interiors large Painting

rendezvous at noon & ten years of book lovin’

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rendezvous at noon

A dark but still colorful one. The scene is a little corner of the lounge at The Ritz Carlton at Powerscourt.

Rendezvous at noon 24×24 inches, oil on stretched canvas

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ten years of book lovin’

Every month or so for the last ten years, ten or so friends of mine meet to talk books and drink wine. We choose mostly fiction, some of my favorites over the years have been,

  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Master by Colm Toibin
  • What I loved by Siri Hustivedt
  • The Quiet Girl by Peter Hoeg
  • A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
  • Kartography by Kamila Shamsie
  • Life of Pye by Yann Martel
  • Waltzing Through Flaws by Paula Sharp

We take turns to choose a book and bring the edible goodies and it’s my turn this month. I’d forgotten how terrifying choosing a book for this group can be (them all having such good taste an’ all). In the end I have decided to go maverick for this the first month of our next decade and I’ve chosen a book of poetry (not strictly allowed but hey we like to live dangerously).

It’s an anthology of some 200 poems called Soundings, hastily arranged in 1969, for the secondary school syllabus here in Ireland but which remained there until 2000.

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Of it’s time, we must forgive it for holding only one living poet and one female poet however it is one of the few textbooks in Ireland that has achieved almost legendary status. The fact is that the tattered tome often elicited strong emotions and anyone who had to study it remembers Soundings. So much so that people still root through attics all over the country just to pick it up again and peer at the hastily scrawled notes around the edges of poems like Sailing to Byzantium by WB Yeats and The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock by TS Eliot.

This year someone came up with the bright idea of dusting it off and republishing it. I think it says only good things about us that the anthology reached number one on the Irish bestseller list over Christmas.

For those of us in the group who were schooled here it will hopefully offer a fond trip down (a literary) memory lane and it will give us all a chance to read some of the most moving, beautiful, important and sometimes strange poetry of the last 200 years.

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