"One of our finest and most dedicated poets."
Poet, novelist, critic, journalist, biographer, Anthony Cronin has been a central figure in Irish letters since his first collection of poems was published in 1958. His long poem ‘RMS Titanic’ – which has been described as the best epic poem of the twentieth century – first appeared in print in the magazine X in 1961, long before the present celebrity of the Titanic. Paul Durcan has described it as “a major work”. And Derek Mahon has spoken of his own generation “recognising immediately that here was something unique and far-reaching”.
More than fifty years later, Cronin collaborated with the acclaimed traditional musician Dónal Lunny to set the poem to music. Thrilling and beautiful in itself, it surrounds and permeates the whole poem by way of an overture, linking passages between the sections, and settings for two voices and two instrumentalists. The author speaks the parts which have not been set but linked to others by music. This may be the first such collaboration between composer and poet there has been in contemporary Ireland and possibly anywhere. The result is a haunting and evocative event.
The poem is read by Anthony Cronin and sung by Dónal Lunny and Alison Slater. The music is performed by Graham Henderson and Dónal Lunny.
Presented in association with Poetry Ireland.