Knockmareen Dolmen (Phoenix Park Spoken Word Experience)

Poet Kevin Bateman holds events across the British Isles at sights / sites of historical or sacred importance, to showcase the talents of local spoken word artists. Watch the whole show here.

There’s “A Rune of Utter Sadness”, Bateman (who starts the show) tells us in one piece (although it could be “ruin” given the wonderful ambiguity of spoken word, and rune could have more than one meaning). Bateman’s surreal poetry is characterised by rebirth here, but the rebirth is difficult.

“After they ask us to forgive the blood the beauty and the breast only the beauty will dance. Something feeds on your remorse and lets you steep in pain.”

“The rich sleep soundly, their demons feed at night.”20180217_141401

Supriya K Dhaliwal starts with a poem where she tells us that mornings on No Man’s Land differ from casual mornings. People can be “the shade of a most loved colour”. Everyone would qualify to be a person of colour. “We can create a daisy chain of ampersands on No Man’s Land.”

In another poem that cites four Eastern sycamores on an island, “tears of misfortune” bounce into a river, back to the holder of tears.


Jasmina performs while Kevin shoots the gig.

People’s lives are like soap operas, Jasmina Šušić tells us, with addiction and abuse. Jasmina makes the point more than once that she has trouble reading her emotional material, and one line iterates the point. “You have to fight for every poem that wants to leave you.”

She claims she fell in love with a drum machine and the “Drum machine is an extension of my soul.”

Damien Donnelly compared today’s heroes with the men who lost their lives defending freedom in previous generations; his alliterative work highlighted what constitutes heroism in our society now, the blurring of the lines between angels and demons, not having the time to lament.

During “the days of the duds, celebrity [is] the sought-after salvation.”

Damien’s site is here.

Jessica Traynor’s work featured the themes of bodily autonomy, immigration and rebirth. “Tender Butchery” suggests an ambiguity and perhaps draws on the satire of Jonathan Swift. The poem is itself deeply personal and seems to gently accuse the reader of a kind of voyeurism. The final poem was about Rosa Luxembourg, whose spirit, Traynor explains before beginning her piece, could not be extinguished. Fire and the phoenix are among the images in this poem.

Catherine Ann Cullen’s first poem Triskele to a symbol prominent since ancient times in many cultures. Cullen’s second poem is about a woman who has made her home on the banks of a canal, and is told she is being evicted as she is trespassing. In another, a spike is placed in front of the entrance to an office building to prevent homeless squatting on the doorstep. The works here are charged with the mundane, the metaphorical and the mythological.

Eilín de Paor’s first poem featured constellations used for orientation, and its theme was potential. Another poem, An Dochtúir, is about an old man who has lost his ability to dance due to infirmity, “dancing days gone”, the subject apparently, perhaps, watching television. A poem about new life came next, and a firstborn baby’s birth.

Maeve O’Sullivan visited India, which inspired her first poem, about the Taj Mahal. The “Mughal emperor built this to commemorate his favourite wife” but as with a building of lesser size near the landmark monument, we find a dedication within O’Sullivan’s work for another of the emperor’s (less favoured) women. The haiku sequence comprises a series of images that appear disjointed, but may have a unified theme. In another piece, an effort was made to palm off her clutter to a sculptor cousin, who insisted he already had too many objets d’arts.

Bateman continues to find remarkable talent – and some very big names within the literary community – for these events. More of this kind of thing from him. Follow Kevin Bateman on Twitter and Periscope.