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Tongulish | Bloodaxe Books

Rita Ann Higgins


Rita Ann Higgins

Publication Date : 28 Apr 2016

ISBN: 9781780373034

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

Tongulish is the language of sweet talk, babble and blather, quibble and quizzical. And Tongulish is spoken throughout Rita Ann Higgins’s lively new collection. These are provocative and heart-warming poems of high jinks and telling social comment by a gutsy, anarchic chronicler of Irish lives and foibles, mischievous and playful in their portrayal of feckless folk and outcasts, flirts and weasels, gasbags and scallywags.

‘Rita Ann Higgins’ Tongulish continued to show this artful, innovative poet taking liberties with the language, her disenchanted politics matched with an enchanter’s way with words…’ – John McAuliffe, The Irish Times (Poetry Books of the Year)

‘Higgins has always been a poet with a distinctive stance, never shirking her responsibilities as a public voice speaking on behalf of those who do not possess such a platforms.  She is… both jocular and jugular, two traits that combine to make her a singular voice in Irish poetry… Passion and conviction walk hand-in-hand in these poems.’ – Gerard Smyth, Poetry Ireland Review [on Tongulish]

Tongulish, her 11th book of poetry, finds Higgins as intensively inventive and deliciously subversive as ever… The rebellious, innovative Higgins is one of his [James Joyce’s] distinctive heirs. Like Joyce, she knows just how to beat up the English language and her use of mythology, Irish language and Ireland’s past put her own inimitable stamp on her bang up-to-date present.’ – Martina Evans, The Irish Times

‘Five years ago Rita Ann Higgins released Ireland Is Changing Mother, a poetry collection that doubled as a state-of-the-nation address. A call to arms and a hugely enjoyable read, it was an astute powerhouse of carefully chosen words that confirmed Higgins as one of Ireland’s great living poets. Tongulish, her 10th collection, is the follow-up… Tongulish features her trademark wit and warmth, while choosing to cast an eye towards private, domestic worlds and matters of communication…  If Ireland is Changing Mother was the boom and bust, then Tongulish is the return to order.’ – Eithne Shortall, Sunday Times Ireland

‘... a voice of furious social engagement. There are many personal, indeed startlingly intimate, poems in Higgins' various volumes, but she takes a particular glee in skewering the pomposities and hypocrisies of establishment Ireland and she's moved to withering anger about the injustices perpetrated on those whom the state has treated with cruel disregard… it's not hard to see why herself [Rita Ann Higgins] and Paul Durcan have a following among people who otherwise feel intimidated by contemporary verse.’ – John Boland, Irish Independent [on Tongulish]

‘Higgins has a talent for tuning into our everyday lives, making the ordinary border on the epic, suggesting something more sinister from the ostensibly mundane… Her language is rooted in the vernacular. She could be called the people’s poet. – Colette Sheridan, Irish Examiner [on Tongulish]


Rita Ann Higgins live at Ledbury Poetry Festival

Rita Ann Higgins reads and introduces a selection of her poems at Ledbury Poetry Festival on Friday 8th July 2017, when she shared the stage with fellow Irish poets Jane Clarke and Louis de Paor. The poems she reads are from her Bloodaxe collections Throw in the Vowels: New & Selected Poems, Ireland Is Changing Mother and Tongulish, plus new work. Filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce.


Rita Ann Higgins reads ten poems

Rita Ann Higgins reads ten poems in this short film: ‘God-of-the-Hatch Man’, ‘The Did-You-Come-Yets of the Western World’, ’Some People’, ‘An Awful Racket’, ‘Grandchildren’ and ‘It’s Platonic’ from Throw in the Vowels, and ‘Tongued and Grooved’, ‘He Was No Lazarus’, ‘No One Mentioned the Roofer’ and ‘Ireland Is Changing Mother’ from Ireland Is Changing Mother. Neil Astley filmed Rita Ann reading a selection of her poems at her home in Ballybane, Galway, in April 2012. This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: World Poets, filmed & edited by Pamela Robertson-Pearce & Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2017).


Rita Ann Higgins reads two poems from her Bloodaxe collections, ‘This Was No Ithaca’ from Ireland Is Changing Mother and ’She’s Easy’ from Tongulish (see EXTRACT below to read that poem):


BOOKS BY Rita Ann Higgins

Ireland Is Changing Mother

Rita Ann Higgins

Ireland Is Changing Mother

Publication Date : 22 Sep 2011

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Throw in the Vowels

Rita Ann Higgins

Throw in the Vowels

New & Selected Poems (with CD)

Publication Date : 26 May 2005

Read More

Related News & Publicity

News & Publicity

Rita Ann Higgins on Irish TV & Radio

Rita Ann Higgins on Irish TV & Radio

Rita Ann Higgins on RTE One TV's The Late Late Show again, 3 March 17(& RTE Radio 1's Arena & The Poetry Programme)

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