Yes But Are We Enemies? diary #4 - Cork

Time is bending, feeling like a lot longer than less than a week since we were in Belfast, and writing about things that have happened a day ago while doing things I'll write about in a day. Cork was perhaps the highlight of the tour so far. A city without anything overbearing it but itself, that is it felt like a real city, a fully one rounded one, and Billy's hometown. Again I was driven to Cork, passing the magical Bunratty and Ballygibbon, while Billy and I chatted about Ireland and Irish things, amongst poetry discussion. I got to see where he grew up, got to really about Cork before I explored it myself. We stayed by the University, and it was freshers week, but also near Fitzgerald park and the beautiful hidden riverpaths that lead East out of the city. The city was perfectly lovely, though I was stared at relentlessly. Long, strange, intent stares. Not sure why.The reading itself was a grand success. The venue, in the Triskel arts centre, was packed, 50 seated, at least another 20 standing. It really felt as if Cork's poetry scene was highly developed, full of festivals, visiting poets, an active community. It was lively discussions preceding the readings, and getting to meet Paul Casey, Afric McGlinchey, Doireann Ni Ghriofa, Sarah Hayden, Rachel Warriner beforehand, I realised they all organised readings, had their own presses, taught in schools, translated between languages and so forth. It felt much more like a Camarade event in London with each pair bringing an openness, a volume and an individuality that some other readings can't achieve because they feel like the first time the poets have been given the chance to collaborate and communicate in this way. Not so in Cork, all the 7 pairs delivered with a palpable sense of enthusiasm that spread through the attentive audience. Sarah Hayden & Rachel Warriner
Doireann Ni Ghriofa & Cal Doyle
Eleanor Hooker & Sarah Hesketh
Paul Casey & Afric McGlinchey
Christodoulos Makris & Sam Riviere
Billy Ramsell & Patrick Coyle