Cheese and whisk(e)y

December 9, 2009

On Thursday last week we had the great good pleasure of welcoming Bernard MacLaverty to the library for an evening of raconteuring, whisk(e)y (it was Ireland’s finest Jameson’s, truth be told), oatcakes and cheese. He spoke loosely about his journey through poetry, and what poetry has meant to him, in the context of his life as a student, lab technician, teacher and writer. It was particularly insightful to hear him talking about his involvement with ‘The Group‘, Philip Hobsbaum‘s writing sessions which nurtured the talents of some of the greatest Irish writers operating today. Especially lovely to hear of the ‘school kid’ who turned up with a big mop of hair and poems to die for – Paul Muldoon, no less!

Here are the poems Bernard chose as the landmarks in his life.

Gerald Manley Hopkins – ‘As kingfishers catch fire
W B Yeats – ‘Memory’
Seamus Heaney – ‘Bye-Child’
Michael Longley  – ‘The Amish Rug’
Paul Muldoon –  ‘The  Sightseers’
Emily Dickinson – ‘Because I could not stop for Death’ | ‘None be missing’
Elizabeth Bishop –  ‘Manners’
Norman MacCaig – ‘Ringed Plover by a water’s edge’
Iain Crichton Smith – ‘Two girls singing’
Edwin Morgan – ‘Midge’
Don Paterson – ‘Waking with Russell’
Kahtleen Jamie –  ‘The Wishing Tree’
Derek Mahon – ‘A Disused shed in Co. Wexford’

And above is a gratuitous photo of the cheese flags I handcrafted from toothpicks and labels. Orkney Cheddar, or cheese from Arran, anyone?

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