Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

One of Ireland’s best known contemporary poets, John Montague was appointed as the country’s first Ireland Chair of Poetry – essentially Ireland’s Poet Laureate – in 1998. Montague was born in Brooklyn to a father who had left Ireland after his involvement in Irish Republicanism after 1916. Governor Mario M. Cuomo presented Montague a citation in 1987 “for his outstanding literary achievements and his contributions to the people of New York.”

At the age of four John was sent back to be raised by spinster aunts on their farm in Garvahey, County Tyrone. At school he developed a strong sense of the long tradition of Irish poetry and song, and when he was a student at UCD began publishing his first poems. A Fulbright Fellowship brought him to Yale in 1953, and from there he went to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and on to Berkeley. A period back in Ireland followed, working for the Irish Tourist Office, where he wrote his first book of poems Poisoned Lands (1961) and then moved to Paris. There he was a drinking buddy of Samuel Beckett and developed a friendship with the French poet Claude Esteban. The musical group The Chieftains were named after his second book of poetry Death of a Chieftain (1964). His long poem The Rough Field was written through turbulent years in Northern Ireland.

In 1987, Montague was awarded an honorary doctor of letters by the State University of New York at Buffalo.

This evening will be presented by the Poet, writer, lecturer, translator, Cork-born Theo Dorgan who is a well-known television and radio presenter in Ireland. A former Director of Poetry Ireland/Éigse Éireann, among his awards are the Listowel Prize for Poetry, 1992 and the O’Shaughnessy Prize for Irish Poetry 2010. A member of Aosdána, he was appointed to The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon in 2003. He also served on the Board of Cork European Capital of Culture 2005.

His most recent collection Nine Bright Shiners was awarded the 2015 Poetry Now Award.

Click here for bookings.