In this lecture Paula Meehan delivers the Ireland Chair of Poetry Lecture, 2014. The Ireland Chair of Poetry Trust was set up in 1998 and is jointly held between Queen's University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon.
Every three years a poet of honour and distinction is chosen to represent the Chair as Ireland's Professor of Poetry. During their tenure the holder spends a year attached to each of the three universities and resides for a period of approximately eight weeks at each. While in residence, the poet gives informal workshops or readings, spends time working with students and performing outreach work and makes one formal presentation a year, usually in the form of a lecture.
Poet and playwright Paula Meehan was born and reared in the north inner city of Dublin. Her family later moved to Finglas where she spent her teenage years. She studied at Trinity College, Dublin and at Eastern Washington University in the United States. She has published six original collections of poetry, the most recent, Painting Rain, in 2009. She has written plays for both adults and children, including Cell and The Wolf of Winter. Music for Dogs: works for radio, collects three plays concerned with suicide during the recent economic boom years in Ireland. Selections of her poetry have been published in French, German, Galician, Japanese, Estonian, Greek, and smaller selections have been translated into other languages, including Irish. Some of her poems have been set to music by artists as diverse as Christy Moore, the folksinger, and John W. Brennan, the avant garde composer, and she has collaborated with dancers, visual artists and film makers over the years. Among other awards she has received the Butler Literary Award for Poetry presented by the Irish American Cultural Institute, the Marten Toonder Award for Literature, the Denis Devlin Award for Dharmakaya, published in 2000, and the PPI Award for Radio Drama. Dedalus Press have recently republished Mysteries of the Home, a selection of seminal poems from the 1980's and the 1990's. She was honoured with election to Aosdána, the Irish Academy for the Arts, in 1996. She is currently Ireland Professor of Poetry, 2013 to 2016.