Jane Clarke interviews, books of the year & poem features

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. 


Shine: A Summer Concert, RTE One TV, 8.15pm, Saturday 29 August 2020, RTE Radio 1, Sunday 30 August, 6pm

RTE commissioned Jane Clarke to write a new poem for a special concert to support artists during this time of Covid-19. It was broadcast on RTE television on the 29th August. Irish/Sierra Leonean ArtSoul musician & actress Loah read Jane’s poem ‘Little Tern Colony, Kilcoole’.  The concert was broadcast on RTE Radio the following day.  It was RTE's pick of the day on 29 August.

This hour of music and words filmed at the Iveagh Gardens, the National Concert Hall and at RTÉ over the summer.  Threaded throughout, there is powerful commissioned spoken word and poetry from John Boyne, Jane Clarke and others.

Watch here (this link may only work in Ireland).  Loah’s reading is the penultimate piece. 

A video of Loah reading the poem can be seen via RTE One’s facebook page here.
A film of Jane Clarke herself reading the poem was made by RTE for Illuminations.  View here. You can also read the poem and Jane's introduction to it.
Jane reads her poem 'Little Tern Colony, Kilcoole' as part of RTE's major online exhibition exploring the impact of Covid-19. Illuminations, an online gallery of 30 works, features visual art, photography, film, music, poetry, essays and spoken word.

Shine: A Summer Music Concert, RTE Radio 1, 6pm, Sunday 30 August 2020

Jane’s poem, read by Loah, was the last item. From 47:42. Listen here.

RTE are also working on a digital gallery to accompany the poem. Jane was invited to go to Dublin at the end of August to be filmed reading her new poem ‘Little Tern Colony, Kilcoole’.



CountryWide, RTE Radio 1, Saturday 6 June 2020, 8.05am
Jane Clarke was interviewed on RTE Radio 1’s farming and rural life programme CountryWide on 6 June. She was talking to Ella McSweeney as they went for a walk together in the hills close to Jane’s home in Glenmalure. She spoke about how her memories of growing up on a farm in Roscommon were unlocked when she started to write in her forties, and about how she hopes that people will hold on to the new-found respect for the environment and nature that has emerged during lockdown.

Jane read the first poem she ever wrote – ‘Daily Bread’ from her debut collection The River - and also ‘Kelly’s Garden’, the final poem in her 2019 second collection When the Tree Falls, which names the fields of her family farm in Roscommon.

Jane grew up on a farm in Co Roscommon, but left for Dublin when she was 17.  Many of her poems draw on images of the natural world and on the landscapes of Roscommon and Co Wicklow, where she has lived for the past 20 years.  The recent feature she presented for BBC Radio 4 saw her walking the 19km Miners’ Way through the valleys and mountains of Wicklow.
Listen via RTE Radio Player here. It's a separate podcast illustrated with a photo of Jane in her kitchen.

Leeds Irish Music Program, ELFM (East Leeds FM), Tuesday 2 June 2020, 6.30-7.30pm

East Leeds FM has teamed up with the Irish Music Foundation in Leeds to begin a series of four radio shows focusing on Irish music/culture in four regions of Ireland. The first show is featuring Sligo, Mayo and Roscommon.

Jane Clarke spoke about growing up on a farm in Co Roscommon, and how she found herself drawing on that experience many years after leaving the farm when she began to write poetry in her forties.  She read her poems ‘Copper Soles’ and ‘Camping at Bearna’ from When the Tree Falls.
Listen via ELFM here (from 01:06:03).


The Poetry Programme: Poems in a Pandemic, RTE Radio 1, Monday 1 June 2020, 1.30pm

Jane Clarke and Kerry Hardie both read new poems on this very moving special edition of The Poetry Programme broadcast on Ireland’s Bank Holiday, 1 June.

Both poems were written in April, and are included on Manchester Writing School’s WRITE where we are NOW website, which gathers together poems written in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jane Clarke’s ‘First Earlies’ was written in Glenmalure on 21 April 2020.

‘On Bank Holiday Monday, at 1:30 pm on 1st June, Olivia O'Leary presents a selection of poems from poets responding to the Covid 19 crisis in Poems in a Pandemic: a Poetry Programme Special.’

Kerry features at 15:09 and Jane at 22:58.
Listen via the Poetry Programme's webpages here.


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.

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. 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', followed by a clip from the end of the programme.

‘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 8 June 2020. Listen here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000htr0


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.

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).
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)
Click here 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.
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
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 here.



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.
Jane’s poem ‘Cypress’ from When the Tree Falls is featured on Elementum Journal’s website in the ‘Featured Writing’ section. Click here to read.
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.
Click here to read the interview extract.  Our author photograph was taken by Elementum to accompany that feature.


[24 April 2020]

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