So we’re almost there: on Friday 30th January, on RTÉ Radio One’s The John Murray Show and later that night on RTÉOne Television’s The Works, RTÉ will be announcing the 10 poems its independent Jury chose from all your nominations for the final stage of RTÉ A Poem For Ireland. It was a huge job: the public nominated over 130 poems in all and our Jury struggled to whittle that down to just 10 poems that would meet all the criteria set by RTÉ: 10 poems of the past century that, together, tell a story of us as a people over the past 100 years.
Read RTÉ’s full release below:
Your reasons for nominating the different poems were many and varied. The team in RTÉ really enjoyed watching such a huge variety of suggestions come in, and particularly loved the reasons for nominating poems. Many of the public expressed deep personal connections with certain poems and told us some beautiful stories of life, love and loss. Many remember poems learnt at school with great fondness. Some simply found expression, solace, joy, or a moment of clarity, in a poem and wanted to share that with us.
Thursday 29th January at 10.15pm on RTÉ One, the RTÉ A Poem For Ireland season kicks off with an extended, landmark documentary which looks back at the history of Irish poetry, from the earliest recorded poems to the present day. ‘A Rebel Act: Poems That Shaped The Nation’ explores why poetry means so much to us as a people. It features performances of almost 30 poems by Irish people from all walks of life, from parish priests to former Presidents, from market sellers to well-known Irish actors.
On Friday 30th January, the 10 poems we’re asking the public to engage with during the project will be announced: 5 on Friday morning’s edition of The John Murray Show on RTÉ, Radio One at 9am, and 5 that evening at 8.30pm on RTÉ One’s The Works.
On Television, RTÉ Television’s flagship arts show The Works (Fridays, 8.30, RTÉ One) will feature mini-documentaries on each of the poems each week. And each week, the public will be able to listen to ordinary people from offices and workplaces across Ireland reacting to each of the 10 poems on RTÉ Radio One’s The John Murray Show (weekdays, 9am, RTÉ Radio One). As those items, and other Poem For Ireland coverage from across RTÉ, go out on Radio and Television, they’ll also be added to the website. As will your comments, videos and stories.
The whole point of this project is to ignite a national conversation about our poetry. The Public will be able to leave comments about the poems and the project on this website, and on RTÉ, A Poem For Ireland Facebook page and Twitter (@rtepoetry) account. We also welcome videos: if you’d like to record a video of you, your colleagues or friends performing any poem of the 10, we will publish the best on the website, and some may even appear on television.
Finally we’d like to thank everyone who has collaborated with us to make this project possible: our partners Poetry Ireland and An Post; the staff of the National Library and the students (and their teachers and parents!) from Poetry Aloud; our Jury and advisors; the publishers, poets and estates of the poets whose poems have been shortlisted, who have been so generous in granting copyright to publish the poems. But most of all we’d like to thank the thousands of people who nominated poems, and have made this project such a delight so far for all of us here in RTÉ. It is clear we love our poetry; let’s celebrate that over the next 6 weeks!