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There Was Fire In Vancouver

Sinead Morrissey

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ISBN: 978 1 857542 30 1
Categories: 20th Century, First Collections, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: May 1996
216 x 134 x 6 mm
64 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • 'There Was Fire in Vancouver'

    There was fire in Vancouver,
    And we leaned out into the night to watch it
    Set light to the East End.
    It had taken stand on Commercial Avenue.

    We marvelled at the darkness of the city,
    All neon dulled by the superior flame,
    And wondered would it bestow its dance
    On the Ginseng Teahouse in Chinatown, on Jericho Pier.

    There were no sirens, hoses, buckets even,
    Scattering streets and 'Fire!''Fire!'
    We seemed the only ones conscious of the bright crusade
    And we watched with Moses standing in our heads.

    There Was Fire in Vancouver is Sinéad Morrissey's first book of poems. Organised as a journey from communism to spiritual affirmation, from life in Ireland to life abroad, and return, from security and dependence on family in particular, to independence and security in the self, it memorably evokes what it is to grow up. Poems of childhood and communist upbringing are followed by poems about death, love, its loss; and several deal with angels and the implications of religious faith.

    Affected by the poets of Northern Ireland, Sinéad acknowledges a particular debt to the Welsh poet R.S. Thomas, remarking on his 'absolute clarity of language and the directness of a vision which is both beautiful and terrifying.' She adds, 'Thomas inspires me because he is absolutely faithful to his own poetic concerns, regardless of a predominantly atheistic environment and changing literary fashions. He teaches that half the battle is knowing what not to listen to.' Sinéad Morrissey's poems seldom fall short of the ideals she sets herself.
    Sinéad Morrissey was born in 1972 and grew up in Belfast. She read English and German at Trinity College, Dublin, from which she took her PhD in 2003. She has been a contributor to PN Review since 1994. Her five collections are There Was Fire in Vancouver (1996), Between Here and ... read more
    Awards won by Sinead Morrissey Winner, 2017 The Forward Prize for Best Collection (On Balance) Winner, 2017 Poetry Book Society Choice (On Balance) Winner, 2009 T.S Eliot Prize
    (The State of the Prisons)
    Winner, 2014 Irish Times Poetry Now Award
    Short-listed, 2013 Forward Prize for Best Collection (Parallax) Joint winner, 2005 Michael Hartnett Award for Poetry
    (The State of the Prisons)
    Short-listed, 2005 T.S. Eliot Prize
    (The State of the Prisons)
    Winner, 2002 Rupert and Eithne Strong Award
    (Between Here and There)
    Winner, 2002 MaCaulay Fellowship
    Short-listed, 2002 T.S. Eliot Prize
    (Between Here and There)
    Winner, 1996 An Eric Gregory Award
    (There Was Fire In Vancouver)
    Winner, 1990 Patrick Kavanagh Award Short-listed, 2005 Irish Times Poetry Prize
    (The State of the Prisons)
    Short-listed, 2005 John Llewellyn Rhys Commonwealth Literature Prize
    (The State of the Prisons)
    Winner, 2005 Poetry Book Society Recommendation
    (The State of the Prisons)
    Winner, 2007 Lannan Literary Fellowship
    Winner, 2013 T S Eliot Prize for Poetry (Parallax) Winner, 2009   Poetry Book Society Choice
    (Through the Square Window)
    Praise for Sinead Morrissey 'Morrissey's clarity and confidence mean that On Balance approaches each of her subjects with great fluency and command' The Irish Times 'The outstanding poet of her generation.'
    Stephen Knight, Independent
    'In a year of brilliantly themed collections, the judges were unanimous in choosing Sinéad Morrissey'€™s Parallax as the winner. Politically, historically and personally ambitious, expressed in beautifully turned language, her book is as many-angled and any-angled as its title suggests.'
    Ian Duhig, Chair of the 2013 T S Eliot Prize Judges
    'One of the most gifted of yet another generation of talented Irish poets.'
    The Independent on Sunday.
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