Maynooth to host Pearse Hutchinson archive

Collection includes correspondence with Saul Bellow and Octavio Paz

Mon, Mar 24, 2014, 16:03

NUI Maynooth is to permanently host the archive of the distinguished multilingual writer Pearse Hutchinson in the university’s library. Hutchinson’s collection, which generated significant interest internationally, includes published and unpublished poetry, memoirs, letters to friends and fellow poets including Saul Bellow and Octavio Paz, and his own paintings and sketches. NUI Maynooth is employing a dedicated archivist for 12 months to develop the collection and the university will also establish an annual bursary in honour of the poet, who died in 2012.

Born in Glasgow in 1927, Hutchinson was five years old when his family moved to Dublin. Both his parents were second-generation Irish and had been active supporters of Sinn Féin. His father, a printer, was interned in Frongoch from 1919 to 1921. His mother was a friend of Countess Markievicz, and Hutchinson’s collection includes a painting of his mother by the countess and correspondence between the two.

Hutchinson studied Spanish and Italian and travelled extensively, living in Spain for almost a decade, where he developed a deep love of Catalan and Galician language, culture and literature. During a long career, he published several volumes of poetry and translations from Italian, Catalan and Galician-Portuguese. Known as a truly original poet, he was a frequent contributor to radio and print media, writing a regular Irish language column for the RTÉ Guide and hosting a weekly RTÉ Radio 1 programme of Irish poetry, music and folklore, Óró Domhnaigh. A co-editor and founder of the literary journal Cyphers , Ireland’s longest-running poetry magazine, and an active member of Aosdána, he received the Butler Award for Irish writing in 1969. In the early 1970s he took up the Gregory fellowship in poetry at the University of Leeds.

Hutchinson’s poems were first published in The Bell literary magazine in 1945. In the early 1950s he became interested in Irish language poetry, having been influenced by writers such as Piaras Feirtéar. His collections of poetry, in Irish and English, include Tongue Without Hands (1963), Faoistín Bhacach (1968), Expansions (1969), Watching the Morning Grow (1973), The Frost Is All Over (1975), Climbing the Light (1985), Le Cead na Gréine (1989), The Soul that Kissed the Body (1991) and Barnsley Main Seam (1995).

With Melita Cataldi, he translated into Italian an anthology of medieval Irish lyrics, Antica Lirica Irlandese (Einaudi,Turin, 1981). Books of his poetry were translated into Castilian in 1991, Italian in 1997, and Galician in 2002. His Collected Poems was published on his 75th birthday in 2002, and the following year he published Done into English , a selection of many of the translated works he produced over the years containing translations of more than 60 poets from over a dozen languages or dialects, including Catalan, Italian, Dutch, Milanese and Irish.

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