The Best-Loved Irish Poem of the Last 100 Years
What is your most-loved Irish poem of the last century? RTÉ A Poem for Ireland is a major new RTÉ campaign which aims to get the public talking about the poems they feel are the most-loved Irish poems of the past 100 years.
In this era of centenaries, RTÉ looks back at the Irish poems and poets of the past 100 years and asks the public to help us identify the Irish poems of the past century that we love the most. Whether it’s a poem you studied at school and loved; one that stood out for you at a wedding or funeral, a poem you came across at an important moment in your life, or one your father or mother used to recite; whether it’s a love poem, a political poem, a poem about nature, life, loss, emigration, and whether it’s in Irish or in English, it doesn’t matter. As long as it’s an Irish poem, published in the last century, and you love it, then tell us, and tell us why you love it.
The campaign will be spearheaded by The Works, RTÉ One’s flagship arts show, and RTÉ Radio 1’s The John Murray Show in partnership with Poetry Ireland and An Post. RTÉ’s A Poem for Ireland will roll out over the course of six months, from its launch on The John Murray Show and The Works on September 26th to the unveiling of the Irish public’s final choice in March 2015. It will be accompanied by a major digital site where the public can nominate, read and vote for poems. The digital site will build in scale and content as the campaign progresses.
Phase 1: Nominations (26 September– 14 November 2014)
During the first phase of the campaign (September – November 2014) the public will be asked to nominate the Irish poem(s) of the past century they feel the Poem For Ireland Jury should include on a list of ten poems that will go forward for public debate and discussion in January 2015. The poems can be in Irish or in English and can cover any topic: life, politics, relationships, history, nature, emigration, loss, social issues, love. As long as the poem is an Irish poem, published between January 1914 and December 2014, and it stands out for you in some way, then it’s eligible for consideration.
A dedicated website on RTÉ.ie will allow people at home and abroad to suggest poems for inclusion on the final list of ten poems. An Post is supporting RTÉ A Poem for Ireland with a Freepost address, to enable as many people as possible to take part, free-of-charge, in this national effort.
Once the nominations close, a jury of poetry experts and lovers will be tasked with compiling a list of ten Irish poems that tell the story of Ireland over the past 100 years in the words of its great poets. Their choices will reflect the most popular choices from the public nomination process; but their task is also to include the widest possible range of poets, subjects and eras, in order to enable the liveliest possible national conversation about Irish poetry of the past 100 years once the list is announced.
Poetry Ireland has also partnered with RTÉ for RTÉ A Poem For Ireland. Poetry Ireland and The National Library of Ireland’s Poetry Aloud project is a nationwide poetry reciting competition involving over 1,600 schools. The competition fosters a love of poetry among secondary school students throughout the island of Ireland. The students taking part in this year’s Poetry Aloud competition will be encouraged to choose Irish poems from the past 100 years to recite. And the 2014 Poetry Aloud winners and runners-up will be filmed reciting one of the ten poems from the final list. Their performances of the shortlisted poems will be broadcast on RTÉ One during the six-week final stage of the campaign.
Phase 2: Voting (30 Jan – 8 March 2015)
A brand-new landmark RTÉ One documentary telling the story of Irish poetry from the bards to the present day will launch the 6-week voting campaign in January 2015. The shortlisted ten poems will be announced on 30th January 2015 and over the next six weeks, the public will have the chance to engage with all ten shortlisted poems, across television, radio, online and mobile, and vote for their RTÉ A Poem For Ireland.
The RTÉ A Poem for Ireland winning poem will be announced live on RTÉ One on 13th March 2015 and published by An Post on a free postcard.
Special Advisor to the Campaign
Niall MacMonagle is a writer, lecturer, critic and broadcaster. He taught English at Wesley College Dublin and writes a weekly art column for the Sunday Independent. He has edited several anthologies including Lifelines, Real Cool, Outside In, Slow Time, Off the Wall, The Open Door Book of Poetry and the textbooks TEXT: A Transition Year English Reader and the Poetry Now anthologies for Leaving Cert. He has served on the Board of the National Library of Ireland. Niall also founded the Poetry Aloud competition twenty-one years ago, a national competition which encourages secondary school students to recite poetry, and which last year saw students from over 1,600 schools participating.
John Kelly (Chair)
Writer and broadcaster John Kelly presents RTÉ Television’s flagship arts show, The Works. He also presents The John Kelly Ensemble on RTÉ lyric fm and Radio Clash on RTÉ 2XM. Over the years, John has interviewed many leading figures in the music and arts world and has written several books including From Out of the City, published in April 2014 by Dalkey Archive Press.
Damien Dempsey is often described as an urban poet. He has been an avid fan of poetry from a young age and his lyrics draw on the works of a wide range of poets and writers, both from Ireland and beyond.
Catriona Crowe is Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland. She is also a member of the Royal Irish Academy and Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Limerick. She contributes regularly to the broadcast and print media on cultural and historic matters.
Maria Johnston received her Doctorate in English Literature in 2007 and has since worked as a Lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, the Mater Dei Institute (DCU) and Oxford University. She is a well-known poetry critic and is currently working on a book on contemporary Irish poetry.
Anne Doyle has a BA English and History and a postgraduate diploma in Education from UCD. Her love of books and literature led her to take up a job as a librarian. After a stint at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Anne joined the RTÉ Newsroom, retiring in 2011. She says: “I read poetry for pleasure. I’m not academically knowledgeable about poetry, but love it. It’s in the heart.”
John FitzGerald is a graduate of UCC (BA in English and Philosophy, 1983), University College Dublin and the University of Wales at Aberystwyth. He is the University Librarian at UCC. In his professional roles John has consistently fostered and promoted literary activities – around poetry in particular– most recently in acquiring for UCC The Great Book of Ireland.
Rióna Ní Fhrighil
Rióna Ní Fhrighil is a lecturer in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures in the National University of Ireland, Galway. She teaches contemporary Irish-language prose and poetry at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. She is editor of Filíocht Chomhaimseartha na Gaeilge (Cois Life, 2012), a collection of critical essays on contemporary Irish-language poetry. She has published numerous academic articles and book chapters on contemporary Irish-language poetry.
Twitter: @RTEPoetry #rtelovepoetry
For further information:
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