MERCY (Bloodaxe Books, 2020)

Just a quick note to say that my first full-length poetry collection will be published by Bloodaxe Books in 2020, and I am very excited and proud–it feels like the culmination of years of work, and what’s next remains to be seen.

The book is called MERCY, and the blurb from the website is below. Here’s the linkScreen Shot 2019-06-06 at 13.10.06.

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Ireland. Night. A grotto to the Virgin Mary illuminates a deserted road. Overhead, the soundless roar of the Milky Way’s glittering traffic reminds us of a past that runs parallel to our own uncertain times. Olives ripen in a Portuguese valley. The sound of gunfire approaches a Paris café. Irish women revolutionaries march towards their future. Tigers prowl through County Leitrim’s rural townlands, whose old names emerge like neon signposts from the dark: Red Marsh, Small Watery Place, Round Hill of the Boys. Róisín Kelly’s Mercy is an attempt to reconcile her Catholic background with her pagan heritage, transcending the limits of a world in which everything is connected. Both intimate and political, this powerful debut collection combines a passionate exploration of self with an awestruck confrontation of wilderness.


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Róisín Kelly was born in west Belfast, raised in Leitrim, and now lives in Cork. Her pamphlet Rapture (Southword, 2016) was described by Leanne O’Sullivan as ‘fierce and mysterious, beautiful and compelling’.

‘What is striking about Kelly’s writing is that she intentionally situates herself within Ireland’s literary tradition, frequently drawing on Yeatsian images like the rose. She is unswerving, however, in her desire to draw romance and realism together, and Kelly revives the symbols of old so that they might be re-spoken in a brazen, drunken voice… Kelly’s poetry is at once tender and savage, steeped in tradition yet brave in expression — she takes readers where they don’t want to go, a feat that most writers attempt, but few achieve.’ – James O’Sullivan, Los Angeles Review of Books

‘This brief collection shows remarkable emotional range. Kelly leaves the reader afloat on a tide of colour.’ – Alison Brackenbury, PN Review

‘Unafraid of sentiment, these twenty poems meditate on lost love, longing, and the tendency of intimacy to arrive as an utter surprise, and dissolve just as swiftly.’ – Grace Wilentz, Poetry Ireland Review

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RTE Poem of the Week

Screen Shot 2019-02-27 at 11.11.28After its publication in Poetry Ireland Review, I was very happy to see ‘Dominío Vale do Mondego’ chosen as RTE’s Poem of the Week.

It’s available to read here.

Featured Poet in Poetry Ireland Review

Many thanks to Poetry Ireland Review for having me as featured poet in their latest issue, and to editor Eavan Boland for selecting my work ‘In America’ and ‘Dominio Vale do Mondego’ for inclusion. You can buy the issue here.

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RTE Poetry Programme

 

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I had a great time chatting and reading poems on the RTE Poetry Programme recently. The episode, which aired on RTE Radio 1 on October 7, 2018, is available to listen back to here. With many thanks to my fellow poets Sarah Byrne and James O’Leary, and presenter Olivia O’Leary.

‘A Deeply Poignant Execution’: the Los Angeles Review of Books on Rapture

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I have no words for the overwhelming generosity of the review of my book that recently appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Although I’m not sure I’d agree with its assertion that Rapture is one of the ‘greatest collections of poetry that the Irish literary canon has to offer’, those words are really something to wake up to during an ordinary week in August.

Many thanks to James O’Sullivan for his thoughtful piece on Rapture as well as on collections by my fantastic fellow poets Elaine Cosgrove (Transmissions) and Annemarie Ní Churreáin (Bloodroot).

You can read the review in its entirety here.

‘Cosmic Latte’ Appears in Magma

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I have been trying to get published in Magma for years, so I am truly honoured and thrilled to have a poem in its latest issue. ‘Cosmic Latte’ is dedicated to the women in my life who are more amazing than words could ever say.

Cosmic Latte is the official name given to the colour of space, which scientists have determined is a shade of ‘beigeish white.’ Professor of astronomy Jeffrey Newman said of the findings, ‘Our result can be expressed compactly in haiku form:

Look at new spring snow –
See the River of Heaven
An hour after dawn.’

 

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