This week has seen a couple of notable successes for creative community initiativessupported by The Bogman’s Cannon and many others.

Last night the inaugaural Double Shot poetry reading at the new Books Upstairs was very well-attended and turned out to be a great kick-off for the series.

A cafe upstairs from an independent bookshop like Books Upstairs on D’Olier Street is the ideal place for a poetry reading. We had a very relaxed but also very alert in-the-round kind of atmosphere, and each of the readers rose to the occassion.

The poets were Kate Quiqley, Jessica Traynor, and Graham Allen. We asked them to read because we believe in their work and want to contribute towards building a sustainable audience for it.

Afterwards Graham Allen said ‘the atmosphere of a supportive, engaged community of listeners, rather than the common and far too pious ‘church atmosphere’ I’ve experienced at many poetry readings was a very good experience I’d like to repeat on a regular basis. I’d even think of coming up from the home of poetry in Cork on another occassion, and that is a big compliment’.

We charged a fiver entry to cover costs for keeping the cafe and bookstore open, and a glass of wine or two for everyone who came. We have a few bob left over to help with expenses for the next reading which will be Cal Doyle and Eleanor Hooker, plus special guest to be announced, on March the 18th at 7pm sharp.

Please support all of the Double Shot readers in any way that you can. If you read or hear one of their poems and you like it, why not send them an e-mail telling them so? Something like that might be worth a hundred good reviews.

We approached the Books Upstairs as partners for the series as we think it is the leading independent bookstore in Dublin, is a constant support to literary writers, and it is undoubtedly the best stockist of poetry and related criticism and ideas in Ireland. Please support it and independent writing as a whole by dropping by the next time you are book-hunting in Dublin City Centre.

Even better news we think is that Brave New Voices, the project to send a team of young irish poets to the international youth poetry gathering in Atlanta this July has reached, indeed exceeded, it’s initial funding target of 5000 euro.

Speaking at the Double Shot reading last night, where we announced the great news to much applause, Stephen Murray, the project organiser and Ireland’s leading secondary school poetry educator said ‘We had over 100 individual funders, the majority drawn from among poets and poetry readers and listeners. This is a huge boost to the young irish talent involved, who I know will be inspired by such community support to go on and create some brilliant poetry to show off in Atlanta and make us all proud and glad to have given them the backing when they asked for it”

The Bogman’s Cannon would like to draw attention to the important fact that these were both successes built on mutual support and voluntary sharing of resources, without any kind of institutional involvement or support.

We think creative community and independent initiative alongside absolute and unconditional artistic freedom is the way forward for the arts in Ireland.

If you have an idea for an event or a project, don’t wait for anyone’s approval, anyone’s tick, anyone’s nod, anyone’s tickle, or anyone’s wink from on high – just go for it.

You’d be surprised how much community support there is out there for art and events thatinvolve and inspire rather than exclude and demoralise.

Let a thousand flowers bloom. If you build it they will come.

PS – votes are now flying in for The Bogman’s Cannon Irish People’s Poetry Prize 2015, and it’s very close, with 6 out of the 12 poets still in with a chance of winning. Plans for the 2016 prize are at an advanced stage – one thing we have decided is that next year we will have at least 500 judges. More on all that at another date.