Introducing: The Boys of Bluehill

Wake Forest University Press is proud to announce the arrival of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s Boys of Bluehill. In her newest collection, Ní Chuilleanáin addresses the themes of music, religion, art, and language to create a beautiful union between revelatory imagery and an acute poetic sensibility.

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Of her work, Seamus Heaney remarked: “There is something second-sighted about Eiléan Ní Chulleanáin’s work. Her poems see things anew, in a rinsed and dreamstruck light. They are at once as plain as an anecdote told on the doorstep and as haunting as a soothsayer’s greetings.”

In “Incipit Hodie” the ways in which Eiléan Ní Chulleanáin works through the theme of language becomes strikingly clear.

Incipit Hodie

for Phoenix Alexander Woods, born 18.iv.2013

When you fell into our language
like a fist into water,
no wonder you were blinded by the splash you made.

We wiped our eyes
but for you it took longer,
it sprayed like feathers around you while you tried

making out the noises. And
slowly the stream ran calmer
though it took you a while to trust your ears and eyes.

How are you supposed
to grasp the water’s flow?
But look, those flourishes are pebbles and fish.

Fish are slipping away,
the water is clear and still;
when you reach for words they will be hard like pebbles in your hand.

Eiléan Ní Chulleanáin, The Boys of Bluehill (2015)

Posted in Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Irish Women's Poetry, Our Poets, Poetry | Leave a comment

Poem of the Week: October Thoughts & Throwback

WFU Press’s newest book is here!

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Ciaran Carson’s From Elsewhere is a beautiful work featuring translations of the French poet Jean Follain juxtaposed alongside Carson’s original work.

In his “Apropros,” Carson offers, “…[T]he word fetch…was in my mind throughout the writing of From Elsewhere.” He goes on to say, “A fetch is the act of fetching, bringing from a distance, or reaching after: it is something brought from elsewhere, an act of translation in other words…A fetch is the apparition, double, or wraith of a living person. A shadowy counterpart, as my poems might be to those of Follain.”

Here, we see Carson’s translation of Follain’s “October Thoughts” alongside “Throwback,” just as they are paired in the book. In “Throwback,” Carson’s response reverberates like a haunting echo of Follain, and creates a space that allows each piece to converse with, answer, and compliment the other.

Pensées d’octobre: October Thoughts

How good it is
to drink this fine wine
all by oneself
when evening illuminates the coppery hills
no hunter any longer sets his sights
on the lowland game
our friends’ sisters
look lovelier than ever
regardless of the threat of war
an insect stops
then starts again.


Children throwing stones
and bottles over the brick wall
topped with broken bottles
ruby amber green
need not know who
drank the wine
all those years ago
nor what lies on the other side
except that it throws back.

Ciaran Carson from From Elsewhere (2015)

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It’s No Joke! April 1st Kicks Off National Poetry Month

April marks the beginning of National Poetry Month!

While poetry can and should be celebrated all year round, this is the “official” month to celebrate poetry in all of its various forms. Literary geeks around the country will soon participate in another annual National Poetry Month, which was first founded in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets. While it is nothing shy of ironic that April was chosen—T.S. Eliot, the father of postmodern poetry, famously described April as “the cruellest month”—Smithsonian historian David C. Ward suggests that spring is the perfect time to revive the art of poetic expression. Here at WFU Press, we tend to agree.

If you wish to join in on all the fun, The New York Times keeps a running list highlighting some of the poetry-related events going on around the country. Our personal favorite is Poem in Your Pocket Day, set for April 30 this year. It’s one of the easiest ways that anyone can participate because it’s all about sharing. Make sure to stash a copy of your favorite poem in your back pocket to share with family and friends, or share online by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

We kicked off National Poetry Month with our annual student poetry contest and celebration at the Community Arts Café in downtown Winston-Salem, where musicians and poets came together to share their work (photos below).

We hope you’ll discover your own unique way to celebrate National Poetry Month this year, keeping one of the world’s oldest literary forms alive and well.

Posted in Arts and Culture, Interns, Interns' Corner, Poetry, WFU Press | Leave a comment