We haven’t had an Earthquake Lately … Looking at the Bright Side through Poetry and Prose was THE event of the WELL Festival of Arts and Wellbeing in Waterford that I earmarked the minute I laid eyes on the programme.
The Waterford Healing Arts Trust http://www.waterfordhealingarts.com/, one of the partners in Festival, had invited the public to submit their ‘pick-me-up pieces of poetry and prose’ and last night brought a sharing of a diverse selection of those choices at the perfect venue ~ The Waterford Book Centre.
I was absolutely intrigued to find out what poems and prose would be submitted and I am still pretty stunned, in a very thought-provoking way, by the 25 selections.
More than anything what came across was the extent to which people interpret poems and prose differently and personality, context, individual histories and experiences emerged as being really important elements in the choices.
So, let me tell you that the selections, some read by actress Linda Gough and others by the choosers themselves, ranged from well-loved Irish poems, like Old Woman of the Roads by Padraic Colum http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/old-woman-of-the-roads/ to work of well-known international poets like Christina Rossetti, John Masefield, Dylan Thomas, William Blake, Pablo Neruda, and Jenny Joseph’s Warning http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/warning/ …..
Oh there were just so many wonderful contributions and how I wish I could include them all! One woman read from her favourite book from childhood, But Not The Hippopotamus by Susan Boynton; another man read on of his own poems called Memory Days, which recalled his bachelor partying days in Dublin; and yet another reading came from a short story about fly fishing in Western Montana by Norman McClean.
One of the biggest surprises was one woman’s choice of an extract from J.D.Salinger’s Franny and Zooey, a book which she associated very closely with the decade after she had left home when she was eighteen years old.
The great thing about last night’s event was that it was a sharing of both familiar and unfamiliar works. However, it challenged one to re-visit the familiar through new eyes and indeed to re-assess one’s preconceived ideas about the word ‘uplifting.’
I’m just glad I don’t have to pick a favourite! What do you think you would have submitted?