In 1991, Paul Durcan joined Studs in the studio. His collection Daddy, Daddy (winner of the Whitbread Poetry Award) had recently come out and his next collection, Crazy About Women, was due out shortly in Ireland.

Studs starts off by asking Durcan about his father, the inspiration for Daddy, Daddy.  Durcan talks about his father’s love of history and remembers hearing his father’s stories as they drove through Ireland together:

Every townland, every hundred yards, it was another world, as remote and romantic as say China.  That’s how it was, and you can’t romanticize that.

Later, they talk about the spelling and meaning of the name Durcan.  Studs brings up the fact that neither he nor Paul Durcan have ever driven a car, referring to Ducan’s poem “Self Portrait, Nude with Steering Wheel.”  Hear them talk about the poem below, and then read it here.

Studs asks Durcan about poetry in Ireland saying, “I suppose the word ‘Irish poet’ almost sounds redundant since the language itself is so lyrical generally.”  Durcan responds by saying

All over the world poetry is born of speech; we’re still all talking to each other, making sounds.  I feel it’s a form of music.  Some people say that modern media therefore is likely to spell the end, but I see that as a misunderstanding, a contradiction.  It seems to me to fundamentally involve the opening out of the oral tradition – radio, television – it gives the possibility of expanding it.

They continue talking about the relationship between music and poetry, and then Durcan remembers a teacher who helped him learn about lyrical writing.  The clip ends with an introduction to his poem “The Virgin and Child” (click on the preview to open the entire poem).

Paul Durcan is still writing.  His latest collection was published in 2012, Praise in Which I Live and Move and Have My Being.


Photo credit: Grace Radkins, “County Kerry, 2005”

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