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Louis de Paor

Crooked Love

Grá fiar

Louis de Paor


Publication Date : 24 Feb 2022

ISBN: 9781780375946

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

Louis de Paor is one of Ireland's leading Irish-language poets, and was a key figure in the Irish language poetry renaissance of the 1980s and 90s. His dual-language selection The Brindled Cat and the Nightingale’s Tongue was published in 2014, following his selected poems, Rogha Dánta (2012), voted one of the top ten collections in Irish since the turn of the millennium.

This new dual-language selection is mainly drawn from two other collections, Cúpla Siamach an Ama/The Siamese Twins of Time and Grá fiar/Crooked Love, with translations made by Louis de Paor with Kevin Anderson and Biddy Jenkinson. It shows a paring back of language and a greater flexibility of form in his poetry, as well as a preoccupation with the passage of time and its implications for both familial and sexual love.

His narrative skill and inventiveness come together in the sequence 'Lá dá raibh/One day', which follows a day in the life of an imaginary village in the west of Ireland where the living and the dead, the real and the unreal, collide. First performed live at the Irish Arts Centre in New York in 2014 with music by the Brooklyn-based composer Dana Lyn, this was adapted for a dual-language radio feature broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM and Raidió na Gaeltachta in 2021 and repeated in 2022 to coincide with its inclusion in this book. The feature won Gold in the New York Festivals Radio Awards ‘Culture & The Arts’ category. It can be heard while reading the sequence in either language by scanning QR codes printed in the book.

Those recordings can also be heard here:
Lá dá raibh (Irish)
One day (English)


'Crooked Love/Grá fiar by Louis de Paor combines poems from a number of previous collections published by Cló Iar-Chonnacht over the past two decades, making this something of a retrospective selection introducing his work to a readership garnered by Bloodaxe [...] The collection as a whole shows that de Paor is accumulating a significant body of work and building something of an international presence with poems that have developed an assurance of tone.' – Peter Denman, Poetry Ireland Review

'Rooted in his native tradition, which he has renovated with American influences ranging from the sparse lyricism of Williams and, in ‘American Prayer’, the expansive rhetoric of Ginsberg, de Paor is essential reading for anyone interested in the current state of Irish poetry and the uniquely productive symbiosis between the two languages in which it is written.' – David Cooke, The High Window, on Crooked Love / Grá fiar

'This new dual-language collection by acclaimed Irish-language poet Louis de Paor is substantial and wide-ranging... The translators stay as close as possible to the Irish, and yet the poems work in English. The result is a series of rich, organic, dextrous translations, working within particular parameters.'  Caitríona Ní Chléirchín, Translation & Literature, on Crooked Love / Grá fiar

‘There is a great deal of narrative play and wit. The imagery is taken from common life as observed at first hand mostly, but transformed by a delight in resemblance and transformation… there is a Chagallian inclusiveness and generosity in the poems that is more than its incidents. The poetry can turn to darkness and the public world as well as to the intimate village or street.’ – George Szirtes, Poetry Ireland Review, on The Brindled Cat and the Nightingale’s Tongue

'While poetry should always be romantic (there never is a practical reason for the stuff) he always avoided the romanticism of the mushy line and the soft tone and the fuzzy diction. There was always something wire-taut about his work. No floss here.' – Alan Titley, The Irish Times

‘De Paor has for long been a master of the short lyric in which the literal and the figurative combine in a tight nexus of images that distil the character of a particular individual, relationship or encounter. The highly sensuous poems from the early collections set the scene for a body of work where sight and touch and smell are often invoked and where intense moments or intimate states are exposed by flashes of light or by dramatic physical contrast. The collection Rogha Dánta is a rich representation of the work of a poet who is now in his prime and still producing fresh and challenging poems that speak to and across different generations. It is a mark of major achievement and a sign that there is much more to come.’ – Máirín Nic Eoin

Launch reading by Louis de Paor with Biddy Jenkinson and Kevin Anderson

This launch reading on YouTube Live on Tuesday February 22nd (and available thereafter on YouTube on this link) celebrates the publication of Crooked Love/ Grá fiar. Introduced by Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley, Louis de Paor (in Co. Galway) read his poems in Irish with himself and his co-translators Biddy Jenkinson (in Ireland) and Kevin Anderson (in Edinburgh) reading their English co-translations. This was followed by a discussion on translating Louis de Paor’s poetry and Irish-language poetry in general. Louis de Paor translates his poetry with co-translators, and sometimes it isn’t clear who is author of each translation. This book’s two co-translators are the leading Irish-language poet Biddy Jenkinson (a pseudonym), who famously refuses to allow her own poetry to be translated into English (but allowed Louis de Paor to produce prose translations for his anthology Leabhar na hAthghabhála), and Kevin Anderson, musician, horn-player and champion of both early music and Irish music.

