Leanne O'Sullivan

Tuesday 13 February @ 8.30PM.
The Goldie Chapel, Nano Nagle Place

 

 

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Leanne O'Sullivan comes from the Beara peninsula in West Cork. She has published three collections to date, all from Bloodaxe, Waiting for My Clothes (2004), Cailleach: The Hag of Beara (2009), winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 2010, and The Mining Road (2013). She was given the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary Award in 2009 and the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry in 2011. Her work has been included in various anthologies, including Selina Guinness's The New Irish Poets (Bloodaxe Books, 2004) and Billy Collins's Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry (Random House, 2003).

 

About Leanne's fourth collection, A Quarter of an Hour:

In 2013, Leanne O’Sullivan’s husband Andrew suffered a severe infection in his brain. He spent just over three weeks in a coma, during which time his temperature soared to 42 degrees. When he finally woke it immediately became clear that his memory had been almost completely destroyed; he didn’t even know his wife. More present and visual to him were the birds and wild animals that he believed he could see during his recovery: foxes, wildcats and herons – animals that seemed to be guiding him back.

This became the starting point for poems that deal not simply with personal memory and recovery, but also the ways in which, collectively, even globally, we are trying (or not) to save entire species of plants and animals that we are now actually losing because of human activity. Nature has a voice that can speak back. This is a collection that celebrates the earth’s intoxicating wildness as well as the richness and preciousness of human experience. Overall, we can rejoice in the fact that we’re here, whatever the challenges.

'O’Sullivan shifts away from the kind of “topographical” poetry of place that has become common in Irish writing, choosing instead to locate the place’s meaning in “all of us listening”. O’Sullivan repeatedly presents us with objects or places, which then act not as statements of arrival or recovery but as points of departure. Things we have seen before, often in other people’s poems, come alive again in her hands… The Mining Road is a strong and varied book of poems… slow and concentrated pieces that register with great clarity the mystery of stories and images that exercise power over us, images and stories on which readers will dwell. At a time when historians, novelists and journalists are again revising our national narratives, these thoughtful, ambitious poems bring the past to life, but they also ask if any imagination of the past, no matter how rich and inevitable it feels, can ever be quite enough.' – John McAuliffe, The Irish Times.

'Subtle, slow-burning and sensuous poems that reward with successive readings, The Mining Road is a step in the right direction O’Sullivan and, indeed, for Irish poetry.' – Philip Cummins, The Irish Post.

© Bloodaxe books

 

Links

 

Leanne's forthcoming collection A Quarter of an Hour (Bloodaxe)

O'Sullivan's poems on Poetry International

"Three Poems for my Husband" on the Poetry Foundation

 

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Cork International Poetry Festival

13 - 17 February 2018

Cork International Poetry Festival

 

 

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