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Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s Collected Poems gathers nine collections of poetry, from Acts and Monuments (1972) to The Mother House (2020), as well as new poems and translations. Her poetry is scrupulously controlled but also continuously startling, using the language of history, religion, landscape, and myth. Travelers, pilgrims, and women—especially the veiled subject of the nun―remind us of our deepest inner sanctum with its litany of spiritual truths, human fears, and needs. These images also catalogue the importance of the ordinary and the domestic as metaphors for human experiences and emotions. Ní Chuilleanáin allows those who have been silenced by history to surface in art as surreal but living presences. It is now unquestionably apparent that she is one the major poets in contemporary Ireland.
“As the poems in this great Collected now show us, as well as being a poet of history, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin is also a poet for the present, anxious moment. The knowledge her work contains is urgent human knowledge, exquisite in its feeling and accomplished in its polish. This Collected is her latest monumental act of self-scrutiny and illumination. It is a joy to hold in one’s hands. Truly, it is a cache of gold.”
– Thomas McCarthy
“Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin has been one of Ireland’s most original poetic voices for nearly fifty years, writing poems that are both brilliant and moving. Her deeply personal work tackles difficult topics from Catholicism to politics to language itself. Wake Forest is offering us her combined works in one volume—a delectable treat, especially because it includes new poems to feast on.”
– Helen Emmitt, Centre College
“Her poems have the quality of revelatory dreams, the language of the speaker as closely-textured as a fabric of tight stitching, so much so that they can at times seem private or secretive. But her lines, even the more elusive ones, carry the power to rise into the reader’s imagination and lodge there; their mystery is often enough.”
– Gerard Smyth, Dublin Review of Books
About the Author
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin was born in Cork in 1942. She is often cited not only as a major poet in the generation after Kinsella, Montague and Murphy, but also as the foremost female poet now writing in Ireland and Great Britain.
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