Peter Duffy stars in a powerful theatrical performance of Patrick Kavanagh’s poem ‘The Great Hunger’

Peter Duffy’s powerful theatrical performance of Patrick Kavanagh’s poem ‘The Great Hunger’ has been touring the country for the past year to popular and critical acclaim.

Peter Duffy’s powerful theatrical performance of Patrick Kavanagh’s poem ‘The Great Hunger’ has been touring the country for the past year to popular and critical acclaim.

This tour has included performances in the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris and the Cathedral Quarter Festival in Belfast.

Kavanagh is generally regarded as one of the foremost poets of the twentieth century and his works include the renowned novel ‘Tarry Flynn’ and the poems ‘On Raglan Road’ and, of course, ‘The Great Hunger’.

Louise Bogan said in ‘The New Yorker’ that the poet had “an astonishing talent” that “kept renewing itself not so much by a process of orderly growth as by a continual breaching of boundaries”.

Richard Murphy in ‘The New York Times Book Review’ describes ‘The Great Hunger’ as “a great work” and Robin Skelton in ‘Poetry’ praised it as “a vision of mythic intensity”.

Generally considered to be Patrick Kavanagh’s finest work ‘The Great Hunger’ sharply delineates a life of economic and imaginative privation.

A large part of the hunger the poem describes is sexual; its protagonist is bachelor farmer Patrick Maguire who has spent years at his mother’s beck and call.

When she finally dies aged 91 years of age he himself is 65 and has missed the boat in terms of finding a wife and having a family of his own, a source of acute sorrow and regret to him.

Peter Duffy himself grew up on a small Monaghan farm so has a ready affinity for Kavanagh’s material which informs and shines through his absorbing interpretation of the work.

Don’t miss ‘The Great Hunger’ at the The Source Arts Centre in Thurles on Thursday, January 22nd at 8pm.

Tickets are priced at €15 (€12 concession and €10 for students). For all bookings please call the box office on 0504 90204 or visit www.thesourceartscentre.ie.