Poetry & Music 2

Thursday, 26 April 2018 is Poetry Day Ireland: a one-day festival that is all about celebrating Irish poetry. And this year the theme is Poetry Surprises. It's about the unexpected ways that the words, music, and rhythm of poetry enable us to see ourselves and our worlds in new and unexpected ways. Celebrate serendipitous encounters in Poetry Ireland's Parnell Square premises on Thursday, 26 April 2018 at 8pm. Revel in the work of Kevin Doherty and John McAuliffe — a space where poetry and music overlap.

Soul Resize 2
'Soul Clap Its Hands and Sing': 2018 season lineup.
Poetry surprises. It knocks on your door and runs away. It greets you on the street with a face you haven't seen in years. Look in the mirror and poetry shows you the back of your head. It can rearrange the stars and resurrect the past. When your breath snags and your heart thumps; when something strokes your neck and makes you jump: that’s poetry.
Poetry Day Ireland 2018, http://www.poetryireland.ie/poetry-day/about

Born in Listowel, Co Kerry in 1973, John McAuliffe has lived in the UK since 2002. He co-directs the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester and has published four books with Gallery Press — most recently, The Way In was joint winner of the Michael Hartnett Award for Best Collection. John currently is the chief poetry critic for the Irish Times and co-editor of the Manchester Review.

John's poetry 'is fundamentally one devoted to conveying the shifting textures of lived experience, from the altering gradations of daylight during a working day to the sudden strangeness of the world as perceived by a child.' He uses striking images, political references, and storytelling to offer commentary and construct his art.

His poem 'Old Style' — an oblique reference to sean-nós singing — is just one of the works through which John will explore the intersection of poetry and music at 'Soul Clap Its Hands and Sing.' 

Not just the lay-by, or the motorway
    or its central reservation.
Not just the ring road, or the cul de sac
    with its pretty forsythia border.
Not just the house, or its extension,
    and its hundred windows shining away.
Instead the known world and the unseen,
    to which you’ll come back:
that is, the point of departure, the destination,
    and all points in between.
A free drift to nowhere in particular.
    All that way, and back again.

To learn more about John and his work, visit his page at The Poetry Archive

Imagine a Donegal Leonard Cohen reinventing the 'Closing Time'-era Tom Waits and you're right there on Doherty's dog-eared, poet's page.
Steve Bennett, Acoustic Magazine, June 2013

Born in Buncrana, Co Donegal, Kevin Doherty is a singer-songwriter who learned his craft from listening to records and the radio. His early influences include bluegrass, country, folk, rock, blues, jazz, swing, and traditional music. He joined the traditional group Four Men and a Dog in 1991. Since that time, he has toured and recorded extensively — with the band, as a soloist, and in the company of fellow Buncrana-man Ciaran Tourish. Visit Kevin’s website to learn more. 

Kevin’s approach to songwriting, with his emphasis on storytelling and speech, is in itself poetic. Hearing him side-by-side with John McAuliffe highlights the overlapping ways that poets and singers use words and music to view their worlds.

'Rambling Irishman' from Kevin Doherty's 2012 solo album, Seeing Things (©Kevin Doherty, used with permission).

I am a rambling Irishman from chaos I was born When the glass falls from my hand to chaos I'll return …
'Rambling Irishman' by Kevin Doherty

Visit ITMA to hear other CDs by Kevin Doherty, as well as a selection of field recordings (available only at ITMA).

Poetry Music2 Kevin Doherty Cdcovers
CDs in the ITMA collection featuring Kevin Doherty.


Rebecca Draisey-Collishaw
ITMA Archive Assistant (Digital Collections)
24 April 2018


John McAuliffe & Kevin Doherty