Pick-Me-Up Poetry and Prose ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 271

The Book Centre, Waterford
The Waterford Book Centre

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.

Waterford Actress, Lynda Gough, reading Selections
Waterford Actress, Lynda Gough, reading 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?

Wishing Bubbles ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 269

This was a World Mental Health Day with a difference in Waterford today!  The Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing  is running here all week with a host of different events being organised through a partnership between Garter Lane Arts Centre  and Waterford Healing Arts Trust.  

The Wishing Bubble Project which was the brainchild of artist Brigid Teehan was specially arranged for Mental Health Day because of the extent to which blowing bubbles  is so cathartic  and holds one in the moment.

Brigid Teehan
Brigid Teehan

It’s a while since I blew bubbles, and I certainly never did it as an adult in the middle of Waterford City in front of a crowd of strangers,  but it certainly brought me into a zone of total relaxation!

How did you celebrate World Mental Health Day? I hope it was as happy as mine!