Louis de Paor reads in Irish and English

Louis de Paor reads eight poems from The Brindled Cat and the Nightingale's Tongue as well as three newer poems (asterisked here) from his later collection Crooked Love / Grá fiar (2022) in Irish and English: ‘An t-amhránaí’ | ‘The singer’; ‘Báisteach’ | ‘Rain’; ‘Didjeridu’ | ‘Didjeridu’; ‘Idir dhá linn’ | ‘In the meantime’; ‘An cruthaitheoir’ | ‘The creator’;’Cloigíní’ | ‘Bells’*; ‘Luascáin’ | ‘Swings’*; ‘Multi-tasking’ | ‘Multi-tasking’*; ‘Marmalade’ | ‘Marmalade’. Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed him reading his poems in Irish and English at his home in Uachter Ard, Contae na Gaillimhe (Oughterard, Co. Galway), Ireland, in April 2017. He reads first in Irish, then in English, but with longer poems completes his reading of the Irish original at the end of the English translation. The reading is followed by a short interview in English about writing in Irish and the survival of the Irish language.

Louis de Paor live at Ledbury Poetry Festival

Louis de Paor reads and introduces a selection of his poems in Irish and English at Ledbury Poetry Festival on Friday 8th July 2017, when he shared the stage with fellow Irish poets Jane Clarke and Rita Ann Higgins. The poems he reads are from his dual language edition The Brindled Cat and the Nightingale’s Tongue plus new poems. Filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce.

Louis de Paor: 'Didjeridu'

Louis de Paor recites his poem ‘Didjeridu’ accompanied by Kev Carmody on didjeridu in the opening sequence of An Dubh ina Gheal, a documentary by Paula Kehoe broadcast on the Irish-language TV network TG4 on 27 September 2016. In An Dubh ina Gheal he returns to his once adopted homeland to explore the complex relationship between Indigenous Australians and the Irish in Australia. At the heart of this exploration is the story of the Stolen Generations, mixed race children who were taken away from their families under assimilation policies, and an Aboriginal resistance lead by 'Shamrock Aborigines', who saw theirs as a shared struggle against a common oppressor. Weaving social and personal history with poetry, An Dubh ina Gheal reveals the hidden story of the Irish in Australia. His poem ‘Didjeridu’ is included (in Irish and English translation) in both in his collection The Brindled Cat and the Nightingale's Tongue and in his anthology Leabhar na hAthghabhála/Poems of Repossession.


Ireland & EU: Click here to order from Books Upstairs in Dublin

USA: Click here to order from Indiebound or

Co-published with Cló Iar-Chonnachta


BOOKS BY Louis de Paor

Leabhar na hAthghabhála

Louis de Paor

Leabhar na hAthghabhála

Poems of Repossession

Publication Date : 28 Apr 2016

Read More
The Brindled Cat and the Nightingale’s Tongue

Louis de Paor

The Brindled Cat and the Nightingale’s Tongue

Publication Date : 17 Jun 2014

Read More

Related News & Publicity

News & Publicity

Louis de Paor on Radio

Louis de Paor on Radio

One Day / Lá dá raibh radio feature by Louis de Paor (Gold Award winner in the New York Festivals Radio Awards) rebroadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM; Interview on The Poetry...

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Poetry Events

Launch event for Louis de Paor's Crooked Love / Grá fiar

Launch event for Louis de Paor's Crooked Love / Grá fiar

Louis de Paor launched his new dual language selection Crooked Love / Grá fiar with co-translators Biddy Jenkinson and Kevin Anderson. Watch now on YouTube.

Read More  |  View All






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