‘I love how effortlessly Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin collapses the usual divisions between intellect and imagination.’
— Peter Campion, Poetry
‘I returned to that narrow street
where I used to stand and listen
to the chat from kitchen or parlour, filtered
through rotten tiles. I thought
the rough walls seemed higher than before . . .’
So begins Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s most recent excavation of memory and examination of time (and timelessness on the Skellig islands).
With what Sean O’Brien in The Guardian pinpointed as her poetry’s ‘technical command with its richly cadenced free verse and sly rhyme’ and her ‘arresting authority’ her way of seeing has become a vision. A painterly detail illuminates poem after poem — ‘looking at the map . . . I can see/ how countries are nibbled out of continents.’
Music permeates the collection which also features elegies and poems about language. A beautiful image of her father, ‘a mountain becoming a mountain range’, might describe her own work. Just as she refreshes an Old Irish anonymous poem her own original, commemorative art renews the world.
This is a book to be grateful for.