Dave Lordan: You’ve just put out ‘A Sacrament of Song’ with Kit Fryatt’s Wurm Press. It’s a brilliantly uplifting chapbook. Tell us a bit about it?
Karl Parkinson: Well, firstly, I’m very happy that Wurm have done this for me. I’d like to think that it is uplifting and as the title suggests, can be’taken’ as sacrament by the reader and change them on some small but profound way. I decided to keep any longer poems back from it and make it have that instant punchy impact. I’m happy with the way it’s turned out.
I don’t blame you. It’s one of the best chapbooks I have read in ages. And it does have that punchiness. How much of your ability to communicate so directly and so wittily with the reader is down to your experience on the Dublin spoken word scene?
I would say that the vast experience of performing/reading in front of a crowd, a lot of the time a drunken crowd, makes you learn how to grab the attention of somebody and keep them with you and all of the poems in the book have been in a way edited by the spoken word scene, from feedback and reactions.
How would you say the Dublin Spoken word scene has changed and evolved since you first got involved with it?
Greatly, I remember about 3 years ago when I was making my way into it and there was only really one or two places to read, like Naked Lunch run by Mike Igoe,(where I first met you)
Now you have The glor and Brown Breadmix tape, 7towers, Nighthawks, Tongue box, Wurm in apple etc, There’s a real community of writers/performers and a healthy competion for ‘the best night out’ but a great camaraderee between people also. I would go as far as to say that something speclal is happening and we will see this scene breakthrough in the next few years.
Do you have much of a following among your neighbours in innerc city dublin, where you’re from?
And how can we continue to make poetry, like yours, which is relevant to contemporary life, rather than just banal pontification or farcical academic in-talk?
Well, my friends now accept that I am a poet and not just a bit weird, ha,ha when they see me perfrom they become fans… We need poets to not be afraid of their own thoughts, not to have Heaney or the school teacher hover over their shoulder when they write… I think also we could do with an alternative Poetry Ireland for poets who don’t have 5 books out and write poems about drugs, sex, viisons, gangsters, and popular music etc
He’s got one hand stuffed down the front of his tracksuit bottoms
The other one holds a bottle of ‘Bud’
he shouts at a passing Taxi
it keeps driving, it doesn’t answer his arrogant holler
he shouts “Wanker”
at the back of the car
he doesn’t care that he’s standing in someone else’s garden at 2.15 a.m
he’s rouge, a thug, a hardman, an animal of a goer
he’ll batter yea if you’re starting.
He hates all them fucking chink’s and Black bastards,
but he loves an ol’ curry from the Chinese takeaway and he listens to Hip-Hop and R’n’B, idolised Tupac and Biggie and dresses like Jay-Z and dances in clubs to Usher
but he don’t see the stupidity in any of that, cause he’s uneducated and ignorant
maybe he’ll understand when I tell him
“Yo man don’t you know that Racist talk is mother fucking whack, DOG?”
he’s a hardman,
but the only bottle he has
is that Budweiser bottle in his hand
there’s no bottle inside
no bottle for life
no bottle to sit down in the rain with his feelings
no bottle to express the pain with something real
not showoffness in front of a gang
not asking a ‘bird’ what’s the story on a ride
no bottle for being quiet with the demons inside
he should try taking them for a ride on the death coach
or wrestling them in a cage till only one comes out alive
Karl Parkinson’s pamplet A Sacrament of Song is available here from Wurm Press. You can hear him live on Nov 16 at the Sugar Club,
at 7Towers Last wed’s reading at Chaplins bar on Hawkins st onlast wed of nov and at the 7 Towers Themed reading at Chapters Bookshop, 2nd Thursday of Dec.
Dave Lordan’s latest collection is the acclaimed Invitation to a Sacrifice ( described as ‘profane’ by The Stinging Fly, as ‘nurturing one’s inner anarchist’ by Books Ireland, as ‘an amazing book’ by RTE radio 1 and as ‘ as brilliant on the page as it must surely be in performance’ by the Irish Times). His play Jo Bangles runs in the Focus Theatre Dublin from 7th to 18th of Dec. You can catch him performing in November at Block T in Smithfield on Sun 14th Nighthawks in the Cobalt on Sat 25th, Wurmimabbey at Monster Truck Gallery on Francis Street on Thursday 25th, and Wexford Caca Milis Cabaret on Sat 27th.