This review of the evening with the amazing US poet Kay Ryan Nenagh Arts Centre, August 24 2013 is by Eleanor Hooker from Dromineer Literary festival.
It was a exceptional evening of poetry in Nenagh Arts Centre on Saturday night, August 24, with readings by Kay Ryan and Mary Mullen, facilitated by and with an interview conducted by Paul Perry.
Mary Mullen's poems, tender and true, elicited a warm response from her audience. It was a great pleasure to hear the timbre of Mullen's work, spoken in her meditative and intimate voice. If you have not already done so, make it your business to get Mary’s collection Zephyr (Salmon Publishing). Mullen's 93year old mother and her cousin travelled from Alaska to hear her read.
Poet Paul Perry interviewed Kay Ryan before she took to the podium. His scholarly and thoughtful questions demonstrated close reading and profound insight into Ryan’s poetry, and we, the audience benefited from this, as we learned about this extraordinarily gifted and unaffected poet’s writing life and process. Ms Ryan said she was especially impressed with the freshness of Perry's interview and in particular with his questions on her concerns with aesthetics and her poetry. Ryan said it was a crucial consideration for her and a connection she had not been asked on before.
It is quite something to hear laughter at a poetry reading; it is undoubtedly the spontaneous response that bonds an audience to their reader. Kay Ryan quips and philosophical observations drew ready laughter from her audience, a response she had said earlier in her interview, pleases her very much. Ryan read from Odd Blocks: Selected and new Poems (Carcanet) and included a poem, written only last week.
When the evening concluded, everyone knew they had attended a special evening with three quite remarkable poets.
This poetry evening was the Dromineer Literary Festival’s contribution to the Gathering celebrations. We are grateful to North Tipperary LEADER Partnership, whose generous sponsorship enabled us to hold this exciting event. We would also like to thank Brendan Maher, Manager of Nenagh Arts Centre and John Cummins, the Arts Centre’s stage manager, for their kindness and huge help in preparing for this event.
Members of the Dromineer Literary Festival have taken Ms Ryan to see The Burren in County Clare, afloat on Lough Derg and to see ancient monuments in the locality.