When poet Lola Ridge died in 1941, the New York Times described her as one of the leading poets of America, but, until recent years, she has been largely forgotten.
Born in Dublin, growing up in Australia and New Zealand, she left her husband (a move that echoed her mother’s life) to move to Australia, and from there emigrated to the United States in her 30s, where she re-invented herself.
She played a central role in the world of modernist poetry, became a committed anarchist, and was one of the first poets to write about human rights, women’s lives, race riots and the dangers of fascism. She believed that poetry could make a difference.
She maintained a life-long interest in the country of her birth, writing poems about Jim Larkin and the Easter Rising, and her legacy can be seen in the work of today’s politically-committed poets, both Irish and international.
Contributors include her biographer Terese Svoboda, poet Sarah Clancy, Lucy Collins, Associate Professor in the School of English, Drama and Film at University College Dublin, Robert Pinsky, former poet laureate consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, and composer Seán Doherty. Lola Ridge’s poems are read by Cathy Belton.
The programme also contains settings of Ridge’s poems by composers Seán Doherty and Ned Rorem.
Presented and produced by Claire Cunningham.
Sound supervision: Tinpot Productions
A Rockfinch Production for RTÉ lyric fm funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland from the Television Licence Fee.
RTÉ lyric fm, Sunday 8th September, 6pm-7pm