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Paul Durcan
Paul Durcan

Celebrated Irish Poet

NYS Writers Institute, March 14, 2002
4:00 p.m. Seminar | Humanities 354
5:30 p.m. Reading | Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center
Introduction by Professor Harry Staley

Poet Paul Durcan may be best known in this country as a former vocalist for the rock group "Van Morrison," but back in his native Ireland he has been cultivating a large and devoted following for his poetry for more than thirty years. He is the author of seventeen critically acclaimed volumes of poetry, including most recently Cries of an Irish Caveman (2001). Durcan has long been celebrated for a lyrical, freewheeling style that rejoices in the ordinary pleasure of daily life while still fiercely addressing his country's most pressing political concerns. Durcan has also acquired a reputation for being something of a performance artist as well, bringing a wild vibrant energy to his readings that raises them to the level of a dramatic event. But it is Durcan's poetry that has always held the spotlight.


"His readings are famous." - James Simmons, The Spectator

"The dislocated, conversational vernacular of his zany verse-narratives made him an excellent performer of his own work, associating him with performance poets such as Allen Ginsberg and the Liverpool Beat poets rather than the mainstream." - Bernard O'Donaghue, Times Literary Supplement

"Paul Durcan's Ireland is one we inhabit. At times he is ready to celebrate the bizarre and the ordinary; at other times he is full of a surreal rage against both order and disorder." - Colm Toibin, Times Literary Supplement

"One of the most original and undaunted imaginations at work." - Seamus Heaney

In his most recent collection, Cries of an Irish Caveman (2001), Durcan uses his powers of lyricism and wit to address the themes of love and loss, life and death. In four distinct story-like sections, Durcan relives past relationships and loves, revisits the people, places, and mysteries of his beloved Ireland, meditates on his feelings regarding his daughter's marriage, and in the fourth, widely acclaimed section, recognized by some as his most daring work to date, Durcan bears in its full complexity the brutal, beautiful tale of his own 20th century romance. Said Roger McGough of the Sunday Tribune, "For him poetry is story-telling...Paul Durcan's poetry sings."

His previous works include, Greetings of Our Friends from Brazil (1999), A Snail in My Prime: New and Selected Poems (1995), Daddy, Daddy (1990), which won the Whitbread Poetry Prize, The Berlin Wall Cafe (1985), which was selected the Poetry Book Society Choice and regarded by many as his most important work, The Selected Paul Durcan (1982), and Endsville (1967), among others.

Additional Link:
Writers Online Magazine Article

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.