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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 

Yeats Now: Echoing into Life

Joseph M Hassett
Yeats Now: Echoing into Life, by Joseph M. Hassett, was published by Lilliput Press in September. Below we reprint its introduction. The Dublin Review of Books will publish a review of the work in the new year.
Dec 6, 2020, 17:13 PM

Hear the Silence

Magdalena Kay
Derek Mahon is not a poet to calm or ease the mind. He keeps us alert, thinking, in flux. It is hard to accept that ‘Washing Up’ will be his last word. Perhaps this is the greatest gift, that this posthumous volume shows a talent so utterly undiminished, so equal to the challenge of contemporary life.
Dec 6, 2020, 17:05 PM


Maedhbh McNamara
In the early decades of the independent state, a woman who wished to flee her husband’s violence encountered a host of economic, legal and social obstacles. She had few legal remedies and no access to divorce. She was almost certain to be financially dependent.
Dec 6, 2020, 17:00 PM

From the Pleasure Ground

Joseph Woods
Richard Murphy’s publishing life began in the 1950s and culminated in his collected poems in 2013His poetry has its feet firmly in the last century, while the late poems and prose projects, including his marvellous memoir The Kick, firmly establishes him in this one.
Dec 6, 2020, 16:56 PM

Against the Vanishing

Enda Wyley
Throughout her new collection, Mary O’Donnell proves herself a smooth stylist, converting ideas, emotions, opinions into genuine poems that have a visible and an invisible subject. It helps that her imagination is a sturdy one.
Dec 6, 2020, 16:52 PM

Looking Through You

Gerald Dawe
Below is an extract from Looking Through You: Northern Chronicles by Gerard Dawe, published this summer by Merrion Press at €18.
Dec 6, 2020, 16:47 PM

What Are We Like?

Grace Gageby
We’re the world’s friendliest people ‑ though don’t mention the Brits. We’re great at the ould writing, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the jar. God comes second only to Ireland, and sometimes first. And of course we’re always up for a scrap. Yes, yes, yes … but what are we really like?
Dec 6, 2020, 16:41 PM

Two Legs Bad

Martin Tyrrell
George Orwell never wavered in his belief in democratic socialism, though he feared those in charge might succumb to the lure of totalitarianism. The author of a new study of the writer, however, argues that a socialist society is beyond human reach ‑ since we are simply not morally up to it.
Dec 6, 2020, 16:34 PM

Red-brick Midas

John Fleming
In John Cooper Clarke’s 1960s Manchester, shirts came in three colours: white, grubby and filthy. Coloured shirts were for spivs, queers, Latinos, and worst of all, teddy boys, who by virtue of their hard-nut reputation as blade artists could wear whatever they liked.
Dec 6, 2020, 16:12 PM

What Must Be Told

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
The first duty of the artist is to be lucky. To be there like the photographer, at the right time and with the right equipment to capture what is going on. Paula Meehan’s childhood and youth ran parallel to developments in society which she was particularly well-placed to notice and record.
Dec 6, 2020, 16:02 PM

The Impossibility of Memory

Theo Dorgan
When Homer’s ‘Odyssey’, the great oral epic of Western culture, was written down, something changed forever. There is a sense in which ‘Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire’, a lament first uttered in 1773, marks the last ripple outward from that momentous event.
Dec 6, 2020, 15:38 PM

‘Staunch Fine Gael’

Frank Callanan
Garret FitzGerald, who had voted Fianna Fáil in 1961, believed his own thinking to be closer to Labour and he and other party liberals positively sought coalition to ensure that socially progressive policies which were unlikely to have commended themselves to their own party were pursued.
Dec 6, 2020, 15:19 PM

The Case of the Vanishing Phantom

John Toohey
The supernatural tale thrived for over 100 years from about 1830, but now seems to exist only as pastiche. In the Internet age, no voice need be silent or stifled any more, even if no one is listening. The ghost story, let’s face it, is not sleeping but dead. And probably best left that way.
Dec 6, 2020, 15:14 PM

Divided Loyalties

Aaron Edwards
Assessing the impact of secret intelligence in the midst of armed conflict is difficult due to the secrecy surrounding such activities. In the absence of official comment, it is perhaps unsurprising that accounts by individuals, keen to amplify their own exploits, tend to fill the gaps in our knowledge.
Dec 6, 2020, 15:08 PM

Breaking Their Will

Luke Gibbons
The physical violation of the body in force-feeding, introduced against suffragettes, highlighted issues of domination, servitude, and the desire to humiliate. Infinitely worse than the pain, wrote Sylvia Pankhurst, was the sense of degradation.
Dec 6, 2020, 14:56 PM

Plagues and Portents

Geoff Ward
In Shakespeare, the word ‘honour’, with its derivatives and variants, occurs more than 900 times. Among abstract nouns only ‘love’ and ‘time’ are used more often. Honour imposes heavy responsibilities both on those who feel they are endowed with it, and on those who aspire to it.
Dec 6, 2020, 14:46 PM