The launch of Anne Casey’s ‘out of emptied cups’ sparkled with breathtaking poetry and poignant melodies; Anne’s reading was complimented by the musical interludes of Three Women Sing and the combined effect was mesmerizing. I bought a copy of the book before taking my seat, in order to ensure an enhanced read-along experience.
Following a few words of welcome from Salmon Poetry’s Jessie Lendennie, the crowd was warmed up by Eleanor Hooker’s effusive introduction, which can be read in full here. Anne started by reading the first poem in her book, ‘out of a thousand cups’, an imagining of the body as a cup, with the voice wondering what might have happened if another cup or ‘tiny egg’ had been chosen to hold her essence – a fascinating thought.
‘Observance’ was Anne’s subsequent choice, providing a glimpse into the next life and a realisation of the precious present. Moving on, Anne’s rendition of the striking ‘if I were to tell you’, rippled with emotion. For me, this poem feels like a life path and has an illuminating effect with its see-saw insights of language.
‘Wildness’ was another highlight, placing animal features on a human frame, suggesting that a body’s full potential might not be realised until it sheds to release the soul within.
Anne’s concluding poem ‘All Souls’ is astonishing in its sweeping delivery of landscape, Anne’s own lost mother and all the lost mothers and babies that endured the horror of Irish Mother and Baby Homes. But the culminating references to ‘hearts’ and ‘heavens’ suggest an awaiting peace for those who have suffered, leaving the collection on a hopeful note.
After the reading, I decided to purchase Anne’s debut poetry collection, ‘where the lost things go’, as you can never read too much good poetry! I excitedly queued up to get my books signed, looking forward to finally meeting a person who seemed to be a kindred spirit, (Anne and I have been communicating on Twitter and sharing each other’s work for some time now). I was not disappointed – as I introduced myself, Anne’s face lit up and she gathered me into an enormous hug, thanking me for my support. I think I’ve made a friend for life . . .
‘out of emptied cups’ is available to buy from the Salmon Poetry Bookshop.
Photo by George Moore.