Thursday, April 24, 2008

vienna lit fest 2008 - day 2

no time for anything, so no time for blogging, but here is day 2 of the lit fest:

julia had asked me to pick up british poet rommi smith at one of the train stations and take her to the lunch reception for us vienna lit VIPs. *g* the reception was at josephine's house in the 19th district - very beautiful part of the city. it was lovely to talk with rommi on the way there - about her workshop at a school, about poetry, about life.

at the reception i met clare murphy and joe brennan, two irish storytellers who liz gallagher put me - or rather julia, the director - in touch with. they are such lovely people, and great fun, too. i bumped into nigerian poet charles ofoedu there for the first time in over ten years - he used to be good friends with my friend tom. i met mehru jaffer, gabriele pötscher (who co-wrote two books with an old acquaintance of mine, walter hölbling), bruce holland rogers, our host josephine, and brian patten and sylvia petter were there, too. great food, interesting discussions, a lot of laughter, and some sunshine - not a bad friday afternoon!

clare murphy going all jackie o. and joe brennan pretending not to care

at the reception: sylvia petter, brian patten, gabriele pötscher, brian's partner linda, charles ofoedu, bruce holland rogers

i was at the venue, ratpack, at 6, in time for the school slam. students between 14 and 18 had responded to a poem by jackie kay, and the final 18 presented their work on stage at ratpack and a jury of three women, including jackie kay herself, chose a winner and two runners-up (and, as it were, one HM). you've really got to admire those young people - i don't think i could have read an english poem to an audience of 100+ at that age! i would have been way too nervous, and anyway, what few poems i had written at the time, well, they were not exactly great. :)

school slam winner!

after the slam, bruce holland rogers from the united states read some of his short short stories. i particularly enjoyed one called egypt, which was rather funny.

next up was one of the events i had really been looking forward to: clare murphy and joe brennan, the two irish storytellers. they were fantastic. i don't think there was anyone in the audience who was not spellbound. people were listening and watching open-mouthed.

joe's frog story was great fun, the audience was asked to join in, and i just loved how that seemed to bring out the child in so many! do visit joe's website.

joe brennan in action

i loved the long story that clare told, an irish tale. do go and check clare out on youtube and stop by her myspace site.

clare murphy, storyteller extraordinaire

happy clare and happy joe after their performances

gabriele pötscher (graz-based american) and walter hölbling (graz-based austrian) read from their two collections of poetry, one of which i had read some years ago. i particularly enjoyed gabriele's tongue-in-cheek and sassy poems. it was also great to finally meet walter after so many years of corresponding online.

julia had asked me to read my poem how to survive in vienna, the poem published in the vienna views anthology in 2006, at the open mic. i was the second or third reader at the open mic and read the requested poem as well as a vienna-themed poem from small confessions & pebbles of regret. i got immediate reactions there - people smiling, chuckling, etc - and quite a bit of applause!

i would have stayed longer, but clare and joe asked me to join them for food and drinks, so i left, together with the storytellers, harold, a couple of vienna lit girls and georg in his kilt. we had a great time, and clare seemed to come to life again after having eaten more than two grown men ... *g*

i got home very late, but happy and feeling, well, YAY!! :)

day 3 to follow - pictures ditto.

song of the day: westwards we're headed by lucky jim.


Merc said...

Clare ate more than two grown men? No wonder she tells such tall tales!

Liz said...

Hey Michi, love the rundown on Clair and Joe...hope I can get to hear them sometime.


Anonymous said...

The two grown men were conveniently packaged as an oversized pizza...what can I say? Storytelling gives me an appetite! C