Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
We hope you have all enjoyed celebrating Irish culture yesterday, and particularly the Irish language, which may not always get the visibility it deserves. Today, we want to use our Blog dedicated to poetry in translation to promote Irish-language writing, hoping to inspire you with our reading suggestions.
Here is a brief selection of bilingual Irish-English poetry books for you to enjoy.
#1 The Brindled Cat and the Nightingale’s Tongue by Louis de Paor, one of the most renowned Irish-language modern poets (Bloodaxe Books, 2014 – co-published with Cló Iar-Chonnacht). De Paor has worked with Kevin Anderson, Biddy Jenkinson and Mary O’Donoghue to create English translations of his work for this book that are as close as possible to the original Irish, also in their tone and effect. As well as the paperback version, this publication also comes as an e-book which includes audio files of the author performing some of his poems with music and sound mixes by Ronan Browne.
#2 Lies by Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Dedalus Press, 2018). This bilingual book is a selection of Irish language poems alongside English translations by the author which deal with the boundaries of truth and lies in poetry. The central question is: when do poems tell the truth?
#3 By the Heart in Min a’ Lea by Cathal Ó Searchaigh (Arc Publications, 2005), with translations from the Irish by Frank Sewell, Seamus Heaney and Denise Blake – our Winter 2005 Recommended Translation. In this book, this award-winning poet helps us explore nature, Donegal, past experiences and strong feelings.
Take some time to explore the beauty, richness and uniqueness of the Irish language and to discover the developments and main features of Irish-language poetry. A recommended anthology for a more complete historical overview is:
Leabhar na hathghabhála: Poems of Repossession, edited and introduced by Louis de Paor (Bloodaxe Books 2016, – co-published with Cló Iar-Chonnacht) – our Summer 2016 Translation Choice. This is the first comprehensive critical anthology of modern Irish-language poetry, with translations into English by distinguished Irish poets and translators. It features 25 poets from the last century, from Pádraig Mac Piarais and Liam S. Gógan to more recent works by Colm Breathnach, Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, Micheál Ó Cuaig and Áine Ní Ghlinn. Many of the poems in the collection appear here in English for the first time.
Poetry Book Society Translation members get 25% discount on all the books mentioned above! Consider joining us as Translation member to receive our Translation Recommendation alongside the PBS Bulletin every quarter and to keep up to date with the latest poetry books in translation and bilingual editions.