DCU confers poet Paula Meehan with honorary doctorate

A sneak preview of Saturday’s books pages

Paula Meehan with her partner, fellow poet Theo Dorgan. Photograph: Kenneth O Halloran

Paula Meehan with her partner, fellow poet Theo Dorgan. Photograph: Kenneth O Halloran

 

Dublin City University paid tribute to one of Ireland’s foremost poets, Paula Meehan, by conferring her with an honorary doctorate today.

Dr Mary Shine Thompson of DCU said: “From the first of her eight poetry collections, Return and No Blame (1984), to her most recent, Geomantic (2016), her verse is elegantly wrought, often magically incantatory, and always accessible, but, like Seamus Heaney’s, charged with a challenging undercurrent. In it Paula Meehan gives voice to her people and her place.”

Meehan thanked her “beloved partner Theo Dorgan, who himself is a poet and understands the sometimes very strange places poetry takes us to. He has always made the time and space to help me live in those strange places. I thank my family and friends. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes open-minded and compassionate villagers to allow that child follow the poet’s paths. I remind myself always every day that some countries are locking up their poets.”

Meehan wrote and recited and poem for the occasion, remembering this time 50 years ago when she moved from inner-city Dublin to Finglas.

“Today you have given me the great good fortune of this honour and I will be forever grateful. To celebrate this moment, I’ve written a poem for the day that’s in it called At the Spring Equinox – when day and night are the same length and summer is coming in. I wanted to celebrate the edge of the city that I discovered when we moved out here from the inner city...remembering those friends, that landscape and the rivers that ran through it.”

Coming up in Saturday’s Irish Times, Mike McCormack reflects on his literary career ahead of his induction into the Hennessy Literary Awards Hall of Fame next week. New Irish Writing editor Ciaran Carty looks back over the five decades of the pages and the awards, and this year’s shortlisted writers shed some light on their work.

Reviews include Danny Denton on Instructions for a Funeral by David Means; Declan Burke on The Friends of Harry Perkins by Chris Mullin; Eugene Brennan on Mark Sinker’s A Hidden Landscape Once a Week; Anne Haverty on Memories of the Future by Siri Hustvedt; Rob Doyle on Valis by Philip K Dick; Declan O’Driscoll on Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, translated by Frank Wynne; Paschal Donohoe on Isabel Hardman’s Why We Get the Wrong Politicians and The Political Class by Peter Allen; Paraic O’Donnell on Never Home Alone by Rob Dunn; Catherine Cleary on The Way We Eat Now by Bee Wilson; Richard Pine on Arabs: a 3000-year History of Peoples, Tribes and Empires by Tim Mackintosh-Smith; Sarah Gilmartin on The Ghost Factory by Jenny McCartney; and Declan Burke on the best new crime fiction.

And this week’s special offer when you buy The Irish Times in any Eason store is €6 off the cover price of The Burning Chambers by Kate Mosse.

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