The mysterious and ethereal quality of Venus and the Rain is part of its immediate attraction . . . her evasive and hermetic technique is central to her meaning. Her poetry has a genuine moral authority.
— Nick Roe, North
Medbh McGuckian’s second collection describes, and inscribes in alluring art, the encounter and conflict of codes and symbols which represent the male and female principles. Invoking Keats and Wallace Stephens, Jon Cook reckoned in The New Statesman, ‘The subject is realised in a way that is complex, richly textured and differentiated. It can be a matter of restoring mythic voices . . . or it’s to do with a knowledge won from experience and given direct and eloquent utterance . . . The book as a whole gives notice of a considerable achievement in the making.’
McGuckian’s Venus and the Rain and On Ballycastle Beach also seemed enormous achievements. Her poems were gorgeous patterns in sounds and images that daringly, provokingly, implicated their linguistic experiment with gender (was it a parody though?), but also felt sublime and inspirational. — Andrew Elliot, The Linen Hall Review