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Wake Forest
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Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Poem of the Week

Poem of the Week: “Spring” by Alan Gillis

The Irish celebrate St. Brigid’s Day on February 1 to welcome the beginning of spring. Even though we’re not quite there yet in the US, today’s poem by Alan Gillis channels that sense of anticipation for the end of winter. In an interview with the Edinburgh Review, Gillis discusses his experimentation with the pastoral form in…

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Poem of the Week: “A l’écoute: Receiver / All Clear” by Ciaran Carson

In the final week of National Translation Month, we’re featuring a unique kind of translation act. In From Elsewhere, Ciaran Carson translates poems by the French poet Jean Follain. However, the volume is different in that Carson pairs these translations with original poems inspired by them: “Translations of the translations,” as he explains in the preface….

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Poem of the Week: “Rugă / Prayer” by Ileana Mălăncioiu

In today’s selection for National Translation Month, we are featuring a Romanian poem by Ileana Mălăncioiu, translated by Irish poet Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin in her collection titled Legend of the Walled-Up Wife. As Ní Chuilleanáin writes in the preface to the book, “Mălăncioiu’s writing is valued in Romania as a moral force. A courageous critic of the former…

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Poem of the Week: “Poète / Poet” by Vénus Khoury-Ghata

We’ve been posting translations to celebrate National Translation Month, and today we’ve chosen a French poem by Vénus Khoury-Ghata from her collection, Au sud du silence. Khoury-Ghata is a translator herself, most notably from French to Arabic  for the magazine Europe, but this poem was translated into English by Michael Bishop for an anthology of French poetry…

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Poem of the Week: “The Antikythera Mechanism” by Caitríona O’Reilly

You may have already noticed the odd mechanical look of the Google logo this morning. To our delight, today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 115th anniversary of the discovery of the Antikythera mechanism, the first-known analog computer used by the ancient Greeks as a sort of calendar and predictor of astronomical positions. Caitríona O’Reilly’s poem about this very…

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Poem of the Week: “Melusine” by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

This week’s poem comes from Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s most recent volume, The Fifty Minute Mermaid, a selection of which was included in The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry. Ní Dhomhnaill’s narrative poem, “Melusine,” is based on folklore most famously captured by the 14th century French writer Jean d’Arras. In the tale, Count Raymondin meets the…

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Poem of the Week: A Sonnet by Harry Clifton

This week we celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, a holiday that originally commemorated the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, though is now more commonly a celebration of Irish heritage, especially in the US. Harry Clifton’s latest collection, Portobello Sonnets, is a fitting selection to mark this holiday, as it is a meditation on Dublin as a microcosm of the…

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Poem of the Week: “Horizons” by John Montague

Photo by Niall Hartnett Today, on what would have been his 88th birthday, we celebrate one of our beloved poets, John Montague, who passed away this December. Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in County Tyrone, Ireland, Montague’s work is known for themes of adolescence, love, family, and personal connection with Irish history. WFU Press has…

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Poem of the Week: “Late Morning” by Peter McDonald

March 1st is the release date for the highly anticipated Volume IV of The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry. This volume brings lesser-known Irish voices to an American audience. Editor David Wheatley, himself an established poet and critic, has selected poetry by Trevor Joyce, Aidan Mathews, Peter McDonald, Ailbhe Darcy and Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh. Each…

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Poem of the Week: “She is my love” by Trevor Joyce

This week we are celebrating Valentine’s Day and the forthcoming publication of Volume IV of The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry with Trevor Joyce’s “She is my love.” The first lines of each stanza echo the language of traditional love poems, only to be subverted in the lines that follow. Through his manipulation of the…

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Poem of the Week: “Glaciers” by Sinéad Morrissey

As we approach our publication date for Volume IV of The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry, we continue with poetry from previous volumes. This week’s poem by Sinéad Morrissey can be found in Volume I. The simple language reflects the naturalistic and somewhat sinister undertones of the poem, which highlight the connection between humanity, earth,…

