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.

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

Understanding the Bards

A fourteenth-century bardic poet and patronage in medieval Ireland

What Must Be Told

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.

Down among the Greeks

References to a First Communion, a birthday, suggest a recognisably Irish calendar, where seasons, generations, routine festivals, interweave, and time tolerates these interlocking layers of the traditional and brand-new, which sit alongside a range of reference from classical mythology.

How Perfectly the Parts Fit

Michael Coady’s poems revolve around his home town of Carrick-on-Suir, where the river and the countryside are as essential to living as the air, but it is the presence of people, alive and dead, their relationships, memories, agreements and disagreements that fills them with life.

The Deep Music of the World

Michelle O’Sullivan’s three collections, but especially this new one, will convince many that her work should find its way to attentive readers, who it is hoped will not try to fit her into any boxes other than the big one marked ‘poets’, who will appreciate her skill with language and her alertness to the world’s music.

The Return

After a life lived mainly ‘elsewhere than in Ireland’, Harry Clifton returned to live in Portobello, near his boyhood home. The return brings with it some foreboding: will the past and its ghosts rush forward to embrace him? Mind you, he’s not the only one who is out of place.

Hard and Soft

The virtues of Jane Clarke’s first verse collection include a broad sympathy that never usurps the voice of the other, a pleasure in ingenious objects and crafts that is deftly transmitted and a clarity which does not deny mystery but makes room for it.

Rousing the Reader

It is language itself ‑ its multiplicity, its straining after meaning, the assumptions buried within it ‑ that are illuminated by Paul Muldoon’s work, with the best poems, in his words, giving the alert reader the answers ‘to questions that only they have raised’.