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Leabhar na hathghabhála: Poems of Repossession

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Product Details

PBS Recommended Translation - Summer 2016

Irish-English bilingual edition

This is the first comprehensive critical anthology of modern poetry in Irish with English translations. It forms a sequel to Seán Ó Tuama and Thomas Kinsella’s pioneering anthology, An Duanaire 1600-1900 / Poems of the Dispossessed (1981), but features many more poems in covering the work of 25 poets from the past century.

It includes poems by Pádraig Mac Piarais and Liam S. Gógan from the revival period (1893-1939), and a generous selection from the work of Máirtín Ó Direáin, Seán Ó Ríordáin and Máire Mhac an tSaoi, who transformed writing in Irish in the decades following the Second World War, before the Innti poets – Michael Davitt, Liam Ó Muirthile, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Biddy Jenkinson – and others developed new possibilities for poetry in Irish in the 1970s and 80s. It also includes work by more recent poets such as Colm Breathnach, Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, Micheál Ó Cuaig and Áine Ní Ghlinn.

The anthology has translations by some of Ireland’s most distinguished poets and translators, including Valentine Iremonger, Michael Hartnett, Paul Muldoon, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Bernard O’Donoghue, Maurice Riordan, Peter Sirr, David Wheatley and Mary O’Donoghue, most of them newly commissioned for this project. Many of the poems, including Eoghan Ó Tuairisc’s anguished response to the bombing of Hiroshima, ‘Aifreann na marbh’ [Mass for the dead] have not previously been available in English.

In addition to presenting some of the best poetry in Irish written since 1900, the anthology challenges the extent to which writing in Irish has been underrepresented in collections of modern and contemporary Irish poetry. In his introduction and notes, Louis de Paor argues that Irish language poetry should be evaluated according to its own rigorous aesthetic rather than as a subsidiary of the dominant Anglophone tradition of Irish writing.

Co-published with Cló Iar-Chonnacht 

‘Every so often... a book arrives which shows the possibility of reconsidering and reconceiving the way poetry works in Ireland: Leabhar Na hAthghabhála: Poems of Repossession (Cló Iar-Chonnacht/Bloodaxe) is one of those books… This is a terrific, open introduction to a century of Irish-language poetry and its connections and conjunctions animate the debates and breakthroughs and experiments, successful and otherwise, that comprise our living tradition.’ – John McAuliffe, Irish Times

‘One of the fascinating aspects of this anthology is to note the cross currents and influences that have shaped the poetry included in it and to see how a legitimate desire to preserve one’s roots does not necessarily cut one off from the wider world.’ – David Cooke, The Manchester Review