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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."

The WFU Press Holiday Sale & Gift-Giving Guide

The WFU Press Holiday Sale is back! Use coupon code WFUPHOLIDAY at checkout and receive 40% off our entire catalog (forthcoming books excluded). The sale runs through Christmas, but order by Dec. 16th to ensure your gift arrives in time.

Can’t decide what to get your friends and family for the holidays? We know gift-giving can be tricky, but we’re here to help. Whether your loved ones are immersed in Irish poetry or have never read it before, Wake Forest University Press has the book for you. Or, if you’re not feeling a book this holiday season, check out our decorative broadsides and t-shirts. Happy gifting!

1. For the reader new to Irish poetry: 

The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry is perfect for those who want to begin reading Irish poets but don’t know where to start. Each volume in this set of anthologies includes a selection of poetry from five poets, accompanied by introductions by the anthology’s editor or interviews with the authors.

2. For the lover of epic poetry: 

From Beowulf to Gilgamesh to the Odyssey, epic poetry has the power to last through the eons, giving insight into past cultures and recording the stories of present ones. For those who enjoy immersing themselves in a world, we have a few suggestions. The Rough Field by John Montague, published in 1972, has been praised as the most significant attempt in poetry to understand Northern Ireland’s troubled history. We also recommend Ciaran Carson’s translation of Brian Merriman’s 18th-century poem The Midnight Court. This extended poem engages with the social, economic, and political situation of late 18th-century Catholic Ireland under British colonial rule through both satire and the fantastic.

3. For the reader with a sense of humor:

Even in the very serious poetry world, sometimes we want and need a good laugh. For friends with a unique sense of humor, upgrade their reading list with the sarcastic wit, satire, and even absurdity that features in books like The Radio by Leontia Flynn, Scapegoat and Other Poems by Alan Gillis, or The President of Planet Earth by David Wheatley.

4. For the polyglot: 

For those with a penchant for languages, WFU Press has a selection of poetry in translation. The francophone might enjoy works by French poets Claire Malroux, Francis Ponge, or Philippe Jaccottet. Those interested in the Irish language might appreciate Máire Mhac an tSaoi or Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. And many of our Irish poets have translated from other languages, such as Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s Legend of the Walled-Up Wife, a translation of the Romanian poet Ileana Mӑlӑncioiu. Check out the “Translation” section of our online catalog.

5. For the person who has too many books:  

Is your friend unable to leave a bookstore without adopting something new for their bookshelf? When you try to gift them books, do they always already have them? Not to fear! This holiday season, celebrate their love of literature with a t-shirt or some of our beautiful and specially-designed broadsides.

6. For the world traveler:

Harry Clifton has lived, worked, and traveled all over the world and his interest in place and culture features heavily in his poetry. For the cosmopolitan reader, we recommend Clifton’s Herod’s Dispensations, The Holding Centre, and Secular Eden for a quick escape to somewhere new.

7. For the person who has always wanted to go to Ireland: 

Including seventy-nine duotone photographs of remote Irish-speaking farming and sheepherding communities, The Donegal Pictures by Rachel Giese provides an intimate look at the Irish countryside. Giving this beautiful book will inspire anyone to finally plan the trip.

8. For the haiku lover: 

Though he writes much more than haikus, Frank Ormsby usually includes a few poems in this form in his collections, employing his typical wry sense of humor. We recommend his latest volumes The Rain Barrel (forthcoming this spring) and The Darkness of Snow for both bite-sized verses and an introduction to the poet’s work. 

9. For the collector:  

We have a limited selection of collectible hardcover editions of works by Thomas Kinsella, Vona Groarke, Conor O‘Callaghan, and Ciaran Carson. Each clothbound edition has a signature-embossed cover and a classic vellum jacket. Signed editions are available, too!

10. For the rebel: 

Michael Hartnett and Medbh McGuckian are both celebrated Irish poets who broke tradition in different ways. Hartnett is known for his highly political decision in 1975 to thenceforth only write in the Irish language at a time when the language was being stamped out. McGuckian was the first female writer-in-residence at Queen’s University and has always defied convention in her poetry. Books by these poets would make the perfect gift to inspire creators and pioneers.

11. For the naturalist:

The long tradition of appreciating nature in literature exists especially in poetry. For lovers of the natural world, we recommend giving works by Michael Longley, Paula Meehan, and Caitríona O‘Reilly. Longley’s gorgeous and dedicated cataloging of the landscape of his beloved Carrigskeewaun can be appreciated across his oeuvre; we’d recommend his Collected Poems. Meehan engages with ecology and the symbolism of nature, and explores ways humans connect to each other through it, in books like Painting Rain. Reading Geis by O’Reilly gives one a sense of a trip to the natural science museum—her focus on science and anthropology connects back to, and is grounded in, natural processes. 

12. For the Irish poetry devotee: 

What is better than a gift that keeps on giving?! Our Book Club entitles the recipient to a copy of each book we publish as soon as it is released. Book Club members receive a 20% discount and free shipping, so as a gift it’s a win-win. Your giftee will never be at a loss for great Irish poetry again!


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