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Three Irish Poets
Edited by Eavan Boland
Categories: 20th Century, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (144 pages)
(Pub. Aug 2003)
Poetry Book Society Special Commendation
In this radical anthology the work of three of Ireland's most important and best-loved contemporary poets is featured. Each has, in a different way, cleared new creative space to speak and to sing.
The anthology makes an essential selection of some forty pages from the work of the poets. Each contributes a short personal statement, and there is a bibliography. Eavan Boland introduces the book with a major new essay.
EAVAN BOLAND was born in Dublin in 1944. She studied in Ireland, London and New York. Her first book was published in 1967. She is Melvin and Bill Lane Professor in the Humanities at Stanford University, California. Her Carcanet books include Selected Poems, Collected Poems, The Lost Land, Code, and her prose book Object Lessons.
PAULA MEEHAN was born in 1955 in Dublin. She studied at Trinity College and became a Writer Fellow of the English Department, and has taught in the United States. She has written plays and held a creative writing fellowship at University College, Dublin. She has worked with inner city communities and conducted workshops in prisons. Carcanet published Dharmakaya, her most recent book of poems, in 2000. The Man Who Was Marked by Winter (1991) and Pillow Talk (1994) were published by Gallery Press.
MARY O'MALLEY, born in Galway in 1954, has travelled widely but returned to Ireland to become part of the Cuirt Festival committee. She is a member of the Poetry Council for Ireland. Her previous collections include Where the Rocks Float (1993), The Knife in the Wave (1997) and Asylum Road (2001) published by Salmon Poetry, and The Boning Hall (2002) published by Carcanet.
Awards won by Eavan Boland Winner, 2020 Costa Poetry Award
(The Historians) Winner, 2017 Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award
Awards won by Paula Meehan Winner, 2017 SOA Cholmondeley Award
Awards won by Mary O'Malley Joint winner, 2018 Michael Hartnett Poetry Award
(Playing the Octopus)
Praise for Eavan Boland
'...She has a dazzling gift for marrying the poem's narrative to its underlying considerations and themes, her carefully enacted restraint heightening the impact of the frequently stunning closing image.''The poems, all of them, have that familiar, spare, feel to them - the clarity of cold water, the measured cadence, the plain diction and the leaping insight so characteristic of her mature work - but there is grief here of a depth and of a kind that chills the heart... against the darkness that eddies and gathers in this, the last book we will have from her hand, there is indeed redemptive light'
Maya C. Popa, Poetry Review
Theo Dorgan, Dublin Review of Books
'This is a fitting tribute to a poet whose work has revised history as we know it and whose talent will be much missed.''The first poem in Boland's book, The Fire Gilder, is one of the best Irish poems of the past half-century.'
Poetry Book Society Winter Bulletin
Colm Tóibín, The Irish Times
'Truly consumable, enjoyable and emotive... all the things that great poetry should be.'
Jasmine Reads, YouTube
'[The Historians] zooms in with characteristic musicality and intelligence on what the stories that are often overlooked - those of women'
Rishi Dastidar, The Guardian Poetry Books of the Year 2020
'It is, as came to be expected from Boland, filled with stories of ordinary Irish women, sensitively rendered in her understated verse. In revisiting the otherwise erased experiences of her subjects, Boland asks us to reconfigure our own understanding of the past, though she acknowledges the difficulties of that, too'
The New Statesman
'There's a poignancy here that is hard to avoid... This modest collection is welcome and those who have not read Boland - few though they may be - will find here at least an introduction to her always-potent art. For others, it will serve as a coda to a poetic life well lived.'
Books Ireland Magazine
'It feels, reading it in the wake of her death, to be unsettlingly prophetic, a fitting close to the life's work of a great poet'
Seán Hewitt, The Irish Times
'... a rich, unsettling moral adventure in memory and responsibility.'
Eavan Boland's A Journey with Two Maps: Becoming a Woman Poet contains essays both personal and public written in a tone urgent and wise, with astute observations on her own trajectory as a poet and the work of Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath and Paula Meehan, among others.
Colm Toibin, The Irish Times, Our Favourite Books of 2011
Praise for Paula Meehan 'These are poems fuelled by a fierce perception and generosity of spirit, joyfully and sorrowfully open to human frailty, passion, the natural world - what it means to be human. Even in the darkness of grief and loss Paula Meehan celebrates life with a visceral, flaying attention. It is as if anger, grace and wit have been hammered white-hot into the finest shining tool and ornament. '
Maura Dooley 'In Painting Rain Paula Meehan makes music that is a powerful confluence of themes: a field lost to a housing development, a north wind that whines through the dunes, an Irish mother whose daughters 'taught their mother barring orders and legal separation'. Each poem is powerful on its own, demanding and holding the white space of each page, but the cumulative effect is one of great wisdom and authority. Meehan had that special grace from the start, but now immensities have crystallized around each lyric she writes. Don't miss this work: Painting Rain is her finest book yet.'
'Paula Meehan is that rare and precious thing - a vocational poet of courage and integrity. Already much-loved and admired far beyond the shores of her native Ireland, Meehan advances her claim on our hearts and minds with Painting Rain. From present-day Dublin to Ancient Greece, the myths and flawed heroes of her poems give back to us our own lives, counted out in illuminated moments of joy, pain, love and memory.'
Carol Ann Duffy
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.'
'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.'
'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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