Ten poems for Ireland. Which one is your best-loved?
We all turn to poetry when we can't find the words ourselves to express a sentiment or feeling: at weddings, funerals and great and small moments in life. This campaign is about celebrating the wonderful canon of Irish poetry of the past 100 years and what it says about us as a people.
Three men carry a currach. (1965)
Vegetable stall, Lower Sheriff Street, Dublin.
The funeral of Éamon de Valera (1975)
US President John F. Kennedy, Co. Wexford (1963)
Aftermath of bomb, Talbot Street, Dublin (1974)
Pope John Paul II, Áras an Uachtaráin (1979)
Rundown houses, Limerick (1968)
Phase One of RTÉ's A Poem for Ireland campaign kicked off in September on RTÉ Television's The Works and RTÉ Radio One's The John Murray Show. We asked you to nominate the poems you think are the stand-out Irish poems of the past 100 years - and to tell us why. The call for nominations had a hugely enthusiastic response: thousands of you nominated over 130 poems. Our Jury's role was to whittle the nominations down to just 10 poems that would meet all the criteria we set: 10 poems of the past century that, together, tell a story of us as a people over the past 100 years.
Your reasons for nominating the different poems were many and varied. The team here in RTÉ really enjoyed watching such a huge variety of suggestions come in, and particularly loved your reasons for nominating poems. Many of you expressed deep personal connections with certain poems and told us some beautiful stories of life, love and loss. Many remember poems you learnt at school with great fondness. Some simply found expression, solace, joy, or a moment of clarity, in a poem and wanted to share that with us.
Over the 6 weeks of the project, we're asking you to make the 10 shortlisted poems the subject of your Book Clubs, classroom discussions and coffee breaks. To help you, all 10 poems are printed in full, and there's information on each poem and poet, plus video and audio clips from the RTÉ archives on this website. You'll also be able to watch performances of each poem by students from secondary schools across Ireland, all past or current prizewinners of Poetry Aloud, the national poetry-speaking competition for secondary school children.
On Television, RTÉ Television's flagship arts show The Works (Fridays, 8.30, RTÉ One) will feature mini-documentaries on two of the poems each week. And each week, you'll be able to listen to ordinary people from offices and workplaces across Ireland reacting to each of the 10 poems on RTÉ Radio One's The John Murray Show (weekdays, 9a.m., RTÉ Radio One). As those items, and other Poem For Ireland coverage from across RTÉ, go out on Radio and Television, they'll also be added to the website. As will your comments, videos and stories.
The whole point of this project is to ignite a national conversation about our poetry and to celebrate one of the things we do best. You can comment on the poems on this website, on Facebook and follow the conversation on our Twitter account: @rtepoetry.
We also welcome your stories, pictures and videos: send us photographs or pictures inspired by any of the poems on the shortlist; or record a video of you, your colleagues or friends performing any poem of the 10 and upload them on our "Upload" page here. We will feature the best on this site, and some may even feature on Television or Radio.
Finally we'd like to thank everyone who has collaborated with us to make this project possible: our partners Poetry Ireland and An Post; the staff of the National Library and the students (and their teachers and parents!) from Poetry Aloud; our Jury and advisors; the publishers, poets and estates of the poets whose poems have been shortlisted, who have been so generous in granting copyright to publish the poems. But most of all we'd like to thank the thousands of you who nominated poems, and have made this project such a delight so far for all of us here in RTÉ. It is clear we love our poetry; let's celebrate that over the next 6 weeks!
Caravan at The Festival of Writing & Ideas, Boris House, Co. Carlow
Moore Street, Dublin (2010)
Market Cross of Kells, Co. Meath (1978)
The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare (1992)
Man with rowing boat, Kenmare, Co. Kerry (1980)
O'Connell Street Dublin, (2011)
Country road, Co. Kerry (1974)