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Frost is All Over

Pearse Hutchinson, translator, poet, broadcaster, writer and member of Aosdána passed away on Jan 14th 2012 - A co-editor and founder of the literary journal Cyphers, he received the Butler Award for Irish writing in 1969 (Broadcast 2000)

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Documentary maker: Peter Woods

More Information

Frost is All Over

During a long career, Pearse Hutchinson published several volumes of poetry, was a frequent broadcaster on RTÉ radio, wrote an Irish language column for the RTÉ Guide and was also a contributor to The Irish Times and other publications. He was also a member of Aosdána.

Born in Glasgow, his father, Harry Hutchinson was a Scottish printer whose own father had left Dublin to find work in Scotland. His mother, Cathleen Sara, was born in Glasgow, of emigrant parents from Donegal. She was a friend of Constance Markievicz.

Pearse was five years old when the family moved to Dublin. He attended St. Enda's School and the Christian Brothers, Synge Street. In 1948 he attended University College Dublin where he spent a year and a half, learning Spanish and Italian.

His poems were first published in The Bell in 1945. He later visited Spain, which marked the beginning of a long love affair with the country – where he lived intermittently – and its poets. He also worked in Geneva as a translator.

In the early 1950s he became interested in Irish language poetry, having been influenced by writers such as Piaras Feirtéar. His first Irish language poems were published in Comhar . His first collection of poems in English, Tongue Without Hands, was published in 1963. In the early 1970s he took up the Gregory fellowship in poetry at the University of Leeds.

The high point of his broadcasting career was his weekly RTÉ Radio 1 programme of Irish poetry, music and folklore, Óró Domhnaigh, which ran from 1977 to 1978.

Collected Poems was published in 2002 to mark his 75th birthday, followed a year later by Done Into English, a selection of many of the translated works he produced over the years; it contains translations of more than sixty poets from over a dozen languages or dialects, including Catalan, Italian, Dutch, Milanese and Irish. 'Every poem in this book has been translated because I liked it', he explained.

A co-editor and founder of the literary journal Cyphers, he received the Butler Award for Irish writing in 1969. He was a member of Aosdána, the state-supported association of artists.

He lived in Rathgar, Dublin, and died on 14th January 2012.

Produced by Peter Woods

First broadcast 17th May 2000.

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