I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized In her Element

In her Element

Kerri Ní Dochartaigh
And now there is a moth … Kathleen Jamie’s “Surfacing” The tissue of the land and skin and bone and sky … If the land, like the body, can hold a trauma … It can also, perhaps, hold a healing. [Elizabeth Jane Burnett] I would say that there exist a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else … the farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family. [Mary Oliver] Surfacing, by Kathleen Jamie, Sort of Books, 240 pp, £12.99, ISBN: 978-1908745811 Kathleen Jamie’s new book, “Surfacing”, arrives with me – between two heavy showers of Atlantic rain – at the end of August, moments after the BBC tell us that the government has asked the queen to suspend parliament; a handful of weeks before the Brexit deadline. We have no idea – not a single one of us – how any of the next few weeks, months or years will look for these islands. This illuminating, essential; deeply moving book makes its way from London across the sea, mirroring so many ancient pathways, ignoring boundaries, crossing borderlines. The city in which it arrives – my hometown of Derry – is a border town caught up in the spiralling chaos that the last few years of Brexit negotiations have spat out at their mucky feet. They find themselves very far north, these new words from this well established and esteemed writer – one for our era; in a northwesterly corner of the island of Ireland. The words, before they made their mark on the paper I now hold, so gratefully, in my hands – found their shapes and form high above London on the map – in Jamie’s home of Scotland, I imagine. In the autumn that is on its way to us, beginning to rattle the trees, calling to the geese and the swans, Kathleen Jamie will travel from her home in Alba, to the North of Ireland, where she will take up her post as the Seamus Heaney International Visiting Poetry Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast. She said of the appointment: “As a Scottish poet I’ve always looked to Ireland”, and I found such nourishment in this small gathering of words; such a sense of soothing, and solidarity. There are places on both bodies of land where, if one looks on the right day, and in its proper part, under certain conditions, the…



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