We hope you will join us for a launch and readings to celebrate the publication of five new and recent titles at 6.00pm on Thursday 25th May in Books Upstairs, 17 D’Olier Street, Dublin.
Gilgamesh– Marina Carr
Gilgamesh, a mythical king of the Sumerian city state of Uruk, is supposed to have ruled sometime during the first half of the third millennium BC. He is the hero of a Babylonian legend which recounts his exploits in an ultimately unsuccessful quest for immortality. In Marina Carr’s bold retelling of this foundational text she dramatizes the abuse of strength and grievous harm to the natural world.
The Lament for Art O’Leary – new translation by John FitzGerald
The heartrending story of Eileen O’Connell (Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill) and Art O’Leary (Art Ó Laoghaire) has survived for two and a half centuries in history, folklore and art. It differs from most of the best known narratives of love and loss in the Irish tradition because Eileen and Art were real people. Familiar since childhood with the topography of this poem, John FitzGerald offers a commemorative translation, a new slant in language that captures and communicates the physical intensity of Eileen O’Connell’s love and bereavement. The book contains also Seán Ó Tuama’s edition of the original Irish and, for the first time in monochrome, Jack B Yeats’s illustrations made for the text.
Company – Tom French
Shortlisted for the 2023 Pigott Poetry Prize, Company by Tom French (Gallery Press) is ‘a powerfully assured and authentic book of poems. The company of the title evokes the powers and pitfalls of friendship and family, and the capacity of historic narratives and works of art to address and contain the reality of individual and collective human experience. It also refers to animals and landscapes, those agents of wordless companionship that appear through the collection like dual guarantees of environmental pressure and imaginative intensity. Company excels and delights with its spirited lyricism and through a brilliant illusion of empathic conversation on the page.’ — Judges’ citation, Pigott Poetry Prize
The Lookout Post – Kevin Graham
The Lookout Post, Kevin Graham’s first collection, is a book of uncommon poise and range. It includes harrowing accounts of illness, a suicide, and joyous celebrations of fatherhood and family life. Surprising revelations — ‘And it strikes me there is only / the moment’ (‘The Knack’) and ‘It’s both enough and never enough’ (‘Weathering’) — match original detail — ‘the worried frown // knitted on his brow didn’t drop a stitch’ (‘The Lesson’). Whether it’s in the extended sequence, ‘Sketches’, which draws on the letters of Van Gogh, or shorter poems which pay homage to Wendell Berry, Zinedine Zidane and Derek Mahon or ruminate on Elizabeth Bishop’s sojourn in Ireland, The Lookout Post seamlessly melds the ordinary and the literary. As the book’s title might suggest this is a collection of acutely observed reflection by an outstanding new and assured voice.
Raised Among Vultures – Molly Twomey
Winner of the Southword Debut Poetry Collection Prize, this spectacular, and frequently disturbing, debut’s seemingly nonchalant expressions of hard experience (‘Over coffee I tell you I slept with some guy’) meld with vivid imaginings. Excited hearts are ‘bumper cars’, a Coke is ‘a huge cup of starless sky’ and a radish is ‘a red grenade’. In this world of Tumblr, online group therapy, NA and Touch ID, Molly Twomey’s unflinching art chronicles a history of eating disorders and inner conflicts. These are frontline reports from the outposts of youth, ‘nights / spent drunk with boys we could barely remember, / would never forget.’ In her first collection Molly Twomey breathes new life into Irish poetry.