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Ciaran Carson

Ciaran Carson

…r literatures.” – Charles Simic Born in 1948 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Ciaran Carson studied at Queen’s University, Belfast, where, from 2003–2015, he served as the director of the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry. After retiring from this post, he continued to teach a postgraduate poetry workshop there, in addition to overseeing the Belfast Writers’ Group. Ciaran Carson, Irish poet, acted as an arts officer for the Arts Council of Northern Ire…

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Ciaran Carson, 1948–2019

…reat sadness that we announce the death of one of our most esteemed poets, Ciaran Carson. Ciaran had been with us from the beginning, and we will miss him. Our hearts go out to his wife and children, Deirdre, Manus, Gerard, and Mary. We share these words from Guinn Batten, who helped manage WFU Press with Dillon Johnston in its early years: How Ciaran Carson lived his life, and expressed it in his emotionally charged, intellectually high-wattage,…

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Revealing Ciaran Carson’s From Elsewhere Cover

…s create a shift between the sky and the water’s reflection of it, just as Carson’s poems offer a shift in view from Follain’s poems. As Carson says in his introduction, “So I find myself in the other of Follain, questing and fetching the poems from another language, from the elsewhere of his territory.” Though Carson’s riffs differ from Follain’s poems, the connection between the two is still apparent, even if only in their titles. For example, C…

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

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

…a cataract of awful foam… a breath disperses all the boundaries of home. –Ciaran Carson, from In the Light Of (2013) For In the Light Of , Ciaran has just been shortlisted for the 2013 Corneliu M. Popescu Prize (formerly the European Poetry Translation Prize). The Popescu Prize is awarded for outstanding work in translation from a European language into English. The winner will be announced November 29. Interested in reading more from In the Ligh…

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Ciaran Carson on tour in the U.S. next month

…arson in Royal Avenue, Belfast, N.Ireland. We are pleased to announce that Ciaran Carson will be on tour in the U.S. this November. If you’ve never had the opportunity to see him read his work, you’re in for a treat. His lively readings combine poetry with traditional Irish music, making for a delightful and festive evening. A quick search on YouTube will turn up videos that will give you a taste of what you can expect (this is one of our favorite…

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Collected Poems | Ciaran Carson

Collected Poems | Ciaran Carson

…s (the 60s in Paris, the Second World War). It seems that with each volume Carson invents anew the very ground from which his poetry springs. Collected Poems ensures the poet’s place at the cutting edge of contemporary art. Reviews “. . . It’s a necessary volume. Carson, who was born in Belfast, and grew up speaking Irish, is a poet of witness to the Northern Irish conflict. He’s also compulsively playful, a colloquial, ultra-literary story-teller…

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Happy birthday to Ciaran Carson

Happy birthday to Ciaran Carson

…Year After Year playing the tune over you’ve been cutting out the frills getting to know how the notes are more truly told by leaving them alone to be found by the bow –Ciaran Carson, from Until Before After (2010) For more about this book, read our interview with Ciaran Carson.  …

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

…s silent save for the footfall of a drunken soldier the echo of his song. –Ciaran Carson, from From Elsewhere (2015) More about National Translation Month NTM was founded in 2013 with three primary objectives: promoting translation scholarship, increasing translation prevalence in literary education, and promoting foreign language authors across cultures. NTM reminds readers of the increased literature accessibility and insight that translations o…

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Ciaran Carson to Read at UGA on April 10th

…university is hosting the 2013 Atlantic Archipelagos Research Project, and Carson’s reading will be a feature of the welcome ceremony. The event reflects on elements of British and Irish culture, national identities, and landscapes. The University of Georgia is immensely excited to be hosting Carson, calling him “one of the most gifted Irish artists of his generation.” He will be reading a mix of old and new work, particularly from his forthcomin…

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An Interview with Ciaran Carson

…rson by Matt Liberti, Wake Forest student and WFU Press intern March, 2010 Ciaran Carson recently took some time to have an email conversation with WFU Press intern Matt Liberti about his two newest volumes. Here’s their exchange. Q. The two new volumes, On the Night Watch and Until Before After, resemble each other in terms of structure and form more than any two of your other volumes. To what extent and in what ways do they converse with one ano…

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Video Highlights from Ciaran Carson’s Wake Forest Reading

