Paul Durcan Celebrates Work of Fellow Poet

Posted on: 15 February 2006

Ireland Chair of Poetry Lecture at TCD

The Ireland Professor of Poetry, Paul Durcan, presented the 2006 Ireland Chair of Poetry lecture at Trinity College on 15 February. The public lecture entitled ‘Hartnett’s Farewell’ was a personal memoir of the last period of Hartnett’s life. Durcan, a close friend for thirty-seven years of the poet Michael Hartnett, also looked in detail at one of Hartnett’s last poems, ‘Sibelius in Silence’, which Durcan considers not only Hartnett’s most outstanding poem but one of the finest Irish poems of the last two hundred years.

Established in 1998, The Ireland Chair of Poetry was the first cross-border academic Chair.  The Chair was set up to mark the standing of Irish poets in this century on the world stage and to commemorate the achievement of Seamus Heaney in winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 and recognises the enormous stature of Irish poetry throughout the world.

Poet Paul Durcan was born in Dublin in 1944, and educated at University College, Cork, where he studied archaeology and medieval history. In 1974 he won the Patrick Kavanagh Award, and published his first collection O Westport in the Light of Asia Minor in 1975.  He was Poet in Residence at the Frost Place, New Hampshire, in 1985, and Writer in Residence at TCD, in 1990. He received the Irish American Cultural Institute Poetry Award in 1989 and his collection Daddy, Daddy (1990) won the Whitbread Poetry Award. He was joint winner of the 1995 Heinemann Award.

The Ireland Chair of Poetry is set up in partnership between the two Arts Councils in Ireland, Trinity College, Dublin, the Queen’s University of Belfast and University College, Dublin, National University of Ireland, Dublin. The position is tenable for three years during which time the holder is attached to each of the three universities for a year at a time, and is in residence at each for a period of approximately an academic term in each year. In addition, the holder delivers three formal presentations and holds at least three other informal workshops or readings over the three year period