Jane Clarke interviews, books of the year & poem features
‘The Irish poet Jane Clarke has followed a great debut collection with an even better second book. When the Tree Falls talks about her farming father in his last years. It delivers a clean, hard-earned simplicity and a lovely sense of line.’ – Anne Enright, The Irish Times (Books of the Year 2019)
Irish poet Jane Clarke's second full-length collection When the Tree Falls
, published by Bloodaxe in September 2019, is on the shortlist for the 2020 Pigott Poetry Prize. It was also shortlisted for two other Irish poetry prizes - the Irish Times
Poetry Now Award and the Farmgate Cafe National Poetry Award 2020 - and was longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2020 for books celebrating the spirit of a place. Her lyrically eloquent poems bear witness to the rhythms of birth and death, celebration and mourning, endurance and regrowth. An elegiac sequence, inspired by the loss of her father, moves gracefully through this second collection. Jane's debut collection The River
was published by Bloodaxe in June 2015 to great acclaim.
Arena, RTE Radio 1, Tuesday 19 May 2020, 7-8pm
Jane Clarke was interviewed on Arena
, RTE Radio 1’s week-nightly arts and popular culture show, about her second collection When the Tree Falls
, which is on the three-book shortlist for the Pigott Poetry Prize 2020.
In a very moving interview, Jane spoke to Sean Rocks from her home in Glenmalure. She read and spoke about her poems ‘In Glasnevin’, ‘That I Could’ and ‘Respects’ – all from When the Tree Falls
. She ended by reading a new poem – long worked on, but only just completed – ‘The Key’.
Sean Rocks asked Jane why she thought that people have been turning to poetry during the coronavirus pandemic.
‘I think it is something about the intensity and distillation of a poem. A poem is like music, it goes straight to the heart, and I think that’s what people want at the moment.’
The interview has been posted as a separate item on Arena
’s webpages, where it is also available to download as a podcast, here
A link to the whole programme is here
BBC RADIO 4 FEATURE PRESENTED BY JANE CLARKE - CHOSEN FOR RADIO 4'S PICK OF THE WEEK
The Miners’ Way, BBC Radio 4, Sunday 3 May 2020, 4.30pm
(repeated Saturday 9 May, 11.30pm)
Beautiful half-hour BBC Radio 4 feature presented by Irish poet Jane Clarke. She reads 'Birthing the Lamb' from When the Tree Falls
, along with a new sequence of poems.
‘Irish poet Jane Clarke lives in Glenmalure, a remote and rugged valley in County Wicklow, Ireland. The valley marks the start of the Miners' Way, a long-distance path developed by a local community group, traversing three Wicklow valleys, Glenmalure, Glendalough and Glendasan, and taking in six old, disused mine sites. The Miners' Way has inspired Jane to write a sequence of poems responding to this rich natural and cultural heritage. As she walks the Miners' Way, Jane meets some of her neighbours - local historian Carmel O'Toole who shows her one of the old mining buildings, farmer Pat Dunne who tells her how sheep farming in the valleys has changed over the years, and mountain leader Charles O’Byrne who knows the area like the back of his hand. She also visits Robbie Carter, one of the few people who can talk first-hand about working in these valleys in the mining industry, which came to an end in 1957. Now in his 80s, Robbie became a miner at the age of 16. He describes his life as a miner in the mid-20th century and the story of a fatal mining accident in January 1957 when a workmate died. Robbie was seriously injured and never worked in a mine again. The poems in the programme by Jane Clarke include ‘Birthing the Lamb’ from her 2019 collection When the Tree Falls
. All other poems are new works inspired by the landscape, heritage and stories of the Miners’ Way.’
The programme will be available until 9 June 2020. Listen here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000htr0
RADIO 4'S PICK OF THE WEEK
The Miners' Way
was chosen by Antonia Quirke for her Pick of the Week
of 3 May on BBC Radio 4, beginning with Jane reading her poem 'Birthing the Lamb' and ending with an extract from the end of the programme. Listen via BBC Radio 4 here
(Jane features from 15:10, but listen to the previous item from Farming Today
from 12:25 to put this into context).
ARTICLE BY JANE CLARKE IN THE IRISH TIMES
Jane Clarke wrote about the Miners' Way of Glenmalure, Glendalough and Glendasan in The Irish Times of 1 May ahead of her BBC Radio 4 feature. Her article is here. It includes one of the new poems she has written especially for the programme. You can hear Jane read this poem on the Words Lightly Spoken podcast. Click here to listen.
