James Joyce's Pomes Penyeach | 2022 Tour Paris, Bruxelles, Berlin

St Patrick’s Festival 2020 presents a world premiere of poetry, music and song featuring the poetry of James Joyce interpreted by Matthew Nolan and Adrian Crowley in collaboration with Lisa Hannigan.

James Joyce’s second and last book of poetry, Pomes Penyeach, was published in 1927. A collection of 12 poems and a tilly – making it a baker’s dozen – the book sold for one shilling (12 pennies) or 12 francs, so the poems were a penny each. Pomes is also a pun on pommes (the French for apple) as Joyce wanted the cover of the book to be the colour of his favourite apple, the Calville.

Most of the poems date from between 1912 and 1924 apart from ‘Tilly’, a re-working of his poem ‘Cabra’ which was written around the time of his mother’s death in 1903 when the family were living in Cabra. Many of the poems can be traced to specific biographical moments in Joyce’s life.

The project is spearheaded by Dublin based composer, curator and academic Matthew Nolan, who discovered Joyce’s book thirty years ago and has been ‘trying to find a means of expressing that world ever since’. He enlisted the help of multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and composer Adrian Crowley to decipher this elegiac collection and an ‘astonishing musical world began to unfurl’.

Join some of Ireland’s finest contemporary musicians on a journey to comprehend love and life from the map left by Joyce’s pen. Featuring: Lisa Hannigan (vocals), Matthew Nolan (guitar), Adrian Crowley (piano & mellotron), Sean Mac Erlaine (reeds & electronics), Cora Venus Lunny (violin & viola) and Cheyenne Mize (violin).