The Astrakhan Cloak, a collaboration between Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Paul Muldoon reveals an astonishing connection between two extraordinary talents.
‘These exuberant poems filter a modern suburban existence through the beguiling miasma of a more ancient Ireland . . . What Muldoon calls in one poem ‘the monsters of the imagination, the demons of the air’ dart through the book like sly witches on a wild night.
— Conor Kelly, The Sunday Tribune
‘The translations shed light on her work and add new dimensions and meanings to many of the poems. It will undoubtedly make her beautiful, lyrical poetry accessible to a greater number of people and it’s a collaboration that much be welcomed by all readers.’ — The Irish Times
‘Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s The Astrakhan Cloak consists of untranslated poems from her Irish-language collection Feis(1991). Paul Muldoon as translator is a welcome choice, judging by Pharaoh’s Daughter (1990). He bravely edits the originals, allowing himself the freedom to make good versions in English. The collection deals with love, war, nature, death, the other world, motherhood, depression, nationalism, growing pains, and biting your sean nós to spite your face — the ascendancy of narrative tradition over rationalist empiricism as an aid to the imagination. A major theme is immram or voyage, each marking a departure or loss . . . The two poets are at their best, making The Astrakhan Cloak a landmark in Irish literature and the acquisition of Irish essential for those who want to keep up. — FrankSewell, Fortnight
‘This is an outstanding volume which with a poignant assurance places its hope in the ‘little boat/of the language’.’
— Tom Paulin, Independent on Sunday, Books of the Year
The translations shed light on her work and add new dimensions and meanings to many of the poems. It will undoubtedly make her beautiful, lyrical poetry accessible to a greater number of people and it’s a collaboration that much be welcomed by all readers.
— The Irish Times
The most interesting thing now happening in Irish literature is the disinterested collaboration between its two component cultures and languages. This book is the most significant and disinterested recent contribution to that salutary development. It marks a moment in Hardiman’s Irish Minstrelsy in 1834: a move ‘to make the people of Ireland better acquainted with one another, ‘ and to make the wider literary world better acquainted with both components.
— Bernard O’Donoghue TLS
This type of highly allusive poetry is notoriously difficult to translate successfully, particularly when much of its imaginative tension depends on the play between ‘native’ and ‘foreign’, between old and new, between modern and traditional . . . Muldoon, however, manages magnificently . . . It is a mark of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s stature as a poet that, even when divorced from their context as part of a highly ambitious and successful poetic agenda, these poems retain their authority and still show an underlying thematic unity . . . a marvellous book.
— Briona Nic Dhiarmada, ILS
Year Published: 1992
ISBN PBK: 978 1 85235 104 5