‘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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‘Mar-a-Lago’ and ‘Ophelia’ in the Mascara Literary Review

Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 12.49.17It is an honour to have two of my poems published in the latest issue of the Mascara Literary Review.

‘Mar-a-Lago’ takes its inspiration from Beyonce’s visual album
Lemonade, in particular its imagery of black women’s reclamation of colonial spaces in America like the plantation house.

While ‘Ophelia’ is on the surface about the storm of the same name that hit Ireland in autumn 2017, it is also concerned with a political situation–the amendment to our constitution that gives the unborn rights equal to that of a living woman.

The referendum in which people will vote to repeal this amendment will be held in Ireland on May 25.

‘Mar-a-Lago’ and ‘Ophelia’ are available to read here.

Poem of the Day: ‘The Hay-Carrier’ by Paul Durcan

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The Hay-Carrier by Paul Durcan

Have you ever saved hay in Mayo in the rain?
Have you ever saved hay in Mayo in the sun?
Have you ever carried above your head a haycock on a pitchfork:
Have you ever slept in a haybarn on the road from mayo to Egypt?
I am a hay-carrier.
My father was a hay-carrier.
My mother was a hay-carrier.
My brothers were hay-carriers.
My sisters were hay-carriers.
My wife is a hay-carrrier.
My son is a hay-carrier.
His sons are hay-carriers.
His daughters are hay-carriers.
We were always all hay-carriers.
We will always be hay-carriers.
For the great gate of night stands painted red—
And all of heaven lies waiting to be fed.

‘A Master of Endings’: Poetry Ireland Review Critiques Rapture

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I am grateful to Poetry Ireland Review for including a review of Rapture in the latest issue of their literary pamphlet Trumpet. Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 10.24.39

The text concerning Rapture, which Grace Wilentz reviews alongside chapbooks by Ellen Cranitch, Julie Morrisey, Pardraig Regan, Victor Tapner, and Michael Naghten Shanks, is featured below. The Winter 2017/18 issue of Trumpet is available here.

Rapture, by Roisin Kelly, the first pamphlet in Southword’s New Irish Voices series, is as concerned with the transcendent pleasure of love as the pamphlet’s title would lead you to believe. 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.

In ‘A Massage Room in West Cork’, Kelly draws her reader into an expertly rendered scene, as surprising as it is beautiful:

and all night we keep on the orange
crystal lamp to soften four panes
of glass-hard darkness at the window.

Kelly is a master of endings, saving the ‘poetic crossing’ until the last possible moment. The closing of ‘Leave’ opens unpredictably into a wider, more mysterious world through the soft, hushed music of Kelly’s lines:

For now, the runway stretches into darkness.
In the cellars, barrelled apples sleep
and dream their short lives in reverse.

 

‘Aroi’ Appears in The London Magazine

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I’ve been in Portugal for the last two weeks, helping with the olive harvest on the banks of the Mondego River, so it was a lovely surprise to come home and find my contributor’s copy of The London Magazine waiting for me.

My poem ‘Aroi’ appears in its pages, and won second place in The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2017.

The December/January 2018 issue is available to purchase here.