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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Video Highlights from Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s Reading at Wake Forest

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Wake Forest Reading, April 4, 2016

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Wake Forest Reading, April 4, 2016

We began this glorious National Poetry Month with a visit from Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, who gave a reading at Wake Forest on April 4, 2016. As we near the end of April, we wanted to share some of the joys of that evening with you. Today we feature one of her poems from The Boys of Bluehill,  a poem which was printed on a commemorative broadside for the reading. We’ve also put video highlights on our YouTube channel, and you can watch one of them below.

Juliette Ryan and the Cement Mixer

The world is beauty and order,
beauty that springs from order,
but more, it is a breathing surface a rippling
a fragrance like spice enticing from the kitchen—
a pulse beating behind the embroidered veil,
a branch spreading leaves against sky,
displayed like hair on a pillow,

a pulse like the one that lay beneath
a heaving, shining grey sludge of concrete in the mixer
as the blades revolved inside,
so that she reached out her hand
as if to touch.
##########But her brother grabbed
her elbow in case she did touch and finished
losing the hand.
############I want like her to touch,

as if reaching out to lay my hand on velvet
or on the skin of a muscular chest
#########################or as Byron,
after travelling through four cantos, and eight years,
through four hundred and ninety-five Spenserian stanzas,
and across Europe and Turkey, so at last
he could finish with the pilgrim Harold and meet himself as a child,
said
###that he laid his hand on the mane of the dark blue sea.

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, from The Boys of Bluehill (2015)

In this video, Ní Chuilleanáin reads “Finding Proteus” from her newest volume, as well as two new unpublished poems:

Watch more highlights on our YouTube channel.


Categories: Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Irish Poetry, Irish Women's Poetry, National Poetry Month, News, Poem of the Week

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