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Mary O'Malley

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Categories: 21st Century, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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(Pub. Nov 2012)
£9.95 £8.96
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. May 2012)
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  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Awards
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  • It was making day when I looked out
    at the kind of beauty
    that leaves death unthinkable,
    purple slate, gannets rising in small explosions
    and everything makes sense.
    The world is round again and we are its sun
    describing a horizon, ratskin waves stretch to America
    lumps of sea rise under the bow and below
    acres of drowned Ireland and a mountain.

        from ‘Resident at Sea’

    In 2007 Mary O’Malley made a voyage on the Irish marine research ship the Celtic Explorer. It took her far out into the Atlantic, and it returned her to a self and a country made strange. Valparaiso, a collection begun at sea, is a book of searches and discoveries, plumbing oceanic depths and returning to a shore that ‘marks the start of possibility’. The surge and swell of the sea sounds in it, a place of wonders where the imagination is freed. ‘What would sing in me is the deep ocean.’

    As the scientists chart a course dictated by the demands of research, as Ireland is careering from boom to bust, Mary O’Malley explores the science of going under and staying afloat. She returns to an altered place, and is herself changed by an odyssey that has taken her around the Atlantic and Europe, into her past and back to a kind of homecoming.

    Poem on a Leaf
    The Way
    At Jardin des Plantes
    Dido, Grainne, Brid
    Recession Eve
    Mystical Things
    In the Seminary
    The Lost Boys
    Two Heads in a Landscape
    Instress in Ireland
    The White City
    The Lisbon Bride
    Last Night in Paris
    The Guide
    Still Life
    Whom the Gods Love
    One Year On

    II Resident at Sea

    I Sea Road, No Map
    II Oceano Nox
    III Abyss
    IV Shore
    V Narthex


    Veteris Vestigia Flammae
    More Space than Stars
    Play It Again, Sam
    Before Winter Comes
    Dreampoem I
    Dreampoem II
    Watching the StutteringLovers
    An Easement for the Chest
    Instead of a Proposal


    The Lusiads
    The Myth of Language
    The Shark’s Dream
    Cetorhinus maximus
    The Black Glacier
    To All Who Are Hopeless withBirds
    Caravaggio’s Hands
    The Birth of Venus
    Climbing the Volcano
    The Gulls at Fastnet
    Never Merely One Albertine

    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)
    '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
    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
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