Last week, Ciaran Carson visited Wake Forest University and gave an enchanting reading on campus. He read from his latest collection, From Elsewhere, and played traditional Irish tunes with his wife, fiddler Deirdre Shannon. Watch the video below for highlights from this wonderful evening! And don’t skip the ending; one of the most special moments happened during the reception, when Ciaran and Deirdre played an impromptu session with local musici…

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Book of the Month: Ciaran Carson’s BELFAST CONFETTI … “raining exclamation marks”

Book of the Month: Ciaran Carson’s BELFAST CONFETTI  … “raining exclamation marks”

  Ciaran Carson’s “Belfast Confetti” is one of my favorite poems. A copy is mounted above the desk where we work at the Press and I glance up at it while typing, editing, and occasionally gazing off into space. Every time I read it, I notice something new. I was surprised when I read through all 37 poems in Belfast Confetti that the poem itself is not present in the work. How could the title poem not be in the book? As it turns out, the poem is f…

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Selected Poems | Ciaran Carson

Selected Poems | Ciaran Carson

Ciaran Carson‘s Selected Poems represents—while yet in full current—the early prodigious poetic creativity of one of Ireland’s great writers. This selection gathers poems from The New Estate (1976), The Irish for No (1987), Belfast Confetti (1989), First Language (1993), Opera Et Cetera (1996), The Alexandrine Plan (1998), and The Twelfth of Never (1998), all published in North America by Wake Forest University Press. In their play, these books p…

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Still Life

Still Life

…rvellously endure.” –Aingeal Clare, The Guardian “Abundant, pitch-perfect, Ciaran Carson’s miraculous new poems find their own shapes. Detours illuminate the themes and propel the narratives. Tumult combines with decorum. Meanders give way to rapids. The ‘trills and warbles’ add up unerringly to a majestic utterance, ‘a new acoustic.’ This is indeed writing for dear life. This is a poetry of genius.” –Michael Longley “In Still Life, Ciaran Carson’…

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The Falls Road: Carson’s childhood neighborhood

The Falls Road: Carson’s childhood neighborhood

…st a few years before. Dargan’s street photographs help illustrate some of Carson’s most vivid writing about The Troubles and the daily life of the working class in urban Belfast. In Belfast Confetti, Carson’s 1989 tour de force volume, he muses on Belfast the place. “Question Time” is in the voice of a returning native, whose Belfast is not as familiar as it once was and is, in fact, “changing daily.” The speaker draws us into a photograph of a r…

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In the Light Of

In the Light Of

…magery to rhyme, chime, and echo: to make some kind of music to my ear.” – Ciaran Carson, in an interview with The Spectator (Read the entire interview) Follow this link to listen to Carson read “Fée,” “Snow,” and “As I Roved Out” from In the Light Of. Reviews “The varied textual history of Rimbaud’s Illuminations is testament to its nature as a timeless work, indicative of a text which is at once elusive yet all-encompassing, foreign yet familiar…

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From There to Here: Selected Poems and Translations

From There to Here: Selected Poems and Translations

…on iBooks EPUB version available on Nook Praise for From There to Here by Ciaran Carson: “It is impossible to do justice to the breadth and depth of Carson’s work … but this fine comprehensive volume is no ordinary selection. The rearrangement or ‘there to here’ of his poems—which have always spoken to each other—calls out clearer and sharper than ever, an interactive treasure chest…” –Martina Evans, The Irish Times “This significant, accessible…

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Publication Day for FROM THERE TO HERE

…s. From There to Here is being released in North America today, October 1st, 2019, and is available for purchase on our website. If you’re interested in more information about Ciaran Carson, visit our YouTube channel and Pinterest link collection. PURCHASE NOW ISBN 978-1-930630-88-8 $18.95, paperback…

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Breaking News

Breaking News

…correspondent “to accommodate rhyme and rhythm,” as he says in his notes. Carson posts Breaking News, as Pound says of poetry, to show “news that stays news.” Winner of the 2003 Forward Prize for Best Poetry Collection Reviews “. . . Carson displays a constant, playful inventiveness in discovering new ways in which the rhythms of spoken and written (journalistic) language can come to be perceived as poetry.” – Poetry Review “Breaking News is an i…

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Remarks on Carson’s “The Fetch,” from For All We Know, Part Two

…startled out of a slightly less reassuring dream, all dreamed up by Ciaran Carson and communicated to us in a type of highly refined artistic. This last part becomes especially poignant when we consider that the enigmatic brunette both lacks a name and seems able only to communicate either a.) in the most indirect, obscure, dare we say poetic manner or b.) via a series of semantically incoherent moans. The exchange between us the reader and Carson

