Prose on a Bed of Rhyme

Rathmines Writers 21st 1

The room is packed. There is only standing room left. All the seats are taken. Drinks are offered and accepted. The vibe is friendly and warm. The noise and buzz of the chatter is infectious.
This is the Rathmines Writers group. They are launching their latest book ‘Prose on a Bed of Rhyme’. It contains writings by 58 affiliates of Rathmines Writers. They held fundraising events such as Open Mic Night to finance the publication and Dublin City Council, in particular Councillor Mary Freehill also assisted them with obtaining funding.

In conjunction with the launch, many writers were presented with certificate awards. John J Kelly won first prize for ‘Up the Moyne (for rhubarb)’. Mary Rose Kiernan was the runner up for ‘The Clothesline’. Jennifer Russell received third prize for ‘Weather proofed’. They were chosen from 125 entrants. The winners read their work for the ensemble. Laurence Foster, from RTE’s Radio Drama Department edited the “new and recollected writing by Rathmines Writers” which is in celebration of their 21st anniversary. Foster commends the group for their “economy of language and subtle word-play”, which results in “powerful, poignant imagery”.

In 1993 the group launched their first collection entitled ‘Extended Wings 1‘. This latest book is the group’s 23rd book, a remarkable accomplishment. Swan Press, with whom Rathmines Writers has a long association, published the collected works. ‘Prose on a Bed of Rhyme’ is a collection of poems and prose. The poetry sections are themed under the topics of Elements, Nature, Remembrance, Reflections, Solitude, Homage and Humour and the Prize Winning Poems. Rachel-Rose O’Leary painted and designed the book cover. The literature offers the reader divergent views on contemporary life in Ireland, such as being inside a prison cell or in the queue at the bank or buying a suit. Listening to the readings, we are mentally transported to alternative worlds. The group has dedicated this collection to Mary Guckian because “she brings the quietude of the country to a world peppered with hustle”. Mary is well known to us at NewsFour, as she has frequently contributed to our Poetry Place, as have other members of the set.

Rathmines Writers group started in 1990 and is thriving today. Many of the original members continue to attend and they have new blood joining all the time. If you were interested in joining, you would be very welcome. They meet each week for poetry workshops and once a month for prose workshops. Some participants attend either the poetry or the prose meetings, though many attend both sessions. The workshops follow the format of a critique. To clarify, this entails reading your text aloud and then the group discussing it, offering recommendations and advice. All the members agree that such feedback from their peers is invaluable and they find it very encouraging. Many friendships have blossomed from the meet-ups.

The anthology is priced at €10 and is available from Hanna Books (Rathmines), Books on the Green (Sandymount village), The Winding Stairs (just over the Ha’penny Bridge) and Books Upstairs (opposite Trinity College) or by contacting Mary Guckian directly on 087 6216635.

By Tracy O’Brien