POEMS ON RTE LYRIC FM'S THE LYRIC FEATURE
Jane Clarke read and introduced two poems from When the Tree Falls
on The Lyric Feature: Noon
on 16 February 2020. Click here
to listen (Jane features at 18:00). She read and spoke about her beautiful poem 'I've Got You' in the third and final programme in the series, Night
, on 23 February. Click here
to listen (Jane features at 38:00).
BOOKS OF THE YEAR FEATURES
When the Tree Falls
was one of Anne Enright's books of the year choices in The Irish Times
. The collection was well reviewed by Martina Evans in the same paper here
‘When the Tree Falls confirms Jane Clarke’s position as one of the most rewarding poets in these islands: she knows how to cut a line, how to shape words to the right instrument and then to make that thing sing.’ – Tony Curtis, Poetry Wales (Poetry Books of the Year 2019)
'Jane Clarke is a really extraordinary poet. This is only her second collection, but this is a really timeless voice. She's a poet who blends the contemporary with a great sense of the ancient and the rural. Her first collection The River was a fantastic piece of work. This new collection When the Tree Falls is focussed very much around the death of her father, but it's an incredibly celebratory poetry collection that really looks at the nuts and bolts of the actual life on a farm in Roscommon...she finds such beauty in it, with such simplicity of language. There's no sentimentality, no ornamentation; every word is incredibly honed and carries a really deep emotional weight.' - Jessica Traynor, speaking on RTE Radio 1's Arena (Poetry books of 2019)
to listen to the full review and to hear Jessica give a beautiful reading of Jane Clarke's 'When winter comes'. 1st item. See below to read Carol Rumens' comments about this poem in her Guardian
poem of the week feature.
ONLINE INTERVIEW WITH JANE CLARKE
An interview with Jane Clarke featured in the inaugural issue of The Poet Magazine
, Autumn 2019. Click here
to read. Jane comments on three of the poems from When the Tree Falls here
PODCAST INTERVIEWS WITH JANE CLARKE
While Jane was in Washington DC in October 2019, she was interviewed by Grace Cavalieri for The Library of Congress's The Poet & the Poem
series. This half-hour interview is available here
. Jane read and spoke about her poems 'When winter comes' (see below for a link to Carol Rumens' commentary on this poem), 'Hers', 'Polling Station', 'In Glasnevin', 'I've got you', 'Lullaby' and 'Kelly's Garden' from When the Tree Falls
and the title poem from The River.
Jane Clarke read and introduced her poem 'He stood at the top of the stairs' from When the Tree Falls
on the Words Lightly Spoken
PODCAST RECOMMENDATION FOR WHEN THE TREE FALLS
Slightly Foxed podcast episode 13, online 15 November 2019
Episode 13 of the Slightly Foxed podcast explores nature writing with Jay Armstrong, founder and editor of Elementum Journal, and author Juliet Blaxland.
‘This collection of poetry weaves around the death of her father… It’s just so simple, but hugely poignant and very strong writing.’ – Jay Armstrong, recommending When the Tree Falls on the Slightly Foxed podcast
Click here to listen. Jay recommended Jane Clarke’s second poetry collection When the Tree Falls at 34.34.
'These poems are rich and earthy, natural and cultivated, and When the Tree Falls
is a beautiful second collection, giving the reader not only a sense of loss, but also peace, and even joy, in the quiet memories that live on here.' - Aoife Lyall's thoughtful, in-depth review is here
'Giving vent to her love for her departed father through a shared affiliation with the rustic landscape of her formative home in Roscommon, When the Tree Falls
is a protracted and desperately moving song of loss... [a] wonderful, profoundly complete collection of poems.' - Steve Whitaker, The Yorkshire Times
. Read the full in-depth review here
Jane's poem 'When winter comes' from When the Tree Falls
was discussed by Carol Rumens in her Guardian
Poem of the Week column here
'The poems are plain-spoken and restrained: they resist easy consolation. Their austerity serves to intensify the unmediated emotion they almost don’t want to capture...a poem might be born of personal loss, but, once completed and published, it has entered a different timespan, and becomes the forge where other minds are shaped and brightened.' – Carol Rumens, on When the Tree Falls, Poem of the Week, TheGuardian.com
The Irish Times
featured 'Camping at Bearna' as their Poem of the Week on 12 October 2019 here
This piece also links to an extract the magazine’s interview with Jane Clarke from their inaugural issue after her debut collection had been shortlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize.
to read the interview extract. Our author photograph was taken by Elementum
to accompany that feature.
[24 April 2020]
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