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Poem of the Week: “Viola D’Amore” by Moya Cannon

This week, we continue to look back through The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry as we prepare to publish Volume IV. Today we’re featuring Moya Cannon from Volume II, whose subtle yet distinct voice demands a reader’s attention. Her poems are largely preoccupied with the sphere of landscapes, and how human desire—sometimes expressed through the invocation of Greek myths—is interwoven into…

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Poem of the Week: “Water” by Dennis O’Driscoll

Photo courtesy of Melissa Libutti As we approach the publication date for The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry, Volume IV, we’re taking a look back at some of the poets published in previous volumes from this series, which aims to introduce lesser-known Irish poets to an American audience. This week’s poet is Dennis O’Driscoll, whose work…

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Poem of the Week: “Autobiography” by Louis MacNeice

Samhain is upon us, so we’re celebrating by sharing poems with a sinister bent in honor of this Celtic predecessor of Halloween. In this week’s poem, Louis MacNeice explores the darker side of youthful memory. MacNeice reflects on the early loss of his mother, a loss which remains as a sort of specter for the child in the poem, one…

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Poem of the Week: “Endymion” by Thomas Kinsella

As we get ready to celebrate Halloween, let’s take a moment to think about where the most frightful holiday of the year comes from—Samhain (pronounced SOW-in). Samhain is a traditional Celtic celebration to remind people that the year is about to get darker, and that harvest season is over: Winter is here! It’s also a…

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Poem of the Week: “Photograph” by Frank Ormsby

On October 13, Frank Ormsby visited Wake Forest University to read from his latest collection, Goat’s Milk, as well as new work from forthcoming volumes. Today, we’ve included a clip of Ormsby reading this week’s poem, “Photograph.” Check back next week for more video from the evening. During the reading, Ormsby framed his Catholic upbringing in…

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Poem of the Week: “Coda: Payne’s Grey” by Paula Meehan

Happy spring and happy National Poetry Month! As we begin a month known for its showers, Paula Meehan’s poem “Coda: Payne’s Grey” came to mind. The final poem in her collection, Painting Rain, it celebrates what poetry can capture and preserve, even as everything changes, like trying to capture an image of falling rain. Coda: Payne’s Grey I am trying to…

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Poem of the Week to Celebrate Samhain

Poem of the Week to Celebrate Samhain

It’s the last week of October, which means it’s almost Halloween, the spookiest time of year. Did you know that Halloween originates from the Celtic festival called Samhain? We enjoy getting into the Samhain spirit by reading some of our poets’ eeriest pieces. Here’s a particularly creepy poem of the week from Louis MacNeice. Plant…

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Poem of the Week: “Clotho” by Caitríona O’Reilly

Poem of the Week: “Clotho” by Caitríona O’Reilly

It’s publication week for Caitríona O’Reilly’s new volume Geis (available now in print, iBook, and Kindle editions). This week’s featured poem is a sneak peek into this wonderful book. For more on O’Reilly’s inspiration, writing process, and more, check out our Q&A with the poet. Happy reading, poetry lovers! Clotho after Camille Claudel And in the end it was…

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Poem of the Week: Happy Birthday, Ciaran Carson!

Poem of the Week: Happy Birthday, Ciaran Carson!

Today is Ciaran Carson’s birthday, and in celebration of this accomplished poet and traditional musician from Belfast, we are sharing one of his earlier poems, “The Albatross,” from his book First Language as our featured poem this week. This poem is written after the poem “L’Albatros” by the French poet Charles Baudelaire. In it, the speaker compares the…

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We’re back (and with a Poem of the Week)

We’re back (and with a Poem of the Week)

This summer, we’ve been busy with a few exciting projects that we’ll be sharing with you in due time. To celebrate being back and the near end of a productive summer, we’re sharing Frank Ormsby’s poetic treatment of American craft beer. Cheers! At the Lazy Boy Saloon and Ale Bar (White Plains, NY) The beers of…

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Poem of the Week: October Thoughts & Throwback

