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A Perfect V

Mary O'Malley

Cover Picture of A Perfect V
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 857548 39 6
Categories: 21st Century, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: April 2006
216 x 135 x 7 mm
96 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • What good to her is the mind's cold elegy,
    the pen's fluency? Give her a tune.
    Let her enter herself through the curtain parted
    by music.


    from 'Untitled'

    The poems in Mary O'Malley's new collection focus on legal separation: of Northern from Southern Ireland, of written Irish from its original script, of husband from wife. The book explores a season in hell when the verities vanish, the love we live by dies, and the ramparts that shore up our existence are demolished.

    A marriage breaks down, children leave home, love itself is questioned. What is home now? Where is it? And how do we live when we cannot return? The personal is examined through the lens of the greater human chaos. This is a book about eviction, an examination of the nature of home that is both private and political, written out of a sense of the barbarism that threatens to overwhelm the deep song of Ireland.

    '[Mary 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
    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 '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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