Reader's Encyclopedia

Colum, Padraic (1881-1972)

Irish poet and dramatist, resident in the U.S. after 1914. Colum was associated the the IRISH RENAISSANCE and the Irish Nation Theatre (later the ABBEY THEATRE) with William Butler YEATS, A.E. (q.v.), LADY GREGORY, and J. M. SYNGE. That theatre saw production of his two naturalistic dramas, Broken Soul (1903; rev as The Fiddler's House, 1907) and Thomas Muskerry (1910). His plays, however, showed less promise than his poetry, which was appreciated for its lyricism and rich celebration of the language of rural Ireland. Colum's volumes of verse include the early poems in Wild Earth (1907), about Irish country life, Poems (1932; rev as Collected Poems, 1953), and Images of Departure (1968)/ Many of his poems, notable "She Passed Through the Fair," have been set to music and are familiar as songs. He also wrote books on folklore, travel books, and novels, including Castle Conquer (1923), and The Flying Swans (1957). With his wife, Mary, he wrote Our Friend James Joyce (1958).

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