Róisín Kelly interviews, reviews & poem features

Róisín Kelly interviews, reviews & poem features

‘I first came across Róisín Kelly and her work at the Cork International Poetry Festival  few years ago, and was struck by the composure, poise and precision of her reading, and also by the intensity, depth and luminescence of her poems.  They succeed in being both intimate and personal, but also undoubtedly political.' - Victoria Kennefick, Unlaunched Books podcast


Róisín Kelly's first full-length collection Mercy was published by Bloodaxe on 26 March 2020.  In her first full-length collection, Róisín Kelly attempts to reconcile her Catholic background with her pagan heritage. Both intimate and political, her poems of love and loss sit alongside those looking at women's rights and oppressed peoples across the world. Her poetry draws on religion, nature, astronomy, history and mythology, as well as on her own extensive travels. Born in west Belfast and raised in Leitrim, Róisín now lives in Cork. Her pamphlet Rapture (Southword, 2016) was described by Leanne O’Sullivan as ‘fierce and mysterious, beautiful and compelling’.

Mercy was reviewed by John McAuliffe in The Irish Times here (available by subscription).

‘These are expansive poems, rich in pictures and space, frequently evocative of places the reader might also hold dear ‘like a jam of clotted green memories’ (‘Mar-a-Lago’)… Her delicate patterning of rhyme, controlling carefully the full and the half, offers a shape and texture to these poems which makes reading, and re-reading, a great joy.’ - Beth McDonough, DURA (Dundee University Review of the Arts), on Mercy  Read the full review here.



Cuirt Festival Live Podcast, 24 April 2020

Róisín Kelly’s live podcast event at the Cuirt International Festival of Literature on 24 April is now available via SoundCloud.  She was reading alongside poet Michael Gorman.

The podcast began with Róisín reading and introducing five poems from Mercy: ‘The Cave of Melassini’, ‘Mercy’, ‘Mar-a-Lago’, ‘Tuam’ and ‘Tom Barry’.  The second half of the podcast was devoted to discussion, moderated by Annemarie Ní Churreáin.  This event was audio only..

Mercy was for me a kind of lamplit and starlit exploration of self and wilderness, utterly glorious in its haunted depictions of the human body and the physical landscape.’ - Annemarie Ní Churreáin




Róisín Kelly was interviewed on the new Unlaunched Books  podcast on 16 April 2020.  She was discussing Mercy with Victoria Kennefick, who praised the 'intensity, depth and luminescence' of her poems.  Róisín read and spoke about her poems ‘Mercy’, ‘Dominio Vale do Mondego, and ‘At a Photography Exhibition in New York Public Library’.  John McAuliffe and Seán Hewitt then commented on the collection.

‘Episode 3 of Unlaunched features Róisín Kelly discussing Mercy with Victoria, who describes the poems' “remarkable emotional range and vulnerability, as well as an originality of phrasing”.’

Listen via SoundCloud (1st item): https://soundcloud.com/poetryireland/unlaunched-books-episode-3



'In America' from Mercy was featured on RTE Culture's website as their Poem of the Day for 24 March 2020 here

Carol Rumens discussed 'Easter' from Mercy in her Poem of the Week column for 6 April 2020 on The Guardian's website here.



Róisín Kelly was interviewed on RTE Radio 1's The Poetry Programme in 2018, alongside two other young Cork-based poets.  She read poems from her highly-acclaimed chapbook Rapture (Southword, 2016).  All three poets spoke at the opening of the programme (from 4.15), and Róisín read her poem 'Virgin' from 9:00 and 'Rose' at 26:00 (the latter is included in Mercy).  Click here to listen.

[17 April 2020]

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