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Tattoos by Eva Bourke

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The journey of Eva Bourke's eighth collection of poems is one of bereavement, heartbreak and, ultimately, renewal. In poems that record - with courage and tenderness - the loss of loved ones, of close family and friends, there is throughout a refusal to soften the keen gaze and precise detail for which her work is so often praised, as if the poet's role is ever to be witness, guardian and curator. Instead of heartbreak enforcing a retreat from the world, rather it seems to strengthen her commitment to those in danger ("the boats adrift in the night / and the storms that sweep them overboard" - 'Twenty-eight Swimmers') and her belief in the power of art and music as both consolation and celebration, an engagement that has been the heart of her work over many years. As she says in 'The Singer's Fable', in memory of Mary McPartlan: "Sing, even if your hearts are heavy, even if your houses are on fire, rise up and sing."

Dedalus Press

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