Poetry Collections SpotlightPublished 27/04/2023
To join in today’s nationwide celebration of poetry, on this Poetry Day Ireland 2023, we’ve done our own little round-up of just some of the great poetry collections from this island that have just been released, or are coming very soon, and all are brimming with a wonderful selection of poems to enjoy.
Nightlight is the long-awaited first collection by Mark Ward; a journey through a city and a reaching towards whatever light can be found; be that in a sex club, with a board game, a new friendship or a changing relationship. Throughout this journey, Ward feels his way back to touchstones of queer history as well as trying to make himself at home in his surroundings and his increasingly rebellious brain. These poems, deeply attuned to craft and form, mark the arrival of a fearless new voice in Irish poetry addressing sexuality, mental health, and the intricacies of relationships with a fresh eye and fierce command
Published by Salmon Poetry in February 2023. Available here
The Book of Trivialities, written by celebrated Iraqi poet Majed Mujed and translated by award-winning translator Kareem James Abu-Zeid, is a series of evocative vignettes traversing the fraught landscapes of beauty, longing and resistance in a country at war. Originally written in the poet’s native Arabic, the book has now been beautifully rendered into English. Intricately fusing political and personal histories, these powerful lyric verses speak to the universal, undying quest for freedom that knows no borders or bounds. A profound, powerful sequence of verse from a poet who once lived through the heart of a revolution and now lives for the revolutionary heart of love. A unique bilingual book which reflects the collaborative and creative process of writers and translators working across cultures. The Book of Trivialities is the third of the Solstice Stories, an innovative series designed to celebrate the small, the brilliant, and the beautiful.
Published by Skein Press in April 2023. Available here
The Speculations of Country People, a hauntingly lyrical debut collection by Majella Kelly, reckons with the legacy of the Tuam mass grave discovered in 2017. She traces the journeys of women in our own day, from controlling relationships to sexual reawakening and new happiness. The speculations of the title are in part those of gossip, the chatter of small communities everywhere; but they are also those of a local, very Irish mythos, in which pagan and Christian – and truth and legend – blend and blur. Here, then, are hares and selkies, a seductive ‘master otter’ of ‘fabulous elegance’ who might carry a woman away in the night; here is the last man on Omey Island; here a retired stuntman, dragging his bed of rusty nails along the beach. And here – quiet, against the beauty and loneliness of the Connemara landscape – are the little bones that wash up on shores or stick from the earth to speak of what has been.
Published by Penguin in April 2023. Available here
Seo an tríú chnuasach ó Eibhlís Carcione. Baineann sí leas as an mbéaloideas is as an miotaseolaíocht chun fadhbanna na linne a chíoradh. Tá go leor téamaí sa chnuasach seo: cuimhní cinn, cumha, an phaindéim, tubaistí Chernobyl agus Fukushima, athrú aeráide agus Cogadh na Rúise sa Ucráin,
Bean Róin (Sealwoman) is the third book of poetry by Eibhlís Carcione. It weaves together folklore and mythology with the uncertainty of the modern world. Her new poems are inspired by childhood memories, grief, the Covid-19 Pandemic, disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukishima, climate change and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Published by Coscéim in April 2023. Available here
While Frank O’Connor was known primarily as one of Ireland’s finest short-story writers, he was also an accomplished translator. In Look Back to Look Forward: Frank O’Connor’s Complete Translations from Irish edited by Gregory Shirmer, collected here in full for the first time, O’Connor’s work shows an uncanny aptitude for carrying over into English verse many of the riches to be found in the originals – the ancient voice of the Hag of Beare lamenting her decline into old age; the voices of the early monks describing the Irish landscape, Irish weather, their religious faith, and, in at least one instance, their cat; the voice of Hugh O’Rourke’s wife torn between loyalty to her husband and a rising desire for her seducer. The collection includes the Irish-language sources for all 121 translations along with literal translations, enabling the reader to see what O’Connor started from. O’Connor’s translations sprang from a compulsive desire to breathe life into Ireland’s past, to ‘look back to look forward,’ as he once put it; for him the Irish-language tradition was not for scholars and archives alone, but formed a living body of work vitally relevant to an Ireland that seemed puzzlingly indifferent to it. Strikingly modern in tone, they conjoin flesh and spirit, the sacred and the secular, in a way that speaks to humankind.
Published by The Lilliput Press in April 2023. Available here
The poems in Some of These Stories are True by Maurice Devitt seek out the mystery in everyday urban life in a conversational tone, often with dark humour, exploring hints of the extraordinary in the quotidian, using a transverse section of personal experience to explicate universal themes of love, grief, anxiety, the joy of childhood, the vicissitudes of growing up and, ultimately, growing old.
Published by Doire Press in May 2023. Pre-order here