Medbh McGuckian

Her mind is astonishing, her range prodiguous . . . All of her work has that sense of clairvoyance, of being able to apprehend more than what is offered or obvious in everyday life.

Thomas McCarthy, Poetry Ireland Review

Medbh McGuckianMedbh McGuckian was born in 1950 in Belfast where she continues to live. She has been Writer-in-Residence at Queen’s University, Belfast, the University of Ulster, Coleraine, and Trinity College, Dublin, and was Visiting Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Gallery Press has published Venus and the Rain, On Ballycastle Beach, Marconi’s Cottage, Captain Lavender, The Flower Master & Other PoemsSelected Poems, Shelmalier, Drawing Ballerinas, The Face of the Earth (2002), Had I A Thousand Lives (2003), The Book of the Angel (2004), The Currach Requires No Harbours (2006), My Love has Fared Inland (2008), The High Caul Cap (2012), Blaris Moor (2015), Marine Cloud Brightening (2019, shortlisted for the 2020 Irish Times Poetry Now Award) and The Thankless Paths to Freedom (2022).

Among the prizes she has won are England’s National Poetry Competition, the Cheltenham Award, the Rooney Prize, the Bass Ireland Award for Literature, the Denis Devlin Award, the Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize, and, in 2002, the Forward Prize for Best Poem. She received the American Ireland Fund Literary Award in 1998 and an honorary Doctorate from the University of Aberdeen.

Medbh McGuckian is a member of Aosdána. 

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The Thankless Paths to Freedom

Poems in The Thankless Paths to Freedom were conceived in the hiatus between Ireland’s centenary celebrations for the 1916 Rising and the hundred year anniversary of the setting up of the Northern Irish state in 1921. Images of cells and privation, isolation and penitentiaries, abound.

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