Ailbhe Darcy & Leanne O'Sullivan on Irish Times Poetry Now Shortlist

Ailbhe Darcy & Leanne O'Sullivan on Irish Times Poetry Now Shortlist


Two of the six collections shortlisted for Irish Times Poetry Now award are by Bloodaxe poets.  They are Ailbhe Darcy's second collection Insistence, which was also shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize 2018, and Leanne O'Sullivan's fourth collection A Quarter of an Hour.  The prize is worth €2,000 and will be presented as part of Mountains-to-Sea dlr Book Festival in Dún Laoghaire on 30 March at 12pm.

Cork poet Leanne O’Sullivan’s book-length sequence of poems A Quarter of an Hour explores the mysterious world of memory loss as experienced by her husband after a rare brain infection caused him 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, 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.
Written in the American Rust Belt, in an era of climate change and upheaval, Ailbhe Darcy's second collection Insistence takes stock of the parent’s responsibility to her child, the poet’s responsibility to the reader, and the vulnerability of the person in the face of global crisis. Ailbhe is now based in Cardiff after a number of years in the USA.
The shortlist was announced in The Irish Times of 2 February 2019:


For links to interviews with Ailbhe Darcy on RTE Radio 1, see:

For links to interviews with Leanne O'Sullivan on RTE Radio 1, see:


Ailbhe Darcy reads ‘Nice’

In this excerpt from Ailbhe Darcy’s reading (with Finuala Dowling) at Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts on 11 October 2018, she reads her poem ‘Nice’.


Leanne O'Sullivan reads The Mining Road and other poems

Leanne O'Sullivan begins this short film by reading 'The Cord' from her debut collection, Waiting for My Clothes (2004). Then she talks about her second collection, Cailleach: The Hag of Beara (2009) and reads one poem from it, 'Birth', followed by six poems from The Mining Road (2013), in which she finds inspiration in the disused copper mines that haunt the rugged terrain around Allihies, near her home in West Cork: 'Townland', 'The Mining Road', 'Love Stories', 'Antique Cabinets', 'Sea Level' (from 'Man Engine'), ‘Safe House’ and 'The Glimmerman'. This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: World Poets, filmed and edited by Pamela Robertson-Pearce and Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2017).


[04 February 2019]

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