Poetry Ireland

This event will stream live at 7:30pm on 21 October 2020. Please click play in the browser. If you’d like to get involved in the chat with other viewers, you can also watch on youtube here.

This event is a reflection on ‘poetry of witness’, a phrase coined by celebrated poet Carolyn Forché who describes her work as politically engaged. Carolyn Forché is a poet, editor, professor and human rights advocate and author of numerous award-winning poetry collections including Gathering the Tribe (1976), and The Blue Hour (2003).  From 1978 to 1980, she travelled repeatedly to El Salvador, where she bore witness to the violent repression of Salvadoran citizens by that country’s military dictatorship and arising out of that experience she wrote The Country Between Us (1981) based on her experiences of war in El Salvador. Carolyn Forché was influenced by the writings of  Hannah Arendt and Simone Weil.

Tonight’s event is a poetic exploration on poetry as witness and the way in which poetry can preserve memory, provide solace and reflect on the times we are living in. How do poets give voice to their own and other’s experiences from personal experiences of trauma, to times of conflict experienced by refugees or as a result of a legacy of conflict in Northern Ireland to the loss experienced during the recent pandemic.  The evening features work by extraordinary poets.



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