. Bringing a memorable day to a delightful close were contributions from John Saunders and Arthur Broomfield, both well regarded published poets, and from two more very talented young Tullamore writers, Stephen Stokes and Cormac Lally.
As much of the country finally shows signs of shaking off the many shackles of the poisonous ‘ Celtic Tiger ‘ era, one always glorious component of our nations true identity seems to have made it through relatively unscathed, and if anything, perhaps even strenghtened and with a reborn sense of potential, which, if nurtured with the necessary care, can florish and bloom as never before. And that component is, of course, a love for and appreciation of the written word and the spells it casts.
In Ireland, and in Offaly, may it ever be so.