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Egg/Shell

Victoria Kennefick

Cover of Egg/Shell by Victoria Kennefick
10% off all versions
Categories: 21st Century, Irish, LGBTQ+, Second Collections, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (120 pages)
(Pub. Feb 2024)
9781800173835
£11.99 £10.79
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Feb 2024)
9781800173842
£9.59 £8.63
Digital access available through Exact Editions
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • The Poetry Book Society Spring Choice 2024

    ‘It is hard to hurt and then explain the hurt away / so as not to hurt anyone. But have you seen / my life?’ (‘Child of Lir’)

    The lives depicted by Victoria Kennefick alter, shatter and recombine in stunning monologues, innovative hybrid forms and piercing lyrics: her second book Egg/Shell is a diptych, a double album, which explores early motherhood and miscarriage, and the impact of a spouse's gender transition and the dissolution of a marriage. Acclaimed as one of the boldest poetic voices to emerge in recent years, Kennefick, in the follow-up to her best-selling Eat or We Both Starve, breaks new ground with generosity, emotional complexity, formal ingenuity and wit.
    Victoria Kennefick grew up in Cork and lives in Kerry. Her debut collection, Eat or We Both Starve (Carcanet Press, 2021), won the Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize and the Dalkey Book Festival Emerging Writer of the Year Award. It was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Costa Poetry ... read more
    Awards won by Victoria Kennefick Commended, 2024 The Poetry Book Society Spring Choice
    (Egg/Shell)
    Winner, 2022 The Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize 2022 (Eat Or We Both Starve) Winner, 2022 The Emerging Writer of the Year in the Dalkey Literary Awards (Eat Or We Both Starve) Short-listed, 2022 The Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry
    (Eat Or We Both Starve)
    Short-listed, 2022 The Butler Literary Prize
    (Eat Or We Both Starve)
    Short-listed, 2021 The Costa Poetry Award (Eat Or We Both Starve) Short-listed, 2021 The T.S. Eliot Prize (Eat Or We Both Starve)
    'A voice at once shocked and desperately mourning... "Child of Lir" is one example of several here where Kennefick's capacity to navigate the near-impossible, while maintaining her writerly composure, allows the poem's rigging to reorientate her in this new world.'

    Declan Ryan, The Irish Times

    'If grief is love with nowhere to go, Victoria Kennefick has found a place to rest hers in Egg/Shell... Kennefick handles these losses admirably, with such graceful skill and humour. Full of heart-learning, this powerful collection recalls Shelley's sleeping swan which "doth float / upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing". Read it and weep.'

    Jo Clement, The Poetry Book Society Bulletin

    'Visceral poems about motherhood are two-a-penny right now. But Kennefick's work doesn't end with an easy applause line, or the invitation to a sisterly high-five... This collection dives into uncomfortable exposure and the reality of raising children. With her partner's gender transition described later in the book, the theme of vulnerability becomes almost unbearably poignant. This is red meat served not just rare but still moving.'

    Graeme Richardson, The Times

    'If you're wondering how life can be captured in achingly beautiful poetry, look no further. I doubt I'll come across a better collection this year.'
    Rebecca Foster, Bookish Beck
    Praise for Victoria Kennefick 'Visceral bliss'

    Amy Acre, The White Review

    'a miracle of a book: brave, political, telling'

    Paul Perry, Sunday Independent Dublin

    'A debut that approaches its theme via the Irish Famine, Catholicism and Freudian fantasies of cannibalism.'

    Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph Best New Poetry Books 2021

    'Sensuous and sometimes shocking'

    Seán Hewitt, Irish Times Best Books of the Year 2021

    'Kennefick expertly conveys the overwhelmingness of her project, how subjective it is, and how easily, in the process of such an interrogation, the interrogator risks both consuming and being consumed... An assured collection, captivating in its accurate and artful unearthing of taboo'

    Phoebe Walker, Times Literary Supplement

    'A collection of the sensory at times so powerful it may put you off your dinner... Here is poetry of originality'

    Katrina Naomi, The Poetry Review

    'She excels in an intellectual and emotional dance across its culture and cultural memory'

    James McGonigal, Painted.Spoken

    'A savage thing, scalding to the touch... It comes at you relentlessly, with a great and gleefully unbridled spiritedness. Handle, and read, with some care.'

    Michael Glover, The Tablet

    'Heralding the arrival of a distinctive and assured voice in Irish poetry, Victoria Kennefick's Eat or We Both Starve is daring, visceral and replete with unsettling images... Few collections arrest a reader with such intensity from the opening poem, and even fewer manage to hold that thrill over the course of many poems, but Kennefick's does... It is a testament to Kennefick's skill that Eat or We Both Starve can balance this intelligence inside poems that are also great fun to read, full of surprising images, formal dexterity, and a voice both consistent and pliable.'

    Seán Hewitt, The Irish Times

    'This audacious debut collection of fleshly poems is the best I've come across so far this year...Rich with imagery and alliteration.'

    Bookish Beck

    'Kennefick is unforgiving when assessing the male gaze or anything that limits her women, any fear that is stoked around the female body and the corporeality of femaleness ... This is a mature collection by a poet who has lived.'

    Liz Quirke, Books Ireland

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