Poet Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh is named as winner of this year’s Michael Hartnett Poetry Award

Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh

“Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh is one of the best and most exciting poets to have emerged in recent years,” the judges Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Gabriel Fitzmaurice said in their citation.

Poet Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh is named as winner of this year’s Michael Hartnett Poetry Award

The Irish-language poet Dr. Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh is the winner of the Michael Hartnett Poetry Award 2019 with her collection Tost agus Allagar, published by Coiscéim. They describe Tost agus Allagar as a wonderful collection in which the poet “speaks from the heart” of love, language, and dislocation.

judges Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Gabriel Fitzmaurice said, “Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh is one of the best and most exciting poets to have emerged in recent years. Her keen intellect and a profound sense of form make for a collection that is hugely satisfying as well as being a joy to read. International and contemporary, she is instinctively aware of the tradition in, and from, which she writes.”

“In her poems about language, particularly the Irish language, she articulates very timely and worrying concerns about its future now that Irish is no longer compulsory for all our students. She writes about art and artists, mother and baby homes, the death and disappearance of Jean McConville, the whole of humankind in an opus of uncommon dramatic range and searing effect, in a language of feeling and of the heart,” they added.

Born and reared in Tralee, Co Kerry, Ailbhe was awarded a BA, MA, and PhD at NUI Galway and now lectures in Modern Irish at UCC. She also studied and taught in France for a period and spent a year in New York on a Fulbright scholarship. Ailbhe’s poem ‘Filleadh ar  agCathair’ was chosen as Ireland’s EU Presidency poem in 2013 and was shortlisted in 2015 for RTÉ’s ‘A Poem for Ireland.’

She was commissioned to write a poem of commemoration for the Garden of Remembrance at Easter 2016. Her books include Péacadh, (Coiscéim 2008), Tost agus Allagar (Coiscéim, 2016) and a bilingual collection The Coast Road (Gallery Press, 2016). Cois Life published her translations from the French of Andrée Chedid in 2019 as part of the ‘File ar Fhile’ series.

Expressing her delight at winning the Michael Hartnett Poetry Award 2019, Ms. Ní Ghearbhuigh said: “I write poetry in an attempt to understand the world around me and to make sense of what’s going on within me. That said, I am really interested in writing about experiences that aren’t my own; I think there is great capacity for empathy in poetry, something that is particularly striking in Michael Hartnett’s work. I think human beings will always be drawn to poetry, be it printed or in some other medium. A poem is a kind of secular prayer and there are times in life when the soul seeks that out.” 

“The Michael Hartnett Award affirms the legitimacy of writing in either language or, indeed both. The breadth of Hartnett’s literary achievements, as a poet in English and Irish, and as a translator from Irish, Spanish and other languages is quite astounding. Given that Tost agus Allagar deals with the theme of language and modes of communication, it is a particular privilege that it will receive the Michael Harnett Award this year,” she added.

The Michael Hartnett Poetry Award 2019 is supported by Limerick City and County Council’s Culture and Arts Office and the Arts Council. The prize is awarded to collections in Irish and English on alternate years and is worth €4,000. It will be presented to Dr. Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh at the opening of Éigse Michael Hartnett on Thursday 3 October at 8 pm in Newcastle West Library.

File as Co Ciarraí a buaigh Duais Filíochta Michael Hartnett 2019

Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh i measc na bhfilí is fearr agus is spreagúla atá i mbun pinn le blianta beaga anuas. Is ar an bhfile Gaeilge, an Dr Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, atá Duais Filíochta Michael Hartnett 2019 á bronnadh, dá cnuasach filíochta Tost agus Allagar, atá foilsithe ag Coiscéim. Dúirt na moltóirí, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill agus Gabriel Fitzmaurice, go bhfuil Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh i measc na bhfilí is fearr agus is spreagúla atá i mbun pinn le blianta beaga anuas.

Dúirt siad gur sárchnuasach é Tost agus Allagar ina bhfuil guth an fhile le cloisteáil “óna croí amach”, í ag tagairt don ghrá, don teanga, agus don díláithriú..“Tá a héirim aigne agus a géarthuiscint ar fhoirm mar bhonn le cnuasach tathagach ar mór an pléisiúr é a léamh.” “Cé gur féidir na focail idirnáisiúnta agus comhaimseartha a lua lena saothar, tuigeann sí ina croí istigh an traidisiún arbh as di, agus a bhfuil sí ag scríobh ann.”

Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag na moltóirí chomh maith, “Ina cuid dánta faoin teanga, go háirithe faoin nGaeilge, is go snasta soiléir a chuireann sí an imní thráthúil faoi thodhchaí na Gaeilge i bhfocail, go háirithe ó tharla nach ábhar éigeantach do dhaltaí uile na tíre an Ghaeilge níos mó”. “Scríobhann sí faoi ealaín agus ealaíontóirí, árais mháithreacha is leanaí, bás agus imeacht Jean McConville gan tásc gan tuairisc, agus an cine daonna trí chéile, i mórshaothar ina léirítear raon drámatúil agus éifeacht ghéar neamhchoitianta, i dteanga lán mothúcháin agus croí.”

Ba i dTrá Lí, Co. Chiarraí, a rugadh Ailbhe, agus bhronn OÉ Gaillimh, BA, MA agus PhD uirthi. Is léachtóir le Nua-Ghaeilge i gColáiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh í. Chaith sí seal i mbun staidéir agus ag teagasc sa Fhrainc, agus bronnadh scoláireacht Fullbright uirthi agus chaith sí bliain i Nua-Eabhrac.  Roghnaíodh dán Ailbhe ‘Filleadh ar an gCathair’ mar dhán na hÉireann d’Uachtaránacht an AE in 2013, agus bhí sí ar an ngearrliosta do ‘A Poem for Ireland’ RTÉ in 2015.

Coimisiúnaíodh í chun dán a chumadh do chomóradh na Cásca sa Ghairdín Cuimhneacháin i rith 2016. I measc na leabhar atá foilsithe aici tá Péacadh, (Coiscéim 2008), Tost agus Allagar (Coiscéim, 2016) agus an bailiúchán dátheangach The Coast Road (Gallery Press, 2016). In 2019 d’fhoilsigh Cois Life na haistriúcháin ón bhFraincis a rinne sí ar shaothar le Andrée Chedid mar chuid den tsraith ‘File ar Fhile’.

Cúis áthais d’Ailbhe Duais Filíochta Michael Hartnett 2019 a bhuachan agus bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá aici: “Is iarracht atá san fhilíocht a scríobhaim an domhan mórthimpeall orm a thuiscint agus ciall a bhaint as an méid atá ag tarlú i m’intinn féin.  É sin ráite, tá an-spéis agam in eispéiris nach mbaineann liom féin; sílim go bhfuil deis ar leith ann an chomhbhá a chothú san fhilíocht, tréith ar cuid suntais é i saothar Michael Hartnett. Is dóigh liom go mbeidh tóir i gcónaí ag an gcine daonna ar an bhfilíocht, i scríbhinn nó i meán de shaghas éigin eile. Is ionann dán agus paidir shaolta, agus bíonn amanna áirithe ann i rith an tsaoil nuair is é sin go díreach atá á lorg ag an anam.”

“Is dearbhú é Duais Michael Hartnett ar an mbunús atá le scríobh i gceachtar teanga, nó sa dá theanga, go deimhin”. “Is ábhar iontais é saothar liteartha Hartnett, mar fhile Béarla agus Gaeilge, agus mar aistritheoir ón nGaeilge, Spáinnis agus teangacha eile. Ó tharla go ndíríonn Tost agus Allagar ar théama na teanga agus ar mhóid chumarsáide, is pribhléid ar leith é go bhfuil Duais Michael Harnett á bronnadh orm i mbliana.”

Tá Oifig Cultúir agus Ealaíon Chomhairle Cathrach agus Contae Luimnigh agus an Chomhairle Ealaíon ag tacú le Duais Filíochta Michael Hartnett 2019. Bronntar an duais ar chnuasaigh i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla gach dara bliain, agus is fiú €4,000 an duais. Bronnfar an duais ar an Dr Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh i Leabharlann an Chaisleáin Nua, ar an Déardaoin, an 3 Deireadh Fómhair, ag 8in.

It will be presented to Dr Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh at the opening of Éigse Michael Hartnett on Thursday 3 October at 8 pm in Newcastle West Library. Éigse Michael Hartnett Literary and Arts Festival takes place between the 3 – 5 October at various locations around Newcastle West.

For more information on the Eigse Michael Hartnett Literary and Arts Festival click here.

For more stories on Upcoming Festivals click here.

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