The great Irish poet F.R. Higgins summed up the essence of Irish poetry in 1939:
"Irish poets are believers - heretical believers, maybe - but they have the spiritual buoyancy of a belief in something. The sort of belief I see in Ireland is a belief emanating from life, from nature, from revealed religion, and from the nation. A sort of dream that produces a sense of magic; indeed there are few signs of the awful sense of respect for words which poetry demands."
This hour, in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day, we look at the rich literary tradition of Irish poets look from W.B. Yeats to Seamus Heaney, with a special focus on contemporary Irish poets and the issues they are tackling today.
Greg Delanty, lecturer at St. Michael's College in Vermont, his most recent collection of poems is "The Blind Stitch"
Owen Dudley Edwards, professor of history at the Edinburgh University
Liam O'Muirthile, one of the leading contemporary Irish poets writing in the Irish language, his most recent collection of poems is "Walking Time and Other Poems"
Eavan Boland, professor of English at Stanford University
author of nine collections of poetry
This program aired on March 15, 2002.