Launch of ‘Ethna MacCarthy: Poems’ at The Long Room, Trinity



The Librarian of Trinity College Dublin, The Lilliput Press, Gerald Dawe and Eoin O’Brien request the pleasure of your company at a unique and special event on Thursday, October 3rd 2019, at 5:30pm in The Long Room, Old Library, Trinity College Dublin.

Ethna MacCarthy: Poems, edited by Eoin O’Brien and Gerald Dawe, will be launched by the Ireland Professor of Poetry Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, with Cathy Belton to read from the book on the night.

The occasion will also mark the placement of the original poems of Ethna MacCarthy in the archive of A. J. (Con) Leventhal which is being donated to the Library by Eoin O’Brien, one of the founders of the Leventhal Travel Award in 1984.

The collection by Ethna MacCarthy (1903–59) unearths an exceptionally rich and intriguing body of work by a remarkable woman ahead of her time. Her poems contain exposed lunar and death-haunted landscapes, tales of multifaceted women, and subversive ideas around femininity. Her early writings reveal a gifted translator who artfully captures the feelings evoked by Spanish- and German-language originals, before developing a highly distinctive style of her own.

This Trinity College graduate, who became a distinguished doctor, was part of the creative milieu of a cosmopolitan, free-thinking, post- Independence Dublin. She nurtured longstanding relationships with both the playwright Denis Johnston and, most notably, Samuel Beckett (who wrote of her in Krapp’s Last Tape). She went on to marry his close friend, the critic A.J. Leventhal, among whose papers her work was discovered after his death in 1979. According to Denis Johnston, ‘she has never been shy, can be frank, and outspoken to a degree, is absolutely fearless, intolerant of mediocrity and finds it difficult to suffer fools gladly’. MacCarthy was an intellectual presence in an age that did not often promote, if at all acknowledge, the woman’s voice. This important act of retrieval honours an outstanding and singular Irish poet of the mid-twentieth century.

RSVP via the online invitation on Eventbrite:

We hope to see you there!