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For All We Know

For All We Know

…old War thrillers, fairy stories, popular music, and the art of the fugue. Ciaran Carson is one of the most versatile and imaginative contemporary poets writing in English. For All We Know is a virtuoso display of his powers. Selected as the Spring 2008 choice by the Poetry Book Society One of only five poetry books selected by Publishers Weekly as “Best Books of the Year” Reviews “Ciaran Carson’s new volume of poems, For All We Know, is one he ha…

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From Elsewhere

From Elsewhere

…n by combining them in homage to the French poet Jean Follain (1903–1971). Carson not only translates the original, but also adds his own poetic rendition, crafting a mosaic of translation and free response. The implications of Follain’s poems are often made arrestingly explicit in Carson’s versions. The silences in “Without Language” resound as the unfathomable echoes of “In Memory.” The terror of Modernism in “The Burnt Island” becomes the moder…

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The WFU Press Holiday Sale & Gift-Giving Guide

…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 t…

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The Midnight Court

The Midnight Court

…an exuberant, even jaunty work of the comic imagination. As the translator Ciaran Carson states in his foreword: “The protagonists of the ‘Court,’ including ‘Merriman’ himself, are ghosts, summoned into being by language; they are figments of the imagination. In the ‘Court’ the language itself is continually interrogated and Merriman is the great illusionist, continually spiriting words into another dimension.” Note: The clothbound edition has a s…

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Did you know…

Did you know…

…determined to learn Irish, and became fluent in a couple of years. Willie Carson became Liam Mac CarrÀin, sometimes known as Liam Carson. He proceeded to teach Irish in his spare time, and fell in love with one of his pupils, Mary Maginn. When they married, in 1944, they made a resolution to speak exclusively Irish at home. It was forbidden to speak English, which my siblings and I picked up off the street. Since no one else in the neighbourhood…

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The Alexandrine Plan

The Alexandrine Plan

…e poet to his world is adapted to the wild, fruitful imagination of Ciaran Carson, while formally the poems hold to their “Alexandrine plan,” twelve-syllable lines in the rhyme schemes of the original. As Carson carries these poems across his own idiom and sensibility, he restores, with startling freshness, the essential joy and verve of the earlier poems. In French and English Reviews “[A] reader with even a smattering of French might appreciate…

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The Twelfth of Never

The Twelfth of Never

…orming a farmer’s cart in Kavanagh’s poem into an executioner’s ‘tumbril,’ Carson explodes, as he does throughout, the entire corpus of Irish social, political and cultural myth.” – Thomas O’Grady, Boston Review “Everything here, Carson writes, ‘is metaphor and simile.’ The terrain parceled into his alexandrine sonnets; scanty plots, then, is poetry itself, a ‘paradise’ through which we sometimes stumble. And in this land that figures time (or no-…

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An Interview with Frank Ormsby on THE DARKNESS OF SNOW

…etry at the top of the agenda. The same may be said of my friendships with Ciaran Carson and Conor Macauley. Meetings with Ciaran tend to be at literary events or when we go walking for health reasons in the Waterworks Park in North Belfast. Since Paul Muldoon settled in North America, I see very little of him. Still, I love them all and consider it one of the highlights of my life to have had such creative and intelligent and funny people as life…

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First Language

First Language

…n won the first-ever T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize for First Language. Reviews “Ciaran Carson’s First Language is a spectacular collection . . . If you buy only one poetry book this year, make sure it’s this one.” – Gerald Dawe, The Irish Times “For all the postmodern . . . wordplay, Carson is never less than exquisitely sensitive to the raw dimension of the Belfast life to which even the chastest of styles is inadequate by way of response . . . Hats o…

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Opera Et Cetera

Opera Et Cetera

…“Z”). Words and stories proliferate, exuberantly and often hilariously, as Carson makes play of the “work” that is “Opera,” Opera Et Cetera. Reviews “In Irish traditional music, very much a part of Carson’s life, the same tune should never be played the same way twice. [T]his use of performance and variation reflects on how people might exist only in the telling, in language, and how all experience might be a matter of language shuffling its cards…

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“Mostly dark, with a chink of light”: Alan Gillis reflects on Scapegoat and Other Poems

…own. Let me just Google that again. Arrghhhh! You’ve mentioned both Ciaran Carson and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin as influences. Could you discuss these poets and how their work has informed or changed your own? I love Ciaran’s writing—his absolute dedication to the imagination and to literature, where style is raised to a kind of Neo-Platonic ideal, but jokes are still allowed. I think he is one of the great writers about place. As with Joyce, Ciaran’…

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“Belfast Confetti,” Writers Workshops, and Modern Security

…enn Patterson happened to be leading a workshop for the Fermanaugh Writers in Enniskellen–while the G8 summit was in town. Patterson’s column Belfast, a Brick, and the G8 Summit is a fascinating reflection on Ciaran Carson’s prose poem “Brick” from Belfast Confetti (1989) as an example of inspiration, and the complications of carrying writing prompts around security personnel braced for protesters….

