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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

The Currach Requires No Harbours

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In this volume, Medbh McGuckian unfolds a beautiful array of themes—art, religion, landscape, nation, home—that will be as seductive to initiates as they are glowingly familiar to lovers of her work. We start with sensual understanding (“the form of feeling”), move among the various arenas of experience (sexuality, work, marriage), women’s sensations in particular, and even more specifically the religious passions of women, and consider their lives on islands both symbolic and real, islands with which McGuckian has often signaled the existence of the individual, as well as Ireland’s place in the larger world. The poems cast an hypnotic spell that grows until, in the deep acknowledgement of human suffering, the reader becomes a “picturesque believer” in “saints that have the gift of dreaming right” (“Galilee Porch”). The source of such visionary belief is in perception itself. Like the currach of its title, her style moves fleetly across its contents, requiring no particular harbors because all harbors, and subjects, are its own.

Shortlisted for the 2007 Irish Times Poetry Now Award


Reviews

“She has hit on a dream-to-reason ratio perfect for replicating what she calls ‘the feminine subconcious, or semi-consciousness.'”
– Carmine Starnino, Poetry

“These poetic recalibrations, both subtle and subversive set The Currach Requires No Harbours apart from her other recent collections and confirm McGuckian as a poet whose verse is as innovative as it is discomfiting.”
– Heather Clark, Harvard Review

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In this volume, Medbh McGuckian unfolds a beautiful array of themes—art, religion, landscape, nation, home—that will be as seductive to initiates as they are glowingly familiar to lovers of her work. We start with sensual understanding (“the form of feeling”), move among the various arenas of experience (sexuality, work, marriage), women’s sensations in particular, and even more specifically the religious passions of women, and consider their lives on islands both symbolic and real, islands with which McGuckian has often signaled the existence of the individual, as well as Ireland’s place in the larger world. The poems cast an hypnotic spell that grows until, in the deep acknowledgement of human suffering, the reader becomes a “picturesque believer” in “saints that have the gift of dreaming right” (“Galilee Porch”). The source of such visionary belief is in perception itself. Like the currach of its title, her style moves fleetly across its contents, requiring no particular harbors because all harbors, and subjects, are its own.

Shortlisted for the 2007 Irish Times Poetry Now Award


Reviews

“She has hit on a dream-to-reason ratio perfect for replicating what she calls ‘the feminine subconcious, or semi-consciousness.'”
– Carmine Starnino, Poetry

“These poetic recalibrations, both subtle and subversive set The Currach Requires No Harbours apart from her other recent collections and confirm McGuckian as a poet whose verse is as innovative as it is discomfiting.”
– Heather Clark, Harvard Review

Additional information

Publication date:

2007

Binding:

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