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Read a speech that Eavan Boland gave at the launch of IMAGINARY BONNETS WITH REAL BEES IN THEM in the PN Review, Sept.–Oct. 2016Listen to Paula Meehan and Eavan Boland discuss IMAGINARY BONNETS WITH REAL BEES IN THEM on Arena, RT� Radio 1, 14 June 2016Listen to Michael Longley, Harry Clifton and Paula Meehan in conversation
with Arminta Wallace of The Irish Times at the Dublin Book Festival 2015
Listen to Michael Longley, Harry Clifton and Paula Meehan on being
Ireland Professors of Poetry and UCD Press's The Poet's Chair series on Arena,
RTE Radio One, 22 June 2015
Read Michael Longley, Harry Clifton and Paula Meehan being interviewed
about The Poet's Chair in The Irish Times, 22 June 2015

Imaginary Bonnets with Real Bees in Them

Paula Meehan (author)
Publication date:
10th June 2016

Author Biography

Paula Meehan was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College Dublin and at Eastern Washington University. She has published six original award winning collections of poetry: Return and No Blame (1984), Reading the Sky (1986), The Man Who Was Marked by Winter (1991), Pillow Talk (1994), Dharmakaya (2000) and Painting Rain (2009). She has also written plays for adults and children and has held residencies in universities, in prisons and in the wider community. She has received the Butler Literary Award for Poetry, presented by the Irish American Cultural Institute, the Marten Toonder Award for Literature, the Denis Devlin Award (for Dharmakaya), and the PPI Award for Radio Drama. In 2015 she received the Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry and was inducted into the Hennessy Literary Hall of Fame. Meehan is a member of Aosdana and was Ireland Professor of Poetry from 2013 to 2016. Geomaniic, a new collection of poems, is forthcoming autumn 2016.


Imaginary Bonnets with Real Bees in Them is the third volume in UCD Press's The Poet's Chair series, publishing the public lectures of the Ireland Professors of Poetry. The Ireland Chair of Poetry was established in 1998 following the award of the Nobel Prize of Literature to Seamus Heaney and is supported by Queen's University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaion. Michael Longley's and Harry Clifton's lectures were published in 2015. Paula Meehan's volume of The Poet's Chair meditates on poetry and mythology, geology and the environment, teachers and the lyric, bees and bears, genetics, memory, personal history, and much else. In three wide-ranging lectures she charts a contemporary poet's relationship with community (emblematised by bees), family (emblematised by bears), and selfhood (emblematised by water). Upon her appointment as the Ireland Professor of Poetry, Meehan was praised as a poet of solidarity, whose work upheld the dignity of the human spirit and skilfully blended a shared and personal history.Now at the end of her tenure, this illuminating volume of her writings as Chair gives a remarkable insight into the creative processes of a poet who has contributed so much to the craft of Irish poetry.