Leanne O'Sullivan Interviews & Books of the Year

Leanne O'Sullivan Interviews & Books of the Year

‘It’s been a wonderful year for poetry, and if I had to pick one book, I’d pick Leanne O’Sullivan’s A Quarter of an Hour.  It follows her husband Andrew, who had a terrible brain infection… and she’s made a most marvellous book of love poems out of the conversation with Andrew.’ – Theo Dorgan, speaking to Joe Duffy on Liveline, RTE Radio 1 (Books of the Year)

‘New poetry collection highlights: Hannah Sullivan, Colm Keegan, Amy Key, Leanne O’Sullivan and Doireann Ni Ghríofa.’ - Sinéad Gleeson,  The Irish Times (Books of the Year 2018)

'I loved... Leanne O'Sullivan's beautifully imagined and well-made account of her husband's recovery from illness, A Quarter of an Hour.' - John McAuliffe, The Irish Times (Poetry Books of the Year)

'At once tender, exploratory and grace-filled, this finely orchestrated collection attests to the wholeness of natural life and, resonant with folkloric wisdom, it re-awakens the spirit to a fresh sense of the mystery and precariousness of our world. It is an astonishing achievement.' - Maurice Riordan, Judge, Farmgate Cafe National Poetry Award
 
 
Cork poet Leanne O’Sullivan’s A Quarter of an Hour is book-length sequence of poems explores the mysterious world of memory loss as experienced by her husband after a rare brain infection. It won the inauguaral Farmgate Cafe National Poetry Award, and is shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award.
 
In 2013 a brain infection caused Leanne’s husband Andrew to fall into a coma lasting three weeks.  When he came round, it was to almost complete memory loss.  In beautiful poems that draw on Greek and Irish myth, Leanne charts her husband’s illness from the moment it struck, through her long bedside vigil, and the years of total memory loss, to the slow process of gradual recovery of memory. The animals and birds that filled his mind at that time, and which he felt helped draw him back to reality, are depicted in poems that also raise awareness of other losses, such as ecological changes in the Arctic.
 
Theo Dorgan chose A Quarter of an Hour as his poetry book of the year on Joe Duffy's Liveline, RTE Radio 1, on 19 December 2018.  Listen here (forward to 1.03).

Leanne spoke to The Irish Examiner about her husband's illness and his miraculous recovery here.

 

IRISH RADIO INTERVIEWS WITH LEANNE O'SULLIVAN

The Lyric Feature: Home Againe, Lyric FM, Sunday 9 December 2018, 6pm

Leanne O’Sullivan contributed to a programme written and presented by John McAuliffe about the work of the Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser.  Leanne was speaking about how her husband losing his memory led her to read Spenser’s The Faerie Queene.  She read half of her poem ‘Anamnestes’ from A Quarter of an Hour. This is one of two poems in the book prompted by The Faerie Queene.  

Click here to listen. Leanne’s contribution is from 26:00.
 

Arena, RTE Radio 1, Tuesday 20 February 2018, 7-8pm

Leanne O’Sullivan was interviewed on Arena. During this 16-minute interview, Leanne spoke about her husband’s illness, his memory loss and the gradual process of recovery – the starting point of her book-length sequence of poems A Quarter of an Hour.  She read her poems ‘Lightning’, ‘The Cailleach to the Widow (after Lucille Clifton)’, ‘When Words’ and ‘Note’.

Click here to listen.
 

The Poetry Programme, RTE Radio 1, Sunday 25 March 2018, 7.30pm

A seventeen-minute interview with Leanne O’Sullivan went out in the first of the new series of The Poetry Programme on 25 March.

Introducing Leanne, Olivia O’Leary described A Quarter of an Hour as ‘an extraordinary narrative of her husband’s loss of memory through illness and his long two-year recovery.’  Leanne read a selection of poems from the collection that reflect this frightening time, thoughts on loss and memory, and the role of animals, both the imaginary creatures that seemed to guide her husband back, and the real animals threatened by climate change. The poems read were ‘Prayer’, ‘His Vision’, ‘Elegy for the Arctic’, ‘Love, where are we now?...’ and ‘Ghost’, all from A Quarter of an Hour

Click here to listen. Leanne's interview is the first item.
 
 

REVIEW COVERAGE

'In each of her four books, Leanne O’Sullivan has managed the balancing act of fashioning striking individual poems while developing a book-length project. Skilful and soulful, her achievements as a writer are as clear as ever in her powerful new book, A Quarter of an Hour.' - John McAuliffe, The Irish Times

John McAuliffe's review in The Irish Times can be read in full here.

 

‘The poems in the collection are… accessible, and yet multi-layered. To reach this degree of apparent simplicity while also rewarding the attentive reader with subtle echoes and variations is remarkable. So is the delicate balance between emotional tension and restraint that the poems achieve. A Quarter of an Hour is a rich, nuanced, and powerful volume, which confirms Leanne O'Sullivan's mastery of her art.’ - Florence Impens, Dublin Review of Books

Florence Impens' wonderful essay-review in Dublin Review of Books can be read in full here.


[21 March 2019]


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