A B Jackson's The Voyage of St Brendan: reviews & poem features
'In The Voyage of St Brendan AB Jackson’s witty four-line stanzas are as miraculous, inventive and swift-moving as the sea-faring saint himself and beautifully matched by Kathleen Neeley’s linocuts.' – Martina Evans, The Irish Times (Best Poetry of 2021)
In The Voyage of St Brendan, A.B. Jackson tells the tale of the legendary seafaring Irish abbot. After burning a book of fantastical stories, Brendan is compelled to sail the ocean with a crew of six monks in a leather-skinned currach; his task, to prove the existence of wonders in the world and create a new book of marvels.
Although the roots of this legend lie in early Irish tales and the Latin Voyage of Brendan the Abbot of the ninth century, Jackson has taken the 14th-century Middle Dutch version of Brendan’s voyage as the template for this engaging, witty and spirited interpretation, notable for its humour, inventiveness and appeal to a wide readership. The book is illustrated with a series of linocuts by the American artist Kathleen Neeley.
The Voyage of St Brendan was published by Bloodaxe on 24 June 2021, and is distributed in the USA by Consortium Books.
St Brendan's feast day is celebrated on 16 May each year.
Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, Poem of the Week, online 11 May 2022
A poem and illustration from A B Jackson’s The Voyage of St Brendan were featured as Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre’s Poem of the Week on 11 May. The poem was ‘Hellmouth’, with the corresponding linocut by the American artists Kathleen Neeley.
Read the feature on the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre newsletter here.
A poem and illustration from The Voyage of St Brendan is featured in Books Ireland Magazine here.
POETRY BOOKS OF THE YEAR
Martina Evans chose The Voyage of St Brendan as one of her books of the year in The Irish Times of 20 November 2021.
'In The Voyage of St Brendan AB Jackson’s witty four-line stanzas are as miraculous, inventive and swift-moving as the sea-faring saint himself and beautifully matched by Kathleen Neeley’s linocuts.' – Martina Evans, The Irish Times (Best poetry of 2021)
Available online by subscription here.
‘… Jackson’s poetry has answered the call to adventure, survived the travails of making the ancient current, and returned with a beautifully illustrated collection… read this book, give it to the ones you love, re-imagine the mythic.’ – D M O’Connor, RHINO Poetry
The Voyage of St Brendan was very well reviewed in the Painted, spoken blog on 26 June 2021. Joint review with Irish poet Victoria Kennefick’s debut collection – ‘Both are written by gifted young poets who carry their learning deftly.’
‘Chock-full of wonders, it gives a Scots-eye view of the legendary fifth-century Irish saint and voyager… There is throughout this masterly re-telling a lively focus on the grotesque, the far-fetched and the liminal which Scottish writers seem to feel at home in… It is often funny too, with a slapstick skill in rhythm and rhyme that is captivating.’ – James McGonigal, Painted, spoken
Read the full review here.
‘The Voyage of St Brendan would be a perfect companion for those studying English literature or Medieval history and every sixth form/university should have a copy in their libraries. It is stylish, extraordinary, but most of all just a beautiful read.’ – Emma Suffield, The School Librarian
‘A. B. Jackson’s collection The Voyage of St Brendan finds Jackson in mytho-poetic terrae incognitae with his rendering of the 9th century tale of Brendan and his band of sea-faring brethren… This is an immensely enjoyable, spirited and at times witty collection, boosted visually by the presence of Kathleen Neeley’s striking woodcuts.’ – Richie McCaffery, Northwords Now
Livestreamed joint launch event, 22 June 2021
This wonderful joint launch reading by Penelope Shuttle, A.B. Jackson and John Challis celebrating the publication of their new poetry collections was live streamed on 22 June 2021.
The event was hosted by editor Neil Astley from his home in Northumberland. Penelope joined from her home in Falmouth, John from Whitley Bay, and Scottish poet A B Jackson from his home in Leeds. Their collections were all published on 24 June 2021 by Bloodaxe Books - all three are 'making something new out of things that have been lost', as Penelope put it.
John Challis read first in each set, followed by Penelope, then A B Jackson. The readings were followed by discussion and Q&A with the online audience. All three books explore the past in one form or another - it was an evening of 'archaeology by verse', according to one audience member. We travelled under the sea to the submerged land of Lyonesse with Penelope Shuttle, over the ocean with A B Jackson's The Voyage of St Brendan, and underground in London with John Challis in his debut The Resurrectionists.
[18 August 2021]