Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Poetry Programme

There’s a new voice at the helm over on RTE Radio’s poetry programme.

Gerald Dawe, a fine poet in his own right, has taken over from Pat Boran and I had the chance to hear him in action for the first time at the weekend (The show goes out Saturday evenings at 7.30 pm on RTE Radio 1). His guest this week was Frank McGuinness, who has a new collection of poetry out at the moment. Dulse is published by the Gallery Press and is, I believe, McGuiness’ fourth collection of poetry.

Of course, McGuinness is much more well known as a playright than a poet, with plays such as The Factory Girls and Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme to his credit. So it was interesting to learn that his published writing began with a number of poems back in the seventies, which lead in time to his first collection Booterstown being published in 1994. By his own admission, writing plays took over from poetry pretty early in his career and published poems have been more sporadic up until more recently. You can hear that show here, and there’s an archive of past shows available too.

Next week’s programme features Professor of Poetry for Ireland, Michael Longley, one of this island’s outstanding living poets and should be well worth a listen to hear the two Belfast boys chew the fat. Best of luck on the airwaves, Mr. Dawe!