Poem of the Week: October Thoughts & Throwback

WFU Press’s newest book is here! Ciaran Carson’s From Elsewhere is a beautiful work featuring translations of the French poet Jean Follain juxtaposed alongside Carson’s original work. In his “Apropros,” Carson offers, “…[T]he word fetch…was in my mind throughout the writing of From Elsewhere.” He goes on to say, “A fetch is the act of fetching, bringing from a distance,…

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Poem of the Week:”Pas de Deux”

A poem for Valentine’s Day– Pas de Deux It all began in Take Two, what with us looking at clothes. You’d brushed against me as I stepped aside from the mirror to let you size yourself up against a blue pencil skirt, pinching its waistband to your waist with your arms akimbo. I caught you…

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Poem of the Week: “Swallows and Willows”

In Dharmakaya, Paula Meehan creates a beautiful poem, highlighting the parallels between her own Irish voice, and the voice of one of America’s most commemorated female poets–Sylvia Plath. February 11th marks the 52nd anniversary of Plath’s death, and we love the fact that this poem creates a space where the haunting, feminine poetics of two of our favorite writers…

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Poem of the Week: “January Drought”

Poem of the Week: “January Drought”

As storm clouds roll into Winston-Salem, Conor O’Callaghan writes of a somewhat drier world—yet the haunting sentimentality of his poetic voice still manages to soak us to the bone. January Drought It needn’t be tinder, this juncture of the year, a cigarette flicked from car to brush. The woods’ parchment is given to cracking asunder the…

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Poem of the Week: “Christmas Tree”

Poem of the Week: “Christmas Tree”

Christmas Tree for Jacob You are my second grandson, Christmas-born. I put on specs to read your face. Whispering Sweet nothings to your glistening eyelids, Am I outspoken compared with you? You sleep While I carry you to our elderly beech. Your forefinger twitches inside its mitten. Do you feel at home in my aching…

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Poem of the Week: “The Wood” by Paul Muldoon

Poem of the Week: “The Wood” by Paul Muldoon

As we endure the stresses and chaos of long work days or classes, we crave some peace and quiet—the familiarity of home. We know that wherever we are in the world, we can always come home to the people we love and the home we cherish. Paul Muldoon’s “The Wood” echoes this desire for solace in the comfort of our homes and and reminds us to be grateful for the people, smells, and tastes that accompany our homecoming.

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Poem of the Week: “Closed Bells” by Medbh McGuckian

Poem of the Week: “Closed Bells” by Medbh McGuckian

As we transition into winter, Medbh McGuckian’s frosty poem Closed Bells reminds us of the fast-dropping temperatures. Her fleshed out, frostbitten images offer the characteristic “wordlessness” for which McGuckian is best known and create a dream world suspended in the mid-season chill. Closed Bells Frost hollows small areas of leaf in gardenless margins. Wounded by the thought of nests expanding, they inspire devotion…

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It’s publication day for The Stairwell

It’s publication day for The Stairwell

We are delighted to announce that The Stairwell by Michael Longley is now available on our website! For the Poem of the Week, we offer here the title poem.   The Stairwell  For Lucy McDiarmid I have been thinking about the music for my funeral— Liszt’s transcription of that Schumann song, for instance, ‘Dedication’ — inwardness meets the…

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A final song for Samhain

A final song for Samhain

Halloween is finally here! While children dress in costume and parents don their houses with spooky decorations, we are paying tribute to John Montague and his eerie poem about the Celtic festival that celebrates the arrival of the “darker half” of the year. The auditory and sensory imagery Montague engages sends shivers down our spine, as we welcome…

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Happy birthday to Ciaran Carson

Happy birthday to Ciaran Carson

Author of poetry and prose, translator, professor, and accomplished musician, Ciaran Carson is a man of so many talents that we never need much of an excuse to celebrate him. Many happy returns to you, from all at Wake Forest Press! Year After Year playing the tune over you’ve been cutting out the frills getting to…

