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Space to Think, a new book celebrating ten years of the Dublin Review of Books More Information 


Keith Payne
The answer then as to why tell these women’s stories, why write this, why read this, are the poems themselves. As with all the important questions, the questions that need to be asked and often can only be formulated by a poet, the poem is the answer.
Mar 6, 2016, 15:38 PM

Hard and Soft

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
The virtues of Jane Clarke’s first verse collection include a broad sympathy that never usurps the voice of the other, a pleasure in ingenious objects and crafts that is deftly transmitted and a clarity which does not deny mystery but makes room for it.
Mar 6, 2016, 15:52 PM

We’re No Angels

Philip O’Leary
Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s masterpiece ‘Cré na Cille’, which portrayed the meanness and bitter scurrility of the inhabitants of a Conamara graveyard, lacked an English translation for over sixty years. Now it has two, each, in their different ways, doing the classic work full justice.
Apr 1, 2016, 10:37 AM

The Thing With Feathers

Adam Wyeth
Nuala O’Connor’s novel Miss Emily is more than a portrait of a poet executed with exquisite precision. It offers a fresh, enhancing approach to Dickinson’s inner life, showing a woman with zest and independence of mind.
Apr 1, 2016, 12:29 PM


Brendan Lowe
A sonnet sequence by the poet Micheal O’Siadhail traces his experiences over the two-year period which culminated in his wife’s death from a terrible disease which makes war on human dignity.
Apr 1, 2016, 12:38 PM

Speak, Memory

Jane Clarke
A new study focuses on three generations of women poets, born between 1942 and 1983, exploring commonalities and differences across and within the generations through their engagement with memory, in all its fluidity and instability, as muse.
May 5, 2016, 17:36 PM

Jagged Lines and Smooth Numbers

Harry Clifton
Robert Lowell once said that all problems in art are ultimately technical problems and and it is the jaggedness of line of Derek Mahon's most famous poem, “A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford”, that sets it apart from many other accomplished pieces.
May 5, 2016, 19:22 PM

Retooling Utopia

Philip MacCann
One man’s heaven can be another’s hell. Wilde trusted in the state to appropriate the family while HG Wells favoured sterilisation of the infirm, pan-surveillance and micro-management of citizens’ personal data, criss-crossing government departments through pneumatic tubes.
Jun 9, 2016, 17:59 PM

Watching the Moods

Gerard Smyth
Coming just a few years after his ‘Collected Poems’, Macdara Woods’s new collection demonstrates the progression towards a lifelong unitary project; poem adds to poem, book to book. Because of that consistency poems from forty years ago still wear well.
Jul 11, 2016, 17:59 PM

Landscapes of Displaced Desire

Tom Tracey
A debut collection of short stories is fraught in mood, yet maintains a composed tone alongside meticulous description. At times it feels like a contemporary ‘Dubliners’ written for the People’s Republic of Cork, shot through with its author’s impressive ‘descriptive lust’.
Jul 11, 2016, 22:26 PM

Opening Out

Afric McGlinchey
In a collection of almost sublime purity, Vona Groarke moves from a youthful confidence inspired by love, to a state of ‘chassis’, and finally to a point where she looks outward from the confines of the symbolic house which has served her so often as an image.
Jul 11, 2016, 22:40 PM

Sad in the Suburbs

Brendan Mac Evilly
Our image of Maeve Brennan is most often of an elegant and sophisticated woman looking very at home in a New York apartment. Her Dublin stories, however, portray frustrated lives in a respectable but constricted world, the middle class suburban world in which she grew up.
Jul 11, 2016, 22:46 PM

This Island Now

George O’Brien
One of the most distinctive aspects of O’Faoláin’s ‘The Bell’ was its reportage, a genre related to British and American traditions of documentary writing, a departure from the ‘belles lettres’ conception and a socially conscious attempt to extend literature’s democratic appeal and demographic reach.
Aug 30, 2016, 09:38 AM

Far from Home

Carol Taaffe
Mia Gallagher’s new novel is a capacious one. It is difficult to capture all at once, and as such it is a work that would repay returning to. As the playful cabinet of curiositiesdevice that it features might suggest, it is also a novel that might appear very differently on each reading.
Aug 30, 2016, 09:50 AM

The Long Note

Brendan Lowe
The opening poem in Paddy Bushe’s new collection gives a sense of an art emerging from a relationship with the natural processes occurring constantly in a particular place, processes which transcend time, while the music played is a different phenomenon from the songs ringing in the New Year down in the village.
Aug 30, 2016, 10:29 AM

Father of the Artist

Barry Sheils
Mike McCormack’s new novel is a successful and moving work, not least because it contains a public reckoning at its centre – a plea for accountability not typical in Irish writing, which remains overly impressed by its grim array of scapegrace dandies, scouring matriarchs and domesticated Oedipuses.
Aug 30, 2016, 10:39 AM

A Bird Pipes Up

Billy Mills
There is always some question around the best, or perhaps the least-worst, way of translating poetry. One view is that translating verse into prose leaves out almost everything that makes the original worth reading in the first instance.
Aug 30, 2016, 10:49 AM


Terence Brown
Louis MacNeice’s career was a matter of negotiating between conflicting realities, Belfast and Dublin, Ireland North and South, Ireland and England, Europe and America, peace and war ‑ he chose London over Ireland and a then non-combatant US lest he miss history.
Oct 4, 2016, 18:22 PM

The Bears and the Bees

Thomas McCarthy
Paula Meehan is an inspiring presence, the most important thinking poet of her generation. Still, it must be said that there are rogues and ruffians among poets too, persons of such low moral character that a blackthorn stick might as well be found in their hands as a pen.
Oct 4, 2016, 18:45 PM

Suffer Little Children

Liza Costello
A collection of poems by Connie Roberts, who grew up in an institution after being removed from a violent home in rural Ireland, portrays her horrific childhood world both inspiringly and artistically, while refusing to ‘tell it slant’ or to ‘gussy it up / in Sunday-best similes’.
Oct 6, 2016, 05:02 AM