The emphasis at the eleventh running of The Thing Itself turned out to be firmly on poetry.

Colin Dardis and Geraldine O’Kane were the featured artists.

The success of the evening was even sealed with a kiss.

Colin Dardis went on first after The Thing Itself host, singer guitarist and lead poet Caimin O’Shea, played a few numbers.

He chose electric guitar, and his brief and effective set included a Joni Mitchell song.

Colin’s first full length collection the x of y (Eyewear, £10.99) has just been published.

The poet, who is from Cookstown in Tyrone, is a confident performer, witty and fluent, definitely the influence of Paul Durcan peeking through a little although his style is not as satirical. And yet the cadences and quiet footfalls of the said and unsaid in his writings are Dardis’ own. 

Dardis certainly is able to inhabit the present moment and does wistful well.

Moreover, crucially there is an emotional edge to his observations.  

Geraldine O'Kane, also from Tyrone in her case Dungannon, read after the over long interlude spot filled by Dungannon guitarist/spoken word poet Paul Corrigan.

Geraldine, part of the new Belfast poetry generation, a scene that draws inspiration and stands on the shoulders of literary giants such as Michael Longley, Ciarán Carson and most recently Sinéad Morrissey, reminded me of the rhythmic sparkle of Medbh McGuckian

A distinction is in her use of micropoetry, some of these short poems drawn from 2014 collection Quick Succession say a great deal in a small number of words.

During the evening attended by 30-40 of an audience among the open mic readers were Kate O’Shea and the Corncrake magazine editor Jenny Brien.

Looking on to Belmore Street, Enniskillen top photo: marlbank from inside the traditional “old man’s” bar. Minutes earlier before the photo was taken in Mulherns, a fire engine was parked up directly outside, the starving firefighters needing to nip over for some takeaway food along “Chippie Street,” as novelist Ciarán McMenamin in Skintown fictionalised the Belmore Street-Forthill Street sprawl. With recently appointed manager “Burger,” as the staff affectionately refer to him now taking over the day-to-day management of Mulherns, the Cellar Bar and the Gasworks since the last running of The Thing Itself the place continues to improve building on what his predecessor Ashley Wilkins achieved. pics + words marlbank