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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Clasp by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

I picked up a copy of Doireann Ní Ghríofa's first English-language collection of poems, Clasp, in the library recently. I was happy to find that I enjoyed reading her poems and I got the impression that this is someone worth reading and listening to. There is a freshness and a simplicity to her lines that quietly pull you in. 

The poems touch on subjects such as the moral quandary faced by the housemaid of Emily Dickinson; whether to burn her work or keep the poet's words which awaken the maid at night? (Valise of Memories) A trip to Chile is evoked in Maeve in Chile where Ní Ghríofa concludes that though she is very far from home geographically she has never been closer emotionally. Childhood memories arise in Triolet from the keeper of childhood memories, motherhood in Jigsaw and female mutilation in the uncomfortable Instructions To Kill A Daughter's Minotaur. Heady lust swims in After School and In the Post Office. Narcissus is a clever and modern take on the character from myth.  The very Irish issue of industrial school abuse is explored in At Letterfrack. Waking meanwhile is dedicated to Savita Halappanavar. The book finishes with the long, weaving Seven Views of Cork City.

Clasp is divided into three sections, Clasp, Cleave Clench. I recommend reading a copy of  Clasp, published by Dedalus Press, 2015.

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