‘There is nothing flippant or trivial here. Lush with simile and sound, each poem is a sensuous gravure, a compelling portrait of the divided self, plangent echo of a country at civil war.’
— Mary Jo Bang, Boston Review
Medbh McGuckian’s fifth collection, Captain Lavender, takes its cue from a 1944 quotation from Picasso: ‘I have not painted the war . . . but I have no doubt that the war is in . . . these paintings I have done.‘
Each of its two sections hinges on a long poem. Part One, much of which was prompted by the author’s father’s death, celebrates her parents. Part Two, by extending metaphors of personal relationships and by the guise of conversations between man and woman, North and South, Catholic and Protestant, Ireland and England, addresses the politics of her native province. This ample book, with its harmonic order, includes some of Medbh McGuckian’s finest poems.