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Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week

…han 11,300 books have been challenged, or attacked and almost removed due to content. One of our books, The Midnight Court translated by Ciaran Carson, was previously banned in Ireland for its “inappropriate content.” In honor of Banned Books Week, we’re delighted to bring you a few lines from Ciaran Carson’s 2006 translation, which the Los Angeles Times called “that rarest of things: a small and utterly enjoyable masterpiece.” “But damn her, I te…

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Broadside: Page franchie: A Page Ventured / The Blotting-paper

Broadside: <i>Page franchie</i>: A Page Ventured / The Blotting-paper

…8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ Broadside of a set of poems from Ciaran Carson’s From Elsewhere: “Page franchie: A Page Ventured” and “The Blotting-paper Typesetting and art design by Craig Fansler, Wake Forest ZSR Library. Printed with an antique letterpress on Strathmore pure cotton paper. This broadside was created to commemorate Ciaran Carson’s reading at Wake Forest University on Nov. 4, 2015. Poems used with kind permission of the poet…

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Until Before After

Until Before After

…n of Collected Poems, and the critically acclaimed For All We Know, Ciaran Carson has produced in just over one short but powerfully felt year two extraordinary volumes of poetry, Until Before After and On the Night Watch. Until Before After is separated into three sections (until, before, after) and each poem in each section includes a relevant preposition from the title of that section. Like its companion volume, Until Before After reflects on a…

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On the Night Watch

On the Night Watch

…n of Collected Poems, and the critically acclaimed For All We Know, Ciaran Carson has produced in just over one short but powerfully felt year two extraordinary volumes of poetry, Until Before After and On the Night Watch. Like its companion volume, On the Night Watch moves within the tight emotional spaces of worry and waiting that characterizes a period of illness in the family, creating an echo-chamber in the short-lived sonnets of this volume….

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Belfast Confetti

Belfast Confetti

Belfast Confetti, Ciaran Carson‘s third book of poetry, weaves together in a carefully sequenced volume prose pieces, long poems, lyrics, and haiku. His subjects include the permeable boundaries of Belfast neighborhoods, of memory, of public and private fear, and, indeed, of the forms of language and art. Carson finds unexpected uses—constructive and destructive—of the building rubble of Belfast history. Rich in lore of place, these innovative an…

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Once a Student, Always a Student: Medbh McGuckian’s Love of Learning

Once a Student, Always a Student: Medbh McGuckian’s Love of Learning

…Belfast to study English. As a university student, McGuckian met our poets Ciaran Carson and Paul Muldoon, whom she still works with frequently. Also at Queens University, McGuckian studied under Seamus Heaney, who not only taught McGuckian much about writing, but inspired the current spelling of her name. While signing a book for her, Heaney wrote McGuckian’s first name in the traditional Irish way, spelling it Medbh rather than Maeve. McGuckian…

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Louis MacNeice Poetry Evening

Louis MacNeice Poetry Evening

…to mark the 50th anniversary of Louis MacNeice’s death. Sinéad Morrissey, Ciaran Carson, Lucy Caldwell, and others joined together for readings at Ulster Hall in Belfast. MacNeice also has an international appeal, as demonstrated by the participation of Bermudian poet Paul Maddern (as noted in Bernews: Bermuda Poet to Participate in MacNeice Tribute). To learn more about Louis MacNeice, please visit the Literary Belfast profile of this important…

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5 things we’re looking forward to in 2015

…Press will be publishing new works by long-time WFU Press poets, including Ciaran Carson’s From Elsewhere (translations of poems by the French poet Jean Follain), and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s insightful volume, The Boys of Bluehill. We’re also happy to announce that our 2015 catalogue will include two poets we haven’t yet published: Frank Ormsby’s Goat’s Milk, which features both selected and new poems, and Caitríona O’Reilly’s Geis. 5. A Month of…

