UCD Library launches Poetry as Commemoration Jukebox in St. Stephen’s Green

9th June 2022
Dr. Sandra Collins, University Librarian at University College Dublin and Liz Kelly, Director of Poetry Ireland launch the new Poetry Jukebox installation in St. Stephen’s Green.

A new Poetry Jukebox installation was launched in St. Stephen’s Green on Thursday, June 9th as part of the Poetry as Commemoration initiative led by UCD Library and supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme and the OPW.

Project partners include Poetry Ireland, the Arts Council Northern Ireland and Quotidian - Word on the Street.

Located next to the W.B. Yeats Memorial, it is the first of eight sound installations that will tour the island over the next 18 months enabling members of the public to listen to a curation of 20 poems relating to the events that led to the establishment of the Free State and the Civil War. Each Jukebox will stay in situ for three months and contains a selection of poems in English and Irish by well known poets such as Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, W.B. Yeats and John Hewitt, as well as lesser known writers such as Agnes O’Farrelly (Úna Ní Fhaircheallaigh) and Mary Devenport O’Neill.

A second Jukebox containing the same curation of poems is located outside the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast as part of the Belfast Book Festival.These sound installations are like a gramophone or a speaking-trumpet that bring poetry into public spaces, allowing us to encounter poems in a totally new way - you walk by, press a button and hear a poem.

The project, which also includes new poetry commissions and an island-wide series of writing workshops, invites communities to turn to poetry as a way of understanding the challenges of the past and the possibilities of the future.

Speaking at the launch of the Poetry Jukebox in St. Stephen’s Green, Dr. Sandra Collins, University Librarian at UCD remarked that “Poetry can provide a space for commemoration, meditation and interrogation. The curation of poems in this jukebox allows members of the public to engage with the centenary of the revolutionary period in a new and innovative way in this historic location”.

Director of Poetry Ireland, Liz Kelly, remarked that the initiative fulfils the organisation’s mission of “connecting people with poetry, past and future, and demonstrating poetry’s value as a tool that can be used to orient ourselves in the world.”

Commenting on the launch, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said:

“I congratulate the Irish Poetry Reading Archive UCD for the installation of the Poetry Jukebox in St Stephen’s Green, the first location on the country-wide tour. The Irish Poetry Reading Archive at UCD with support from key partners have developed a really engaging and imaginative element in the Poetry as Commemoration initiative which my Department is supporting as part of the Decade of Centenaries Programme. Keeping with the ethos of the Decade of Centenaries Programme, it is being made freely accessible to all and I encourage audiences young and old to engage with the project and consider the significant centenaries that we are remembering at this time.”

At the launch poems were read by poets Aifric MacAodha, Maria McManus and project leads Evelyn Flanagan and Dr. Lucy Collins.

To learn more about the project or to enquire about hosting a workshop contact poetryascommemoration@ucd.ie