Sea Batteries: Poetry & Music at ILFDublin

"I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea. I think it is because, in addition to the fact that the sea changes and the light changes and ships change, we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came." - John F. Kennedy, 1962 .

The horizon offers the islander the possibility of escape; the waves a reminder of how fragile humans are next to the force of the ocean. Global warming is a major looming crisis of our time, and Sea Batteries asks what must we do to face it?

As part of the 2019 International Literature Festival Dublin (ILF), I’ll be featured onstage in Dublin’s Smock Alley Theatre alongside musician/composer Brian O’Brien, and Justin McCann. I’ll be reciting my poems set to music, with the recurring theme being that of the ocean and Ireland's role and legacy as an island. The music is composed in the style of Irish traditional music, with elements of contemporary classical, the music features uilleann pipes, flute and piano.

The poems will range thematically from the exploits of the first settlers on Irish shores through to to Celtic monks right up to the contemporary plights of S&R operatives and the imminent effects of climate change on our coastline.

The show's named 'Sea Batteries' after a poem I wrote in 2015 in honour of the men who built the granite piers at Dun Laoghaire. The title's a double reference: firstly to the phrase 'assault and battery', which certainly comes to my mind whenever I see waves crashing off the shore; and secondly to the fact that the East and West Piers are referred to as 'batteries' - meaning they served as military fortifications as well as a safe harbour during their long history. The poem after which the show is named was originally in 2015 in the Henessey New Irish Writing page of Irish Times .

More updates to follow.