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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Dharmakaya

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In Dharmakaya, Paula Meehan’s fifth collection, the poems move between the timeless, unsituated spirit and its truths, and the living anguish and desire of a dying body that keenly feels its femaleness in an Ireland that is both haunted and hard-wired.

“Dharmakaya,” a word she borrows from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, signals the span of the collection’s philosophical concerns: a dialogue between western poetics and Buddhism. Her formal concerns as a poet are enacted in gestures both received and open, drawing alike from her tradition and the disruption of that tradition.


Reviews

“If poetry can sing, Meehan has perfect pitch.”
– Midwest Book Review

“We should read this volume as the revelation of the consciousness of a woman and a poet, trying to deal with a past ‘to change the future of it.’ The poem ‘Fist’ directly addresses this idea as the speaker imagines the fist of a child, cupped in two adult hands, and pried open, finger by finger, to release pent up anger. The hand then becomes a poem presented to us, ‘spread wide open in a precise / gesture of giving, or welcome, / its fate clear and empty, like the sky, / like the blue blue sky above the square.”
– Patricia Haberstroh, Irish Literary Supplement

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Description

In Dharmakaya, Paula Meehan’s fifth collection, the poems move between the timeless, unsituated spirit and its truths, and the living anguish and desire of a dying body that keenly feels its femaleness in an Ireland that is both haunted and hard-wired.

“Dharmakaya,” a word she borrows from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, signals the span of the collection’s philosophical concerns: a dialogue between western poetics and Buddhism. Her formal concerns as a poet are enacted in gestures both received and open, drawing alike from her tradition and the disruption of that tradition.


Reviews

“If poetry can sing, Meehan has perfect pitch.”
– Midwest Book Review

“We should read this volume as the revelation of the consciousness of a woman and a poet, trying to deal with a past ‘to change the future of it.’ The poem ‘Fist’ directly addresses this idea as the speaker imagines the fist of a child, cupped in two adult hands, and pried open, finger by finger, to release pent up anger. The hand then becomes a poem presented to us, ‘spread wide open in a precise / gesture of giving, or welcome, / its fate clear and empty, like the sky, / like the blue blue sky above the square.”
– Patricia Haberstroh, Irish Literary Supplement

Additional information

Publication date:

2002

Pages:

52

Binding:

,