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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

The Magpie and the Child

$13.95

Available for pre-order

Catriona Clutterbuck‘s The Magpie and the Child tells a story of great loss, love, and learning. The volume starts from the days before the poetic journey, in a sort of pre-exploration of events before they were events, moving to and through the death of her child Emily at almost eleven years old from an unsuspected heart condition. The poems speak, lament, and sing among the metaphors and religious resonances that such mourning must inspire. The thieving magpie of the prefatory title poem pecks at its own image in the glass while the poet daubs the hope of intervening blood on the “trembling lintel of faith.” The volume is filled with self-examination, suffering, remembered conversations with the living child and very real ones with the dead, each of which record the steps of the emotional journey.

The second half of The Magpie and the Child is an extended sequence taking the form of a fragmented diary, one that captures the pain of loss in a skeptical age yet insists on the ritual compensation of belief. In the rigors of its form, the depth of its despair, and the necessary belief in the meaning of its artistic act, Clutterbuck’s poetry carefully and beautifully maintains this very delicate balance.


Praise for The Magpie and the Child

“I can’t think of another poetry collection with such sustained power to involve the reader directly, as it makes its way into the affecting canon of child-elegy extending from the Middle English Pearl to Ben Jonson’s best piece of poetry and onwards. This is a haunting series of memories and insights by a poet of immense imagistic gifts, illustrating incontestably poetry’s often claimed ability to help in the most demanding of circumstances. To read this book is to have your capacity for sympathy moved on to a higher plane. It is, quite simply, a masterpiece of sentiment and understanding.”
Bernard O’Donoghue

SKU: 978-1-930630-95-6 Categories: , , ,

Description

Available for pre-order

Catriona Clutterbuck‘s The Magpie and the Child tells a story of great loss, love, and learning. The volume starts from the days before the poetic journey, in a sort of pre-exploration of events before they were events, moving to and through the death of her child Emily at almost eleven years old from an unsuspected heart condition. The poems speak, lament, and sing among the metaphors and religious resonances that such mourning must inspire. The thieving magpie of the prefatory title poem pecks at its own image in the glass while the poet daubs the hope of intervening blood on the “trembling lintel of faith.” The volume is filled with self-examination, suffering, remembered conversations with the living child and very real ones with the dead, each of which record the steps of the emotional journey.

The second half of The Magpie and the Child is an extended sequence taking the form of a fragmented diary, one that captures the pain of loss in a skeptical age yet insists on the ritual compensation of belief. In the rigors of its form, the depth of its despair, and the necessary belief in the meaning of its artistic act, Clutterbuck’s poetry carefully and beautifully maintains this very delicate balance.


Praise for The Magpie and the Child

“I can’t think of another poetry collection with such sustained power to involve the reader directly, as it makes its way into the affecting canon of child-elegy extending from the Middle English Pearl to Ben Jonson’s best piece of poetry and onwards. This is a haunting series of memories and insights by a poet of immense imagistic gifts, illustrating incontestably poetry’s often claimed ability to help in the most demanding of circumstances. To read this book is to have your capacity for sympathy moved on to a higher plane. It is, quite simply, a masterpiece of sentiment and understanding.”
Bernard O’Donoghue

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