The Shaking Bog is pleased to partner with Poetry Town in presenting one of Ireland’s most remarkable and influential poets, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. Newly moved to County Wicklow, this is a rare opportunity to hear Nuala in this intimate poetry reading and conversation at Mermaid Arts Centre.
Writing in the Irish of the Kerry Gaeltacht of her childhood on the Dingle peninsula, Nuala’s work has been translated into English by poets as diverse as Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Medbh McGuckian and Michael Longley. Her passionate, searching engagement with language, myth and a sense of place is the hallmark of her profound, witty and moving writing. As fellow poet and translator Lavina Greenlaw has remarked: “Ní Dhomhnaill can weave together comedy and darkness, confrontation with casual chat. Her poems can be reflective lyrics or sprawling narratives, incantatory or wisecracking.”
Reading in Irish and in English translation, Nuala’s readings are a joy to behold. As she writes - in a translation by Paul Muldoon - in her poem The Language Issue:
I place my hope on the water
in this little boat
of the language, the way a body might put
in a basket of inter winded
Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest poets in Ireland, also reputed for her dedication and defence of the Irish language.
Ní Dhomhnaill has published extensively and her works include poetry collections, children’s plays, screenplays, anthologies, articles, reviews and essays. In her writings, Ní Dhomhnaill focuses on the rich traditions and heritage of Ireland, and draws upon themes of ancient Irish folklore and mythology that intermingle with contemporary issues concerning femininity, sexuality and culture.
In 1981, Ní Dhomhnaill published her fist poetry collection, An Dealg Droighin (Cork: Mercier Press), and became a member of Aosdána. Other works include Féar Suaithinseach (Maynooth: An Sagart,1984); Feis (An Sagart, 1991), and Cead Aighnis (translated by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Medbh McGuckian; An Sagart, 1999).
Ní Dhomhnaill’s poems appeared in English translation in the dual-language editions Rogha Dánta/Selected Poems (Dublin: Raven Arts Press, 1986, 1988, 1990; translated by Michael Harnett); The Astrakhan Cloak (Oldcastle: Gallery translated by Paul Muldoon, 1991, 1992), Pharaoh’s Daughter (Gallery, 1990), and The Fifty Minute Mermaid (translated by Paul Muldoon; Gallery, 2007).
In 2018, she received the Zbigniew Herbert International Literary Award for her achievements in poetry.