The Monthly interviews Kevin Batemen at The Holestone, a pagan monument, just outside Doagh, near Ballyclare, Northern Ireland

What is it that you do?

I organise events in spiritual places which people have forgotten to visit. Most of my events are held at pagan sites all over Ireland and in the UK.

When did you start and why?

I started in 2016; it was the summer of that year and the reason I started was because I felt that I was seeing the same poets reading all the time, the same four to six people being promoted at various events and I wanted to see different poets and different narratives. So I decided to do something about it and organising poetry readings at these spiritual sites was what I decided to do.

How many events have you organised?

I think there have been 21 events altogether and these readings are filmed and they are put up on YouTube. When I first started I was running the events on Periscope but that was taken over by Twitter and eventually shutdown so I moved the material to YouTube.

You invite other poets to read with you at these historic sites. How does the decision on who to invite get made?

It really does come down to people I think are good. If I enjoy a poet’s work then I will invite them to be part of an event. Today Moyra Donaldson, Paul Laughlin and Colin Hassard read along with me at The Holestone a fertility site in Doagh Northern Ireland.

This is a great site, we have had wonderful weather and the only drawback was that there are giant wind turbines very close by, but other than that this is a beautiful spot and we read some beautiful poetry.

Were you always interested in spiritual sites?

I have always been interested in magic and pagan rituals and what is amazing is that we can visit sites where we know that events, rituals, even readings of poetry took place hundreds of years ago. I like the idea of bringing at least part of that activity back to these areas.

You link these events to a wider audience by posting them online?

Absolutely. We want to educate and entertain people as well, to let them know that these sites still exist and that there are great poets around that you should get to hear. I am sort of marrying two interests of mine through these activities.

You are very secretive regarding the invitation process?

My orientation is that what we are doing, and that is regardless of how many people are at the event in person, is creating a bubble of energy. That energy comes from the small number of people who are involved, poets and audience members and in my view we create a sort of ripple effect with the energy that comes from reading at these wonderful sites and we can only hope that these events, maybe in some small way, spread that energy to change things for the better.

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