As someone who has lived in Cork for the past three years, I am a little shy in admitting that I had never been to the Triskel Arts Centre before going to the poetry reading entitled “Yes But Are We Enemies”. However, this poetry reading changed my attitudes and I will definitely be attending more events like it in the future.The Enemies project is a collaboration initiative, designed to bring artists of different styles, cultures, content and ideals together to create diverse work, which somehow seems to complement its counterparts. The Enemies project extends to other disciplines such as photography and music, and has featured over 200 artists, poets, musicians and photographers since the founding of the initiative in 2013. Yes ,but are we enemies is the Irish contingent of what is fast becoming an international collaborative movement, and so it is very exciting to see Cork playing a key role in this debut Irish tour. At the Triskel we saw this collaboration style in the form of paired poetry in which two poets, some local and some travelling with the Enemies project, co-wrote and read a shared poem. It’s an interesting technique as it allows for more than one aspect and multiple sets of emotions to be explored within a poem. As a result of including more people into the creative process, poets benefit from including more people in the audience of the poem. The overall aim of the evening was to encourage us as observers to question how we read and listen to poetry, and to ultimately have our attitudes towards poetry, especially paired poetry, changed.
Throughout the night, seven pairs of collaborative poets read their combined work to a small overcrowded room in the Triskel. It was also reassuring to see UCC students who were invited, in their own right, to partake in the reading. Sarah Hayden and Rachel Warriner opened the festivities with a poem about body image. At points, both poets read the same lines of the poem, which created a ghostly aspect to the poem, which suited the tone of being haunted by one’s own body image and the ideals of what we should look like. Cal Doyle and Doireann Ní Ghríofa took a different approach with their poem, as Doireann described the physical landscape of Cork City, Cal gave an account was more hard core (which included several profanities, which lead me to question the suitability for the child sitting beside me). More organic performances followed from the pairs of Paul Casey with Afric McGlinchey, Ailbhe Darcy with Enemies co-curator SJ Fowler, and Sam Riviere with Enemies co-curator Christodoulos Makris. I personally didn’t think that the other two pairs, Eleanor Hooker with Sarah Hesketh and Billy Ramsell with Patrick Coyle, worked very well together. These poets read their individual poetry rather than reading poetry together, which I thought was the purpose of the evening.
Overall, I had a very enjoyable time at the Triskel Arts Centre. From now on I will not overlook what it has to offer when I’m looking for something to do, and I strongly encourage you to do the same.