In the Poetry Programme on 3rd November 2019, at 7:30 pm on RTÉ Radio 1, presenter Olivia O’Leary is joined by poets Bernard O’Donoghue and Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh.
In July 2019, Bernard O’Donoghue and Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh took part in an event recorded before an audience in Doneraile Court in County Cork, one of the Heart of Summer series of events organised by Poetry Ireland and the Office of Public Works.
We hoped he would, he didn’t expect it himself, but in the end Bernard O’Donoghue didn’t win the top poetry prize in this part of the world for his book The Seasons of Cullen Church. The T.S.Eliot prize for 2016 went to Jacob Polley for his bookJackself. But the T. S. Eliot Prize Shortlist Readings took place on the eve of the prize. It was an evening of poetry, dinner and music, and all nominated poets attended. The audio of Bernard’s introduction and reading from the night have been published online, and you can listen to it below:
At the awards ceremony itself, the Chair of the Judges, Ruth Padel, had this to say of Bernard’s book:
“Bernard O’Donoghue’s The Seasons of Cullen Church combines an elegantly wry tone, deceptively easy flow, intimacy with the reader which seems effortless but is actually very original, with scholarly love of poetry down the ages. Many poems think with Dante, Virgil, Old English; many lines give you one more beat than you’d expect and, when you re-read, disclose one more layer of meaning too: very suddenly – just as, he says, the swifts arrive in Cullen, like unexplained gifts on Christmas morning.” [from tseliot.com]
The very best of luck to Bernard O’Donoghue who has been nominated for the 2016 T.S. Eliot poetry prize for his new collection of poems The Seasons of Cullen Church. “This collection of expert lyric poems movingly animates the characters of his childhood in County Cork; it confirm O’Donoghue’s place as one of the most approachable and agile voices in contemporary Irish and British poetry.”
Among the theses in the book are: “a schoolboy beaten so hard by his teacher that his bare feet jiggle on the floorboards, a wife disinherited when her husband dies suddenly, and medieval tales which echo to how we live now.”
It is Bernard’s second time nominated for the T.S. Eliot prize. In 2011 he was nominated for Farmers Cross. The winner will be announced on January 16th. Here is one poem from the book called The Will:
When they discovered that my grandfather was going, unexpectedly, to die young of meningitis, they naturally set about ensuring that his wife would not inherit the farm. They assembled a group of solid men – as they might have for the threshing: his brother who lived south on the mountain; a shrewd solicitor; and a man from Doon with a good hand who often testified to wills.
This week Cullen native Bernard O’Donoghue was added to the Irish Poetry Reading Archive, which is part of a project to create a central repository for poetry readings by Irish poets and writers, which tries to capture and preserve the rich and diverse landscape of poetry in Ireland. The collection captures the voice of the poet reading a selection of their work, and giving a very brief overview of the context and circumstances that influenced the writing of the poem. Below are nine videos of Bernards poems, and also at the end, a long video in which he talks about the beauty of the work of Seamus Heaney: