Only Connect (Paperback)
Beir Bua Press is honoured to be part of bringing a local anthology to print, this anthology is a creative product of the very first lockdown, from March to June 2020 and their Zoom sessions lead by Margaret O'Brien. Introduction The open mic, Poetry Plus, has been meeting monthly in Brewery Lane Theatre, Carrick-on-Suir for almost ten years. Month after month, from September through June, writers and readers from across the region came down the lane, entered through the kiln area and into the tearoom at the back of the little theatre. This room was transformed into a caf -like atmosphere for the night, with small tables, lamps in bottles, even strings of fairy lights. Everyone sat at the small tables as they arrived, chatted and caught up with each other's happenings month on month, as I went around taking down names for reading. Regulars were a very friendly bunch and newcomers were always especially welcomed and supported. At halftime we shared tea and biscuits, sometimes cake, but always the chat and the craic. I've often thought that this was the most important part of the night. Every April, during the annual Brewery Lane Writers' Weekend, Poetry Plus expanded beyond the region and we welcomed visiting writers from all around Ireland and overseas for even more chat and craic. For a long time I believed that my thought-up in haste name for this open mic, Poetry Plus, meant that I welcomed readings of short prose as well as poetry. It did, of course, mean that but in more recent times I've come to understand the 'Plus' to mean friendship, because so many friendships took root and blossomed in the tearoom over the years. This event was never supported by funding from any public body, everyone who came contributed a few Euro towards the refreshments and for heating and lighting. The support came from the committee of Brewery Lane Theatre and from everyone who participated. For that I am always grateful. Then in March 2020 everything changed, COVID-19 had arrived. I deferred the 2020 April Writers' Weekend and migrated the scheduled Poetry Plus for 20th March onto the Zoom virtual platform, unsure if anyone would follow me there. Would technology be a barrier? Was I ever in for a surprise. On the first night the joke was on me. For some reason my mic wouldn't work (until the final minutes) and Linda Fahy capably took over as host.