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Poem of the Week:”The Second Voyage” by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

Poem of the Week:”The Second Voyage” by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

“Seascape” by John Fraser National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London       It’s easy to compare Odysseus’ voyage to the voyage students undertake in college; whether a senior, junior, sophomore or freshman, those spiteful waves will rock you all year long. We mimic Odysseus as we fight against tests, illness, papers and uncomfortable experiences, and all…

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Poem of the Week: “Airports” by Leontia Flynn

Poem of the Week: “Airports” by Leontia Flynn

It’s Homecoming week at Wake Forest, so we have selected a poem for today which reflects on the liminality of travel. We wish a safe journey to all alumni making their way back toward their alma maters, be it via skyways or highways. Airports Airports are their own peculiar weather. Their lucid hallways ring like swimming pools. From each sealed lounge, a…

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Poem of the Week “Begin” by Brendan Kennelly

Poem of the Week “Begin” by Brendan Kennelly

“…bridges linking the past and future / old friends passing through with us still.” With the beginning of the school year, new interns, and an exciting new season in the publishing industry, we’re eager to see what’s ahead.  Therefore, here’s Brendan Kennelly’s poem “Begin” for your enjoyment this week. “Begin” Begin again to the summoning…

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Poem of the Week: “Pier” by Vona Groarke

Poem of the Week: “Pier” by Vona Groarke

Only a few weeks remain before students return to campus, and our hottest days seem to be behind us. As we desperately hang on to summer, we offer Vona Groarke’s poem, “Pier,” as a celebration of the freedom and elan that summertime allows. Pier Speak to our muscles of a need for joy.      …

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Poem of the Week: “Away” by Vona Groarke

Poem of the Week: “Away” by Vona Groarke

Away We have our own smallholding: persimmon tree, crawl space, stoop, red earth basement, ceiling fans, a job. Hours I’m not sure where I am, flitting through every amber between Gales and Drumcliffe Road. I paint woodwork the exact azure of a wave’s flipside out the back of Spiddal pier and any given morning pins…

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The End of the Line

The End of the Line

The temperature is high, the pollen is present, and graduation is just around the corner. However, with the arrival of springtime blossoms comes the departure of most of our staff. Interns Nicole, Maura, Amanda, Julie and Mike are all graduating, and Candide is retiring from Assistant Director. And while I feel inclined to use the…

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Poem of the Week: “Punctuation” by Ciaran Carson

Poem of the Week: “Punctuation” by Ciaran Carson

By Michael J. Bennett (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Punctuation This frosty night is jittering with lines and angles, invisible trajectories: Crackly, chalky diagrams in geometry, rubbed out the instant they’re sketched, But lingering in the head. The shots, the echoes, are like whips, and when you flinch, You don’t know where it’s coming from.  This…

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Poem of the Week: “Scar” by Moya Cannon

Poem of the Week: “Scar” by Moya Cannon

Scar Why does it affect and comfort me the little scar where, years ago, you cut your lip shaving when half drunk and in a hurry to play drums in public. We step now to rhythms we don’t own or understand, and, with blind, dog-like diligence, we hunt for scars in tender places. –Moya Cannon,…

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Poem of the Week: “Nomad Heart” by Paula Meehan

Poem of the Week: “Nomad Heart” by Paula Meehan

It’s our favorite month of the year: April! … also known as National Poetry Month. Our campus stalls have already been graced with “potty poetry,” and we will continue celebrating online by posting even more poetry than usual. To start with, here is an enlightening poem about changing times and weary souls. Nomad Heart for Kevin…

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MacNeice poem inspires Scottish song

MacNeice poem inspires Scottish song

Louis MacNeice is one of the inspirations for the Scottish group, Battlefield Band. MacNeice’s poem, “Bagpipe Music,” provides the lyrics for the song on the group’s newest album Room Enough for All, which has been nominated for an Independent Music Award in the category of “World Traditional Song.” You can read the poem just below, buy MacNeice’s Collected Poems here, and…

