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The Shark Nursery

Mary O'Malley

Cover of The Shark Nursery by Mary O'Malley
10% off all versions
Categories: 21st Century, Ecopoetry, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (86 pages)
(Pub. Jun 2024)
9781800174146
£11.99 £10.79
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Jun 2024)
9781800174153
£9.59 £8.63
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • The poems of The Shark Nursery respond to a disturbed world. The experience of lockdown, of lives lived in an online reality, and of the animal world are the interlocking parts of the poems' world. The animal poems draw on the tradition of animals in Irish poetry and myth. From the wolf's touch to the rat's tweet, animals and fish refuse the roles human beings impose on them. O'Malley's animals find new language in the face of contemporary perils.

    In fusing mythic with modern elements, The Shark Nursery is marked by rigorous attention to language and tone. Its poems weave between human, animal and metaphysical realms. In a space before noise begins, tigers visit cities and a white leopard sits on a lawn in Suburbia. In the strange, sealed off world portrayed in the 'The Ballad of Googletown' – an eerie, genuine ballad, where the familiar tropes and refrains of ballad are hung out to dry – lives are lived online and social interaction is unnecessary:

    The cars are in the drive
    And the bees are in the hive
    They say the kids are safe inside
    In Googletown

    This new book promises, as Joseph O'Connor has written, all those things 'we go to Mary O'Malley for: truthfulness, seriousness, playfulness, too, and then a particular sort of hesitating and hard-won wisdom, a pushback against nonsense or sentiment or fakery, the beauty of plain words placed in careful order, carefully – and always, the bliss of musicality.'
    Mary O'Malley was born in Connemara in Ireland and educated at University College Galway. She lived in Lisbon for eight years and taught at Universidade Nova. She served on the council of Poetry Ireland and was on the Committee of the Cúirt International Poetry Festival for eight years. She was the ... read more
    Awards won by Mary O'Malley Joint winner, 2018 Michael Hartnett Poetry Award
    (Playing the Octopus)
    Praise for Mary O'Malley   'Gaudent Angeli is a significant addition to the opus of a poet serious about her art... O'Malley excels when she combines the high with the low, such as in 'Little Dazzler' which manages to include Odysseus, a sorceress, condoms, smartphones, and a "supermodel in a green tube dress".'
    Kevin Higgins, Galway Advertiser
    'very fine and hugely varied collection of poetry'
    Colette Sheridan, Irish Examiner
    'O'Malley is a true artist in sketching the beautiful, small details without which the essence of place, and the identity dependent on it, can be all too easily erased.'
    Eavan Boland
    'This new collection by one of Ireland's most respected and radical poets is as exhilarating a read as the title promises. Sampling through levels of irony from the neolithic to the neon lights of the lonely cities, from east to west, and indeed the hackneyed wesht (with a characteristically wicked eye), O'Malley offers us lyrics of the salvific quotidian woven together with the surreal elements of surviving our island paradoxes. Insouciant as the pirate queen Grace O'Malley who downfaced Elizabeth the First, Mary O'Malley steps into a zone of power and mastery with these new poems.'
    Paula Meehan
    'Mary O'Malley's seascapes [...] are suffused with such beauty and sonorous mystery and rhythmic care that they lift us above ourselves and the time we inhabit.'
    Colm Tóibín, Irish Times, 8th December 2012
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