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Pearse Hutchinson Archive celebration and the launching of a new collection of his poems in the Library

The Library is hosting an event to celebrate the depositing of the Pearse Hutchinson Archive and the launching of a new collection of his poems "Listening to Bach" on Thursday 27 March at 6.30pm.

Noted as “a hugely gifted poet and a remarkable inspirational presence in Irish literature and in life", Pearse Hutchinson is one of the most influential Irish poets of the last century and his volumes of poetry, letters, translations and paintings will enjoy pride of place in NUI Maynooth Library. The archive will showcase not only his work, but also provides a fascinating insight into the cultural, historical and social fabric of both Ireland and Europe throught20th century.

Please note that the large group study room will be unavailable for the duration of this event.


Born in Glasgow, Pearse Hutchinson was five years old when his family moved to Dublin. Both his parents were Irish and had been active supporters of Sinn Fein. His father, a printer, was interned in Frongoch from 1919 to 1921. His mother was a friend of Countess Markievicz, and Hutchinson’s collection includes a painting of his mother by the Countess and correspondence between the two.
Hutchinson studied Spanish and Italian and travelled extensively, living in Spain for almost a decade, where he developed a deep love of the Catalan and Galician language, culture and literature. During a long career, he published several volumes of poetry and a series of translations from Italian, Catalan and Galaico-Portuguese. Known as a truly original poet, he was a frequent contributor to radio and print media, writing a regular Irish language column for the RTÉ Guide and hosting a weekly RTÉ Radio 1 programme of Irish poetry, music and folklore, Óró Domhnaigh. A co-editor and founder of the literary journal Cyphers, Ireland’s longest-running poetry magazine, and an active member of Aosdána, he received the Butler Award for Irish writing in 1969. In the early 1970s he took up the Gregory fellowship in poetry at the University of Leeds.

Hutchinson’s poems were first published in The Bell literary magazine in 1945. In the early 1950s he became interested in Irish language poetry, having been influenced by writers such as Piaras Feirtéar. His collections of poetry, in Irish and English, include Tongue Without Hands (1963), Faoistín Bhacach (1968), Expansions (1969), Watching the Morning Grow (1973), The Frost Is All Over (1975), Climbing the Light (1985), Le Cead na Gréine (1989), The Soul that Kissed the Body (1991) and Barnsley Main Seam (1995). His Collected Poems was published on his 75th birthday in 2002.

A truly international poet, Hutchinson translated numerous work, including  an Italian anthology of medieval Irish lyrics, Antica Lirica Irlandese and Done into English, a selection of many of the translations he had produced of more than sixty poets from over a dozen languages or dialects, including Catalan, Italian, Dutch, Milanese and Irish.  Books of his poetry were translated into Castilian in 1991, Italian in 1997, and Galician in 2002.

The archive, which Declan Kiberd  has called called ‘an alternative cultural history of Ireland’ will be of interest to literary scholars and historians alike and will be developed over the next 12 months, with an archivist documenting and assembling the various materials. The archive will subsequently go on public view at NUI Maynooth’s library on the South campus. Future plans include a conference celebrating Hutchinson in early 2015 drawing on the ongoing cataloguing of the archive.