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 The Art of Honesty

The Art of Honesty

Liam Mac Amhlaigh
The Talk of the Town, by Caitríona Ní Chléirchín, trans Peter Fallon, The Gallery Press, 85 pp, €12, ISBN: 978-1911337881 The Talk of the Town is an intriguing and beguiling bilingual collection, hollowed out of the bedrock of inspirational love, its location in nature, and in the care for life in its broadest sense. At the outset, it would be remiss of me not to contextualise this volume’s importance in literary terms as a sister publication of Calling Cards (The Gallery Press, 2018), a vibrant anthology that includes prize-winning authors of several collections as well as three poets who have yet to publish a book. This volume of Irish-language poetry and translations, a joint venture between Poetry Ireland/Éigse Éireann and The Gallery Press, co-edited by Peter Fallon and Aifric Mac Aodha, is a critical milestone in the appreciation and study of Irish-language poetry of the millennium. The Talk of the Town is the first volume from Gallery of one of the ten “Calling Card” poets since its publication, but it follows seamlessly from the previously published The Coast Road (2016, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh and various translators), and Foreign News (2017, Aifric Mac Aodha/David Wheatley). This set of four books is a critical resource in Irish-language poetry post-2000 for readers and students alike, and their arrival has begun a process to better map the Irish-language poetical landscape of this millennium. Like The Coast Road, this edition is a landmark publication in the literary career of Caitríona Ní Chléirchín. It brings together a selection of poems previously published by Coiscéim: Crithloinnir (Shimmer) (2010) and An Bhrídeach Sí (The Fairy Bride) (2015) in a single volume, bolstered with excellent translations. Her poetry speaks of love, and engages with mind, body, and soul, moving from the modern to the traditional, drawing inspiration from Irish-language folktale and story, encompassing both the personal humanity of love in its caring sense, and the corporeal erotic attraction between loving partners. Similar in some ways to Mac Aodha’s work, Ní Chléirchín’s poetry is sensitive and subtle. She has the capacity to be very precise, exact and concise. Her verses are neat, highly strung, full of conviction and rich in interpersonal suggestion. Ní Chléirchín acknowledges that love comes in many forms and is not reluctant to evidence the wounds that are advanced by a love that has painfully dissipated or separated. The poems taken from An Bhrídeach Sí contain many references to folklore, and to love at one with nature. In a similar way to Nuala…

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