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Poem of the Week: “Finit” by Máire Mhac an tSaoi

Poem of the Week: “Finit” by Máire Mhac an tSaoi

Finit Le seans a chuala uathu scéala an chleamhnais Is b’ait liom srian le héadroime na gaoithe— Do bhís chomh hanamúil léi, chomh domheabhartha, Chomh fiáin léi, is chomh haonraic, mar ba chuimhin liom. Féach feasta go bhfuil dála cháich i ndán duit, Cruatan is coitinne, séasúr go céile, Ag éalú i ndearúd le hiompú…

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Poem of the Week: “Starspill” by John Montague

Poem of the Week: “Starspill” by John Montague

There are few spectacles more enigmatic and awe-inspiring than the night sky. It can be hard to believe that the shimmering blots sprinkled into the abyss are light-years upon light-years out of our reach. John Montague’s poem “Starspill” captures the mystery of the glimmering cosmos drifting above our earth. Starspill That secret laughter which, on…

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Poem of the Week: “Away” by Vona Groarke

Poem of the Week: “Away” by Vona Groarke

Though the majority of the Irish poetry we publish is actually about Ireland, we are not without some poems that feature our own backyard. This week’s Poem of the Week is set in North Carolina. Vona Groarke, in her acclaimed collection Spindrift, wrote of the time she spent as Poet-in-Residence here at Wake Forest University. This…

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Poem of the Week: “Sleep” by Katie Donovan

Poem of the Week: “Sleep” by Katie Donovan

This week’s Poem of the Week comes from one of our favorite anthologies of poetry, The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry. As we near the end of the semester, with all its hustle and bustle, Katie Donovan’s poem “Sleep” feels particularly striking. The poem has a peaceful, relaxing tone, and artfully reminds us to…

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Innocence Lost: “Boy-Soldier” by Michael Longley

Innocence Lost: “Boy-Soldier” by Michael Longley

“Child Soldier in the Ivory Coast, Africa” by Gilbert Ground Michael Longley’s recent poem “Boy-Soldier” was inspired by Irish author Tom McAlindon’s account of the death of WWI teenage soldier, Bobbie Kernaghan of Belfast. The images of young soldiers killed in war, of their tender necks pierced and their armor clattering to the ground link this…

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Poem of the Week: “Demotic Nocturne” by Ciaran Carson

Poem of the Week: “Demotic Nocturne” by Ciaran Carson

The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah, a painting by John Martin (1789-1854) In the spirit of Halloween we offer Ciaran Carson’s “Demotic Nocturne”, a tantalizing and chilling nighttime adventure that takes the reader on a technicolor journey that “disperses all the boundaries of hearth and home.” “Demotic Nocturne” appears in Carson’s collection In the Light Of, translated from Rimbaud’s Illuminations. Demotic Nocturne (Nocturne vulgaire) A breath…

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Poem of the Week: “The Lap of Plenty” by Harry Clifton

Poem of the Week: “The Lap of Plenty” by Harry Clifton

This week’s Poem of the Week comes from Harry Clifton’s upcoming collection, The Holding Centre. Available in December, The Holding Centre features a fantastic selection of Clifton’s previously published work, but also includes a section with new, unpublished poems. As a sneak peek, this week we give you “The Lap of Plenty.” THE LAP OF PLENTY Leave…

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Poem of the Week: “Milk” by Moya Cannon

Milk Could he have known that any stranger’s baby crying out loud in a street can start the flow? A stain that spreads on fustian or denim. This is kindness which in all our human time has refused to learn propriety, which still knows nothing but the depth of kinship, the depth of thirst. –Moya…

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Poem of the Week: “On Cutting One’s Finger While Reaching for Jasmine” by Medbh McGuckian

Poem of the Week: “On Cutting One’s Finger While Reaching for Jasmine” by Medbh McGuckian

(photo from flowersreview.blogspot.com ) On Cutting One’s Finger While Reaching for Jasmine She talked about the aboutness of life, the eternal false illumination of the leftover nights, her lavender- skirted self who paced around the tousled bedroom, the otherwise good you. She incessantly made Os, Os of all sizes, Os inside one another, always drawn backwards in…

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Poem of the Week: “Again” by Kerry Hardie

Poem of the Week: “Again” by Kerry Hardie

This poem by Kerry Hardie is from The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry. The best part of winter is knowing that spring must come “again,” and the bad weather and cold temperatures must come to an end. Today on March 1st, we say, “Here’s to Spring!” Again Spring comes roundly, as the round calls…

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It’s Poetry Month!

