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


Afric McGlinchey
In her second collection, Leeanne Quinn gives voice and presence to the Russian poets Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva and Osip Mandelstam. Like Tsvetaeva and Akhmatova, Quinn has experienced grief and loss; like them, she has an attraction for cemeteries.
Mar 4, 2021, 11:08 AM


Susan McKeever
Readers of Ferdia Mac Anna’s comic noir novel, newly reissued after twenty years, must suspend their disbelief, as the characters that rollick through the pages are quirky, fantastical, and at times, a bit superhuman, communicating mainly in quips.
Mar 4, 2021, 10:52 AM

The Homes of Tipperary

Thomas O’Grady
Donal Ryan has, in previous work, established his facility for inhabiting the minds and spirits of his characters through deft deployment of varying narrative points of view. In his new novel he opts for authorial omniscience, a strategy he employs skilfully and with radiant effect.
Feb 4, 2021, 19:16 PM

A Hero and his Valet

Afric McGlinchey
The runaway slave Tony Small saved the life of Lord Edward Fitzgerald after a battle in the American War of Independence. The two became close, with Fitzgerald hiring Small as his personal servant and taking him with him on his travels, to revolutionary France and ultimately Dublin.
Feb 4, 2021, 18:44 PM

A Man About a Dog

Ricca Edmondson
What is alluring about dogs includes ‘their freedom, their lack of inhibition’, their dwelling in the moment – without apprehensiveness, but without hope. This is enviable in a way, yet we don’t entirely want it. Having a pet can extend one’s being, but it needn’t make one want to be a pet.
Feb 4, 2021, 18:38 PM

Quote, Don’t Dote

Declan Kiberd
In his latest book, Joseph Hassett seeks to restore the full poetic and personal context to some of Yeats’s most famous and most quoted lines. The result is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable books on the poet ever to call forth the skills of a gifted designer and of a true critic.
Feb 4, 2021, 15:12 PM

Mission Accomplished

Gerard Smyth
The thinking behind Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s working practice – the testing of experience, the quotidian, memory and knowledge through poetic process – is crucial to understanding her work and to the rigour that saw her finding her distinctive lyrical self at the outset of her career.
Feb 4, 2021, 15:09 PM

The Chancer Debagged

Alan Titley
Frank McCourt could scarce remember a time when the sun shone on the drab Limerick of ‘Angela’s Ashes’. I did the stupid thing of checking out the weather in those years of slosh and slop and lo, many of the summers and autumns were as dry as a cow pat on a humming July evening.
Feb 4, 2021, 14:59 PM

Royal Rebel

Lillis Ó Laoire
Seosamh Mac Grianna’s best-known work, newly translated as ‘This Road of Mine’, is more novel than autobiography and is also an exploration of the relationship between art and artist. Unusually, for a work written in the 1930s in Irish, it is set in Dublin, London, Liverpool and Cardiff.
Jan 7, 2021, 13:38 PM

The Mirrors That We Drape

Deirdre Hines
If the purpose of satire is to change the world, or at least to change the ways in which we think about it, do poets like Kevin Higgins do more than elicit complacent smiles from those who already agree with them? The strong responses that his poems evoke suggest otherwise.
Jan 7, 2021, 13:21 PM

The War on Words

David Blake Knox
Spoken Chinese is a tonal language quite unlike English – with four possible tones to each sound and a fifth atonal sound that can turn a sentence into a question. The chief problems that translators of ‘Ulysses’ have faced in mainland China are not, however, issues of language but of politics.
Jan 7, 2021, 13:04 PM

Yeats Now: Echoing into Life

Joseph M Hassett
Yeats Now: Echoing into Life, by Joseph M. Hassett, was published by Lilliput Press in September. Below we reprint its introduction. The Dublin Review of Books will publish a review of the work in the new year.
Dec 6, 2020, 17:13 PM

Hear the Silence

Magdalena Kay
Derek Mahon is not a poet to calm or ease the mind. He keeps us alert, thinking, in flux. It is hard to accept that ‘Washing Up’ will be his last word. Perhaps this is the greatest gift, that this posthumous volume shows a talent so utterly undiminished, so equal to the challenge of contemporary life.
Dec 6, 2020, 17:05 PM

From the Pleasure Ground

Joseph Woods
Richard Murphy’s publishing life began in the 1950s and culminated in his collected poems in 2013His poetry has its feet firmly in the last century, while the late poems and prose projects, including his marvellous memoir The Kick, firmly establishes him in this one.
Dec 6, 2020, 16:56 PM

Against the Vanishing

Enda Wyley
Throughout her new collection, Mary O’Donnell proves herself a smooth stylist, converting ideas, emotions, opinions into genuine poems that have a visible and an invisible subject. It helps that her imagination is a sturdy one.
Dec 6, 2020, 16:52 PM

What Must Be Told

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
The first duty of the artist is to be lucky. To be there like the photographer, at the right time and with the right equipment to capture what is going on. Paula Meehan’s childhood and youth ran parallel to developments in society which she was particularly well-placed to notice and record.
Dec 6, 2020, 16:02 PM

Two Stools and a Passion

Thomas O’Grady
Two men, ensconced on barstools – talking. The pub is a man’s world: ‘Dark wood, old mirrors, smoke-drenched walls and ceilings. And photographs of men. Jockeys, footballers, men drinking, writers ‑ all men ‑ rebels, boxers. The women were guests. The men were at home.’
Nov 5, 2020, 19:50 PM

The Power of Concentration

Gerald Dawe
A new study provides a view of Seamus Heaney as a poet who broke through to the hearts and minds of the general reader, precisely because his poetic instincts were formed by the full resources and range of the English language, both historical and present-day, demotic and biblical.
Nov 5, 2020, 19:38 PM

Not the Death of Love

Enda Coyle-Greene
The ‘After Dennis O’Driscoll’ section of Julie O’Callaghan’s new collection is another example of her genius with brevity. That one word, ‘After’, not only gives all due respect to the importance of her late husband’s work but also sets out the strange new ‘after’ life in which she finds herself.
Nov 5, 2020, 19:34 PM

Parables of Intimacy

Ben Keatinge
Chris Agee has written extensively on the essayist Hubert Butler and is editor, with his son Jacob, of Butler’s Balkan Essays. The Agees, father and son, are uniquely qualified to elucidate the intimacies of hospitality and of hatred that characterise both the Balkans and Northern Ireland.
Nov 5, 2020, 19:24 PM