Paula Meehan named Ireland Professor of Poetry
Post forms part of Seamus Heaney’s ‘legacy’, TCD provost says
President Michael D.Higgins with poet Paula Meehan after she was announced as Ireland Professor of Poety at a reception in the Provost House, Trinity College Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons / The Irish Times
The poet and playwright is the second woman to be awarded the prestigious post, set up in 1998 after the late Seamus Heaney won the Nobel prize for literature.
Meehan, who has worked with prisoners and people from disadvantaged backgrounds, is regarded as giving a voice to people and places that are often marginalised and forgotten.
Trinity provost Dr Patrick Prendergast said the announcement was particularly poignant in the wake of Heaney’s death. “It forms part of his legacy and the role will go on to foster and deepen people’s understanding of poetry,” he said.
Meehan follows John Montague, Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Paul Durcan, Michael Longley and Harry Clifton in the post.
Critics say her poetry — which has been set to music by Christy Moore — is marked by its wit and beauty, while those who appointed her said they hope she will be a refreshing and engaging choice and open up poetry to more readers in Ireland and abroad.
Meehan will work over three years as a professor in Trinity, Queen’s University Belfast and University College Dublin.