The Sunflower Sessions Open Mic

On the last Wednesday of each month for the past fifteen years(!) The Sunflower Sessions has been offering an open mic to the poets of Dublin. I showed up at the Lord Edward Pub, a cute rickety old pub in the center of town which serves as their current venue, and was lucky to make the lineup.

Poetry open mics can be entertaining, though-provoking, dull as a pile of slugs and frequently all three in the same night. The Sunflower Sessions, however, had the most consistently excellent performances and poetry of any open mic I’ve attended. Usually there’ll be some poets who are still learning how to read poetry in public and there’ll be some poets who probably shouldn’t be reading their poetry public but not at this open mic. There must be something in the waters of the River Liffey flowing through this ancient city. The two hours just flew by.

I was in the last set of readers and will admit to being a little nervous as an American trying to impress the Irish with his poetry but am proud to report that they laughed in all the right places and applauded approvingly so I count the night a success.

For the record, I read Practice Fire, Limitless and the poem I’d written the day before, Goals.

When planning your next trip to Dublin, I strongly recommend scheduling so you’ll be here for the last Wednesday of the month just so you can attend The Sunflower Sessions.

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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20 Responses to The Sunflower Sessions Open Mic

  1. trE says:

    It sounds like you had an incredible time there, and I am glad that’s the case!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cassa Bassa says:

    It’s lovely to see the folks keep the poetry tradition and culture going.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So fun Bart. It’s like we’re along with you. You should check out the O’Shea’s Merchant. They have great trad music and food and dancing. I spent my first four days there and loved it. Right on the LIffey.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julydase says:

    I envy you—the trip and the poetry reading. I’m one of those who shouldn’t read poetry for an audience. I sound like a hillbilly—which I am.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nothing wrong with sounding like a hillbilly. You can play to that in your performance and poetry.

      Liked by 1 person

    • berniebell1955 says:

      There’s ‘nowt wrong wi’ being a Hillbilly. Accents and ways of speaking can enhance recitation. Consider Robert Burns…

      To a Mouse
      On Turning her up in her Nest, with the Plough, November 1785.

      Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
      O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
      Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
      Wi’ bickerin brattle!
      I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee
      Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

      I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
      Has broken Nature’s social union,
      An’ justifies that ill opinion,
      Which makes thee startle,
      At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
      An’ fellow-mortal!

      I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
      What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
      A daimen-icker in a thrave
      ’S a sma’ request:
      I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
      An’ never miss ’t!

      Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
      It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
      An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
      O’ foggage green!
      An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
      Baith snell an’ keen!

      Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
      An’ weary Winter comin fast,
      An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
      Thou thought to dwell,
      Till crash! the cruel coulter past
      Out thro’ thy cell.

      That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble
      Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
      Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
      But house or hald,
      To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,
      An’ cranreuch cauld!

      But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
      In proving foresight may be vain:
      The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
      Gang aft agley,
      An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
      For promis’d joy!

      Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
      The present only toucheth thee:
      But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
      On prospects drear!
      An’ forward tho’ I canna see,
      I guess an’ fear!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. r.Douglas says:

    I wish to hell, I could go there and see that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. JeanMarie says:

    Sounds like a great night.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. berniebell1955 says:

    There is something in the Liffey water – my Dad drank Guinness in Ireland, wouldn’t touch it in England.

    ‘Limitless’ – oh yes.

    Liked by 1 person

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