Appreciations to Donny O’ Rourke, for a great evening (and thanks to Jennifer Williams of the Scottish Poetry Libary, for taking care of us at her lovely Edinburgh venue – thanks also to our small but perfectly formed audience!).
Donny took us on an extraordinarily self-deprecating path through his distinguished career, even to the extent of reading a few of what he now regards as his worst poems (by way of personal atonement for the bluster of youth). Despite his protestations, however, we were moved by his poem telling of his protestant ancestor Frank Quigg risking community rejection in marrying a catholic woman at Ballintoy church in Antrim.
By all accounts, a night with Donny never passes without a resort to singing and we were indeed treated to the vocal fruits of some his collaborations with folk singers – notably the youthful Swiss band ‘Morgan’ (for whom he penned ‘Café Europa’). Donny had much valuable wisdom to impart, including the three most important tips for writing success (in no particular order):
“I like a little alliteration a lot, but I like a lot of alliteration little”, he scolded himself. Donny claims to be a graduate of the University of LSE (Low Self Esteem), and a reluctant expert in ‘Shy Showing Off’. A complex and surprisingly multifaceted individual, with a lot to offer as a performer and as a teacher, Donny gave us a memorable evening whose enduring message, perhaps, was the necessity of constant hard work and self-criticism in order to nurture the inner flame of talent.