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This is Yarrow

Tara Bergin

Cover of This is Yarrow by Tara Bergin
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Categories: 21st Century, First Collections, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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Paperback (61 pages)
(Pub. Jul 2013)
£9.95 £8.96
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(Pub. Jul 2013)
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  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • …And when I woke and went to the window,
    your tender voice told me: this is yarrow,
    this is elder, this is the collared dove.

    from ‘This is Yarrow’
    The poems in Tara Bergin’s debut collection combine sensuous, supple lyricism with the unsettling familiarity of folklore, fairytale and dream. They are inhabited by characters who seem at first widely different from one another, yet share nervous energy, a troubled state of mind: ‘I am unwell, little crow, / I am unwell and far from home / where longing lives in my house’. In This is Yarrow Bergin gathers language from a wide range of sources and places to create a music and vision entirely her own.

    Looking at Lucy’s Painting of the Thames at Low Tide Without Lucy Present 
    Acting School 
    Water is Difficult 
    All Fools’ Day: An Academic Farewell 
    You Could Show a Horse 
    Himalayan Balsam for a Soldier 
    Sonnets for Tracey
    i. Permission to Fire 
    ii. Handbook 
    iii. X Prostitutism 
    iv. Tambour Café, Marienstr. 16
    Composition for the Left Hand 
    Christmas Window, Armistice Day 
    Sonnet for Catherine Who Never Turned Up 
    Military School 
    White Crow 
    The Undertaker’s Tale of the Notebook Measuring 1 x 2 cm 
    Red Flag 
    The Passion Flower 
    The Sick Child, at the Time of the Diamond Jubilee 
    Bridal Song 
    The Confession 
    The Pressed Iris 
    Pilinszky at the Tenshi no Tobira 
    Swiss Station Room 
    St Patrick’s Day Address, 1920 
    Photograph of Thérèse of Lisieux Holding Lilies 
    Studying the Fresco of St Nikolai of Myra 
    At the Garage 
    from The Ballad of Tom Gun 
    Training Camp, Whit Monday 
    My Personal Injuries Claim 
    Garrison Supermarket 
    At the Lakes with Roberta 
    Portrait of the Artist’s Wife as a Younger Woman 
    If Painting Isn’t Over 
    Queen of the Rodeo 
    This is Yarrow 

    Tara Bergin has published three collections of poetry with Carcanet Press, This is Yarrow (winner of the Seamus Heaney Prize for Poetry), The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx (shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot and Forward Prizes) and Savage Tales (shortlisted for the Pigott Poetry Prize). ... read more
    Awards won by Tara Bergin Short-listed, 2023 The Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry
    (Savage Tales)
    Short-listed, 2023 The Pigott Poetry Prize (Savage Tales) Short-listed, 2018 Irish Times Poetry Now Award (The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx) Short-listed, 2017 Listowel Writers' Week Irish Poem of the Year ('Bride and Moth', published in The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx)  Short-listed, 2017 The T.S. Eliot Prize (The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx) Short-listed, 2017 The Forward Prize for Best Collection (The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx) Commended, 2017 Poetry Book Society Recommendation  (The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx) Winner, 2014 Shine/Strong Poetry Award Winner, 2014 Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Full Collection Short-listed, 2014 Irish Times Poetry Now Award
    'Bergin succeeds in creating a clear voice and a dramatic situation. This is Yarrow is primarily a book of monologues, establishing voices whose skewed attitudes invite an engaged critical response from the reader. The monologues are sometimes reminiscent of Paul Durcan and at other times Sylvia Plath and they can be very cutting and funny at the expense of their speakers.'
    John McAuliffe, Irish Times
    Praise for Tara Bergin 'Savage Tales is generous and humane and utterly compelling... Quite a lot of everything is within this extraordinary book.'
    Stephen Sexton, Irish Times
    'The poems, or poetic fragments, in Savage Tales seem to quiver with a strange, uncanny sense that something is always about to happen. Bergin's third collection manages to be both compelling and disturbing and yet also, somehow, filled with joy too.'
    Katy Mack, The Poetry Society

    'It is a book of puzzles, paradoxes, oddities and fragmented observations... these tiny stories feel sinister and unsettling'
    Andy Croft, Morning Star
    'Eleanor Marx forms the locus for Bergin's exploration of the range of ways in which women's lives are disrupted and destabilized... this sense of the interior bleeds across the poems.'
    Ian Pople, The North, the Irish Issue
     'Loss, separation and desertion are all laid out for inspection as on a laboratory table to be coolly appraised... There is nothing cosy about Tara Bargin's poetry'
    Sean Sheehan, The Prism
     'Bergin's rhythms draw on nursery rhymes, but beneath them is something like an unconscious longing for depth, tugging the simplicity of the sounds out of shape.'
    Joanne O'Leary, The TLS

    'Hers is an original voice of great power that flicks between speech and song, and between the borrowed and the wholly owned, with consummate ease.'
    W.N Herbert (Chair of the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize Judging Panel)

    'Contains much hidden art, paring its gothic verse with an impressive precision of feeling and deftness of technique. All killer and no filler, it is the best book in contention.'
    Jeremy Noel-Tod on the 2018 T.S. Eliot Prize shortlist, The Sunday Times

    'Eleanor Marx, daughter of Karl, wrote the first English translation of Madame Bovary, and it is Bovary's spirit that haunts these slender, allusive lyrics in many voices, all hint and subtext. The brilliant title poem concludes, with a wink, ''Nearly all of this is true''. One piece takes the form of footnotes to a missing page; it's the perfect symbol for Dublin-born Bergin's riddling second collection as a whole.'
    Tristram Fane Saunders, The Daily Telegraph

    Voted top of the poetry polls by Irish Times readers in the 2017 Ticket Awards 'Bergin's collection is ambitious in ideas and form. She juggles theoretical and formal concerns, slipping between jarring syntax and musical, lyrical phrases with an impressive ease that, at its best, mixes ironic detachment with authentic emotional response. This collection wrangles skilfully with allusion, fragmentary forms and the poet’s own processes of composition.'
    The Scores

    An Irish Times Best Book of the Year 2017 'Bergin's best poems have an atmosphere of unassuming sadness.'
    The Times Best Books of the Year 2017

    'The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx seems to step into the breach and breathe new, memorable ways into writing the underexplored past.'
    The Poetry School

     'Bergin's collection is a hall of mirrors and its reflections are comic, grotesque and extraordinary.'
    John Field on the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize shortlist newsletter

      'Bergin's Gothic imagination - precise, claustrophobic, yet full of vertiginous perspectives - makes her a perfect guide to these frightened, frightening times.'
    New Statesman

      'An exhilarating read, daring, original and very funny.'
    John McAuliffe, The Irish Times
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