Dr. Rióna Ní Fhrighil is a lecturer in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the National University of Ireland, Galway. She has published extensively on twentieth-century Irish poetry and literary translation and is the author of Briathra, Béithe agus Banfhilí (2008), a monograph on the poetry of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Eavan Boland. She is co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal LÉANN and of a forthcoming special edition of the international journal Translation Studies titled Translation in Ireland: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Rióna was the principal Irish-language researcher on the AHRC-funded project, The Representation of Jews in Irish Literature. In 2018 she was awarded substantial research funding under the prestigious IRC Laureate Award scheme for her project Republic of Conscience: Human Rights and Modern Irish Poetry. She is also co-director of the interdisciplinary project Aistriú, funded by Galway 2020 as part its European Capital of Culture programme.
Drawing on Seamus Heaney’s espousal of the “writer as righter” (2010), this paper will discuss the relationship between poetry, human rights, and activism in an interconnected world. What is the role of the poet in times of great crises? To what extent, if at all, have poets engaged critically with the concept of human rights itself, especially in light of the interdependency of human and non-human life forms and ecosystems? What is the relevance of the national paradigm in an era of global networks where information, capital, goods, and discourse traverse geographical and political borders? This paper will discuss the ethical and aesthetic role of poetry in what many regard as a posthuman era.