A Word in Your Ear…Man Booker

I have been practicing my baking skills in preparation for A Word in Your Ear, A Poetry Party I am organising in Cavan to celebrate National Poetry Day this Thursday 7 May.

This bank holiday weekend I baked a delicious banana and fruit loaf…I hope I can repeat the feat later in the week to go with the ginger cake ,flour-less  chocolate cake, orange curd buns and ginger biscuits planned. Cakes are a good party piece, but there will also be hundreds of poems for people to peruse and take away. I have downloaded and photocopied poems from Poetry Ireland. I have poems from the Poem for Ireland shortlist, and a selection from Poems That Make Grown Men Cry. I also have adorable postcard poems for people. All I have to do now is to choose which of my poems I will read (and of course do the baking). So come along Thursday 7 May at 6.30pm to the Front Room in the Cavan Town Hall for Cavan’s first poetry party! Bring a cushion,your own poem, if you wish,  more cakes, wine…what every you’re having yourself. Hope to see you there!

Aside from baking, I’ve enjoyed a  quiet Mayday weekend  writing, watching Madeline on Netflix, and stashing huge logs on the fire. For the past few weeks I have been intertwining Ann Tyler, The Accidental Tourist and The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgarov….two very different writers writing on similar subjects. Ann Tyler writes on the dysfunctional family, and  Bulgarov about dysfunctional society. ‘The Master’ is flamboyant,  colourful, and mad. It’s a magical look at squalor, immorality, decay, portraying the Devil with flare and sensitivity in contrast to the indignity of human behaviour. Ann Tyler’s books are filled with awkward reality. They complemented each other well, but suddenly, I felt in need of something different. But what?

Then it occurred to me. What has happened to the Man Booker Prize? Isn’t this the time of year that I peruse the short list and choose which authors I will read? So I go online to check, and yea, it is is the time of year! I go down the list and don’t recognise any of the authors. They are all south or central American, African, Lebanese, one North American. Maybe this is why I haven’t heard. I start searching Amazon for the three women on the short list I have chosen to read, Hoda Barakat, Marlene Van Niekerk and Maryse Conde, but they are not available, or at least, not the English translations of the books mentioned. I will order them from my bookshop. I did download ‘Victoire’ by Maryse Conde. It is a biography on her grandmother raised in Guatemala. I am enjoying it. Guatemala is not a region I know much about. I wondered if the lack of a European/Irish/English presence on the list had led to the silence that has surrounded the Man Booker. If it that is the reason, it is a sad reflection on the Irish and English reviewers. I am looking forward to discovering more about these authors.

Anyway, after two days of rain, the sun is shining in Cavan. So I must arise and shift this dog, Poppins from the end of my bed, and get her out for a walk. Happy May Day celebrations.

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