Poet Sam Hazo, head of the International Poetry Forum, was perusing some verses in praise of the beauty of the Celtic tongue one day when it occurred to him that it would be a great idea to have Irish poetry read with harp music as it was in the Irish countryside hundreds of years ago. The result is "Kindred to the Wind," a program at The Barns of Wolf Trap tonight and tomorrow night in which Irish poet Thomas Kinsella will read his translations of pre-1900 "Poems of the Dispossessed" and from his own work. Barbara Murphy, a Silver Spring high school music teacher who is one of America's leading Irish harpers, will then sing the poems in the original Gaelic, accompanying herself on her custom-made Irish harp, which is smaller than a classical harp.
"Poetry and music in Ireland were very closely allied over the centuries, and Ireland's most famous poet, Carolan, who lived early in the 18th century, was a blind harper and poet," said Anne Burnham, former executive director of the Pittsburgh-based poetry forum who arranged, when she moved here last year with her banker husband, to have its programs reproduced in Washington. Ireland's ambassador to America, Tadhg O'Sullivan, will introduce both programs.