Imprint: Yale University Press
In the mid-twentieth century, a new generation of poets writing in Irish emerged, led by the young Seán Ó Ríordáin, among others. Ó Ríordáin’s work has stood the test of time well, and he continues to engage today’s Irish readers and writers. This well-rounded selection of poems brings most of Ó Ríordáin’s works to English-language readers for the first time. The poems appear in their original Irish alongside English translations by some of Ireland's leading poets. Also included for the first time in English is Ó Ríordáin’s essay What Is Poetry?, considered an extraordinary touchstone of critical insight for poets and literary commentators.
The volume reflects Ó Ríordáin’s seven main concerns: poetry and its place in the artist’s life; the plural self; the relationship between the individual and society; gender relations; the nature of animals; Ireland, its language and culture; and mortality.
“This volume of vibrant translations is essential reading for anyone concerned with 20th-century Irish culture. This tuberculosis-ridden Cork man, the most important 20th-century Irish-language poet -offers a profoundly human interrogation of mid-century Irish Catholicism faced with secularism. Speaking to a global audience, this is poetry of a dark soul, born of suffering and doubt.”
– Brian Ó Conchubhair, University of Notre Dame