27 February, 2007


Tuesday morning, February 27

The bus is leaving for Cork in twenty minutes, and I am going to let it go without me. I’m not on the program tonight, and while Cork was my favorite stop last time around, I’m feeling the need for a time out.

Things kicked off yesterday with a meet and greet at Waterford City Hall. The usual formalities from the usual dignitaries, enlivened by the occasional spark off a live wire. I read Dad’s poem, Rites of Passage, which appears at the front of the new anthology. It’s not a piece I was familiar with, but I enjoyed reading it. I told somebody yesterday that I have put a lot of miles and a lot of years between myself and my father’s name— for this week, I am going to give myself permission to lean into it. For the Dome reading, I lead with another poem of his, A River Runs Through Her. Then four of my own: Launch, Jars of Clay, Vertigo and Catching Up to Her At Last.

There were ten performances in all. Everybody was great, but the energy of the second half ran especially high, starting with poems from Michael Crummey and finishing with Ron Hynes, who brought the house down with “Sonny’s Dream” and “Dublin with Love”. Joel Hynes was also electrifying.

We had a mad bus ride back to the hotel pub. Imagine fifty or so Irish and Newfoundland writers, musicians and entourage barreling down the twisting road together. It was the Mad Hatter’s tea party on wheels. In fact, when Patrick and I were debating over breakfast the pros and cons of heading to Cork today, the thought of a two-hour or longer reprise of last night’s commute was a moment for serious second thought! Fifteen minutes was a great bit of craic. Fifteen minutes more would probably have me hitching it on the side of the road.

Back at the pub, a music session got underway. I felt about six years old, wanting to stay awake for the music so badly, but falling out of my chair with sleepiness. My coach was about to turn into a pumpkin. I called it a night, and was glad for it this morning. The crowd went on well into the wee hours. I heard they even hauled out “Danny Boy” in the end, which you know is the beginning of a downward spiral.

At that point, “even Des went to bed,” someone reported. Far gone, for sure.

Monday, February 26

This is my fourth day in Ireland, the first day of the official program. It seems like I’ve been here a month already. We took the coach from our B&B to Dublin airport yesterday morning to meet the Newfoundland contingent, who launched the tour in Toronto on Friday night. When their flight came in, it was like the clown car act in the circus, or maybe The 35 People you Meet in Heaven. One familiar face after the other.

We were herded onto a charter bus for the drive to Waterford, where we will be based for the next several days, traveling out into the countryside to various performance venues, which range from concert halls to pubs. It is an eclectic group, as the March Hare roster has always been. The program features the famous, the almost-famous, the infamous and the as-yet unknown. There is a film crew and a radio reporter. And then there are those who are simply along for the ride.

I am so glad that Patrick is here. It was overwhelming on the bus, where my father’s name seemed to be everyone’s every other word. The printed program acknowledges him very beautifully, and the March Hare Anthology, hot off the press, is full of tributes to him as well. I was glad to have my husband’s shoulder to hide out in when I needed to. Also his elbow to nudge me later at the pub when it was time to call it a night. In our daily lives I am generally the activity director, but here, where I need to be free to float in the creative current, it is nice to let him do the “driving”. I have been referring to him as my handler. You'd have to know us to appreciate the irony. Consider the tiger, and its tail.

We did get good rest in Dublin, but last night I tossed and turned in our new hotel bed, and am feeling pretty fuzzy right now. I have to figure out what I am reading tonight, and I’m finding it hard to focus. There has been a tug of war going on my soul between the mother and the poet. The mother is finding it hard to turn it over.

The sun has broken through. Maybe I’ll go for a walk along the quay.

01 February, 2007


My Irish itinerary was faxed to me this afternoon. Here is where and when I am scheduled to read:
26 February, 8 p.m., Waterford Dome
28 February, 8 p.m., Mooney's, An Rinn
03 March, 8 p.m., The Bailey, Enniscorthy
05 March, 8 p.m., Purty Loft, Dun Laoghaire

These are four out of eighteen stops on the March Hare 2007 tour, which begins in Toronto at the Brass Taps on February 23 at 8 p.m. (I'm told to tell you to book early), and ends in Corner Brook, Newfoundland on March 11. I will just be on board for the Irish segment. Hopefully I will have learned how to pronounce the above place names by then.

I will be bringing the iBook and camera, and am planning to post tour highlights here. But if you happen to be in or near any of those neighbourhoods, I hope you will drop by in person.