Books of the Year for 2018 from various publications: 

Against the Clock by Derek Mahon

‘The poems in Derek Mahon’s Against the Clock have his signature elegance, irony and melancholy; they also display a new lightness, as though he has come to accept the world in terms that are rooted and visionary, open to suggestion and rich with memory and knowledge.’ — Colm Tóibín, The Irish Times (Books of the Year, 2018)

‘The most thrilling literary event of the year is the unexpected late harvest of marvellous poems from Derek Mahon, Against the Clock. The clock that’s ticking is both his own allotted time on earth and our unrelenting destruction of the Earth itself. But he is wonderfully undefeated, finding an unsentimental solace wherever he can and turning it to wit, wisdom and beauty. There is no rage against the dying of the light because his own light is very much on. We need consolation in our world and I’ve found myself turning again and again to these profoundly consoling poems.’ — Fintan O’Toole, The Irish Times (Books of the Year, 2018)

‘One of my books of the year is Derek Mahon’s Against the Clock (The Gallery Press). In urbane, apollonian style, Mahon’s work enters a continuing plea for the coherent, the well-made, and the attentive. From the disciplined but flexible iambic couplets of Jersey and Guernsey to the tiny atmospheric lyrics of Rain Shadows, Mahon’s faultless ear and mastery of line and form are reassuring. This is poetry fully aware of its moment – “There are those grim moments when you think / contemporary paper games too daft for you, / not serious, and real values on the blink” – but still willing to assert poetry’s value in a world in which it and the qualities it stands for seem ever more marginalised.’ — Caitríona O’Reilly, The Irish Times (The Best Poetry of 2018)

Derek Mahon returned with Against the Clock (The Gallery Press), poems which charm with tough visions, freewheeling free thinking and down-to-earth wisdom about the ecological deep time which will see out poetry, the anthropocene, the wood pigeon, Cork’s immigration centre and Aeneas’s steersman Palinurus, other subjects of this big, bare-headedly buoyant book. — John McAuliffe, The Irish Times (The Best Poetry of 2018)

Derek Mahon’s Against the Clock had all the hallmarks of Yeatsian amplitude and reinvigoration; a stylish vision of the world around the Cork-based poet’s 21st century life. — Gerald Dawe, The Lonely Crowd (Books of the Year, 2018)

This One High Field by Michelle O’Sullivan

I have also been enjoying the scrupulously observant lyricism of Michelle O’Sullivan’s third collection This One High Field (The Gallery Press). — Caitríona O’Reilly, The Irish Times (The Best Poetry of 2018)

I loved Michelle O’Sullivan’s sustained, atmospheric This One High Field (The Gallery Press) — John McAuliffe, The Irish Times (The Best Poetry of 2018)

Further along the western seaboard in Mayo, Michele O’Sullivan’s This One High Field, has an austere equipoise and clarity that is becoming increasingly rare. — Gerald Dawe, The Lonely Crowd (Books of the Year, 2018)

From There to Here: Selected Poems and Translations by Ciaran Carson

Ciaran Carson’s selected poems and translations, From There To Here (The Gallery Press) compresses a brilliant career into 200 pages. His exhilarating long-lined narrative poems, classics like The Irish for No, Belfast Confetti and Calvin Klein’s Obsession, are followed by tight, firecracker sonnets and an extract from the virtuoso long-lined sonnet sequence For All We Know. Such a range would be enough for any poet, but the last quarter of the book foregrounds poems of unsettling bareness, stripped of the idiomatic rhythms of which he was such a master. These haunted, haunting fragments glitter as much as anything else this shapeshifting genius has written. — John McAuliffe, The Irish Times (The Best Poetry of 2018)

Calling Cards by Ten Younger Irish Poets (edited by Peter Fallon and Aifric Mac Aodha)

Tristan Rosenstock speaks with Maitiú Ó Coimín (editor, Nós)

TR: And this lovely poetry collection, Calling Cards. Poets who came to the fore at the beginning of this century. Ten, in total, and they’ve been translated to English by well-known Irish poets. How did you like that book?

MOC: We hear a lot about the important Irish language poets and maybe we forget sometimes that there’s a new generation coming up. This is a nice way to show that there are new poets coming up doing their bit for Irish poetry and that the language still has creativity and life. — Léirmheas Leabhar, TG4

Calling Cards Peter Fallon & Aifric Mac Aodha (Eagarthóirí), Gallery Press €12.95 bog
Nach pras freagra na bhfilí ar a chéile? Ar shála Leabhar na hAthghabhála (Bloodaxe/CIC, 2016, €16) seo chugainn barr an bhainne ó ghlúin na comhaimsire. Dánta le deichniúr, maille le haistriúcháin agus cothromaíocht chomhionann inscne, a chuirtear os coinne an tsaoil. Is maith liom go dtugtar aitheantas do Mharcas Mac Conghail go háirithe, ar foilsíodh sárchnuasach leis, Ceol Baile, in 2014. Fág faoi Mháirtín Coilféir cuimsiú cumair a dhéanamh ar ghnó misniúil an dáin: ‘Cad eile a dhéanfainn go deimhin/ ach an mianach atá ionam a fhógairt?’ —

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