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Frank Ormsby

Frank Ormsby

…gs to that extraordinary generation of Northern Irish poets which includes Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon and Tom Paulin. He is a poet of the truest measure.” – Michael Longley, introduction to Goat’s Milk “[Ormsby’s] poems are concise, memorable and intelligent. . . . This is a poetry of simplicity and quiet power, one of hauntings, rememberings, and reimaginings.” – Seán Hewitt, Breac “Yet while [Ormsby] repeatedly celebrates the l…

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Pharaoh’s Daughter

Pharaoh’s Daughter

…ish and English, with translations by thirteen of Ireland’s leading poets: Ciaran Carson, Michael Coady, Peter Fallon, Michael Hartnett, Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley, Medbh McGuckian, Tom MacIntyre, Derek Mahon, John Montague, Paul Muldoon, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, and George O’Brien Reviews “[T]he branching-out, or shape-shifting, from Gaelic myth or folk-song to some less romantic or quirkier emblem of the present, is a constant resource of Nua…

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Poetry By Heart

Poetry By Heart

…Emily Dickinson as a 17 year old out of enthusiasm and love for the poem. Sinéad Morrissey joins Wake Forest Press poets Michael Longley, Paul Muldoon, and Ciaran Carson as winners of the TS Eliot Prize. Here is the interview. Posted By: Sophie…

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“Helen” by Frank Ormsby from GOAT’S MILK

“Helen” by Frank Ormsby from GOAT’S MILK

…gs to that extraordinary generation of Northern Irish poets which includes Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon and Tom Paulin. He is a poet of the truest measure.” Ormsby weaves his artistry with the his personal experiences throughout the collection and in this poem below.   Helen (b. 12 August 1994) The war will soon be over, or so they say. Five floors below the Friday rush-hour starts. You’re out and breathing. We smile to hear you cr…

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The Donegal Pictures

The Donegal Pictures

…emote Irish-speaking farming and sheepherding communities; Introduction by Ciaran Carson About the photographer: Rachel Giese (now Rachel Brown) was born in New York City in 1936, but her family moved around a good bit so she grew up “all over the country.” She studied photography as a private student of Melissa Shook at MIT in 1976, but is largely self-taught. Brown began traveling to Ireland in the late 1970s, drawn to the light, the weather, an…

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The Shack: Irish Poets in the Foothills and Mountains of the Blue Ridge

The Shack: Irish Poets in the Foothills and Mountains of the Blue Ridge

…eanáin, David Wheatley, John Montague and Elizabeth Wassell, Vona Groarke, Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian, Conor O’Callaghan, Michael Longley, and Derek Mahon. With lush watercolors by Kenneth Frazelle and an eighteenth-century painting of Old Salem by Christian Daniel Welfare. Footage of Conor O’Callaghan reading one of his poems from the book at the launch on March 13, 2015: Purchase a handmade broadside of the title poem, “The Shack” by Michael…

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The New North: Contemporary Poetry from Northern Ireland

The New North: Contemporary Poetry from Northern Ireland

…n, and Nick Laird, as well as classic poems by Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Ciaran Carson, Paul Muldoon, Medbh McGuckian, and Michael Longley. Reviews Wake Forest University Press continues its impressive dedication to Irish poetry . . . with The New North. . . . [T]he poems and poets offer an insightful, lyrical look into the psyche of 21st-century Northern Ireland.” – Irish America Magazine “American-born editor Chris Agee, who has lived in North…

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Goat’s Milk: New and Selected Poems

Goat’s Milk: New and Selected Poems

…gs to that extraordinary generation of Northern Irish poets which includes Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckian, Paul Muldoon and Tom Paulin. He is a poet of the truest measure.” – Michael Longley, from the Introduction Kindle version available at Amazon.com iBook version available on iTunes Reviews for Goat’s Milk: New and Selected Poems “If humility does not preclude potency, then these poems are modesty’s triumphs, and equanimity’s trumpet-blasts.” –…

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‘Tis the season for poetry readings

…Everyone knows that poetry is best when listened to, so kick back, relax and belatedly celebrate National Poetry Day with some readings from our poets. Ciaran Carson reading “Snow” from Belfast Confetti Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin reads from The Sun-Fish Paula Meehan reads her poem “Death of a Field” from Painting Rain Michael Longley reads “Harmonica” from his Collected Poems Vona Groarke reads “Pier” from Spindrift…

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