It’s Poetry Month!

April is the month to celebrate poetry! And while we here at the Press rejoice it every day, we encourage our readers to take part with us in the celebration of National Poetry Month, established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. Now is the time to start that spring cleaning by dusting off…

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Poem of the Week: “Ceist na Teangan / The Language Issue” by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

Poem of the Week: “Ceist na Teangan / The Language Issue” by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

This week has been a pretty exciting one for everyone involved in publishing and literary studies here at Wake Forest. After two years of planning, the University is finally hosting its “Words Awake!” celebration of Wake Forest writers! The three day event will focus on recognizing the achievements of Wake Forest writers past and present while also…

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Poem of the Week: “Pollen” by Moya Cannon

Poem of the Week: “Pollen” by Moya Cannon

We felt this poem about pollen by Moya Cannon was incredibly appropriate this week as the season changes from winter to spring. You can read more of her poetry in our anthology The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry, Volume II.  Pollen And this dust survives through the death of ages. It sleeps in deep…

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Poem of the Week: “Oscar” by Ciaran Carson

Poem of the Week: “Oscar” by Ciaran Carson

Ever wish you could experience winning an Oscar? In light of last weekend’s Academy Awards, today we present you that opportunity, courtesy of one of our most popular poets, Ciaran Carson. Oscar I held the figurine aloft, revelling in my actor’s gravestone smile; I boldly faced an orchestra of flash, as paparazzi packed the aisle. I thanked everyone: all…

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Poem of the Week: “Time-Words” by Medbh McGuckian

Poem of the Week: “Time-Words” by Medbh McGuckian

Published the year I was born, Medbh McGuckian’s Marconi’s Cottage is full of mysterious and intriguing poems. Her use of metaphors and similes makes the following a beautiful piece of writing and an inspiring work of art. Time-Words I am a debt, soon I will be added, As words wither away with the things they describe, As…

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Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day

In honor of St. Valentine’s Day, we at WFU Press have selected three different poems that cover the different spectrums of that confusing but beautiful thing known as love. Michael Longley’s poem “The Scissors Ceremony” depicts the heartwarming image of an old couple that are still very much in love. In contrast, John Montague reminds…

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Poem of the Week: “Augury” by Caitríona O’Reilly

Poem of the Week: “Augury” by Caitríona O’Reilly

This week’s poem is by Caitríona O’Reilly, whose poems are featured in our recent anthology, The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry. Last fall, the Wake Forest community was offered the opportunity to listen to O’Reilly, along with  Rita Ann Higgins, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, and Leontia Flynn, as the Women’s Anthology tour kicked off…

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Poem of the Week: “Bee Orchid” by Michael Longley

The weather in Winston-Salem today is beautiful. It’s warm and breezy, and one can in indulge in tricking him- or herself into believing that spring has come early on this fine day. Hoping to encourage this weather to stay (please!), we’ve chosen a poem from Michael Longley’s A Hundred Doors, wherein the imagery inspires visions…

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Poem of the Week: “Pipistrelle” by Harry Clifton

Poem of the Week: “Pipistrelle” by Harry Clifton

Pipistrelle At no point, in the whole of that northern night, Was there total eclipse of light, Only a yellow streak, low down in the sky Against which little squeaks, subliminal cries Would dash themselves, so to speak— The pipistrelles. Hours later, dawn would break To the sound of illegitimate shots In the field nearby….

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