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The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx
RRP: GBP 7.99
ISBN: 978 1 784103 81 1
Categories: 21st Century, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: July 2017
88 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle)
Digital access available through Exact Editions
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Shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize
A 2017 Poetry Book Society Recommendation
Shortlisted for The Forward Prize for Best Collection 2017
Shortlisted for the 2018 Irish Times Poetry Now Award
Features the poem 'Bride and Moth', shortlisted for the 2017 Listowel Writers' Week Irish Poem of the Year Award
Following her 2013 debut This is Yarrow (winner of the Seamus Heaney Prize and the Shine / Strong Award), Tara Bergin returns with her second collection, The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx. The poems draw on folksong, fairytale and theatrical monologue as Bergin explores the alluring and sometimes tragic consequences of translation. When she committed suicide in 1898, Eleanor Marx (daughter of Karl Marx, pioneering sociologist, and translator of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary) imitated Flaubert’s heroine, Emma. Both women, in their own ways, died passionate deaths, and Bergin’s poems are concerned with intense love, intense grief. With a sing-song rhythm and dark humour, they play off the natural theatricality of great lovers, great writers and great readers who, like the fancy-dressed children in ‘Mask’, are both ‘themselves and strangers’. ‘That’s all they wanted.’
Awards won by Tara Bergin 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
'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 poetâs own processes of composition.'
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.'
'An exhilarating read, daring, original and very funny.'
John McAuliffe, The Irish Times
Praise for Tara Bergin '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
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