Poem of the Week: “Persephone Suffering from SAD” by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s The Water Horse is a particular gem because of the collaboration of three great female Irish poets; Ní Dhomhnaill’s poems are in Irish, with English translations by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and Medbh McGuckian. These poems present other convergences, particularly the mingling of mythology with modern life as in today’s poem, where we encounter the Persephone of Greek myth in current times.

A quick note: The Irish phrase in the last line, Céad Míle Fáilte, is a common greeting meaning “a hundred thousand welcomes.”

Persephone Suffering from SAD

Now don’t go ringing the cops,
Mum, and don’t be losing the bap:
I admit I was out of line
and over the top
when I hitched a ride
with that sexy guy
in his wow of a BMW.
But he was such a super chat-up
I couldn’t give him the push.

He booked us a foreign holiday
no travel agent runs—
his car so jet-propelled with revs
the engine soared on wings.
He said he would buy me velvet gowns
and satin underthings,
and his credit’s fine. He leaves
me space, though I’d have to say
there’s not much light in the place.

He’s signing me the title deeds
to all his stately homes.
He’s for putting my name in lights
as a star on the silver screen.
He has me flooded with rings
and pearls, but the menu’s pretty thin—
I’ve just been served a pomegranate:
it’s crimson, dripping with seeds—

a veritable Céad Míle Fáilte of drops of blood.

-Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, translated by Medbh McGuckian, from The Water Horse (2000)


“a veritable Céad Míle Fáilte of drops of blood”

Posted in Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Irish Poetry, Irish Women's Poetry, Medbh McGuckian, Ni Dhomhaill, Poem of the Week, Poetry | Leave a comment

When bad things happen to good books

To us, every box of newly-printed books that we receive at the Press is like a special gift opened under the Christmas tree. But from time to time, a box comes to us with minor or even major damage, and what are we to do?

Why do bad things happen to good books?

Why do bad things happen to good books?

Why do bad things happen to good books?

Unfortunately, we received a box of Ciaran Carson’s Collected Poems (paperback) recently that was slightly warped. The good news is that you can benefit from our misfortune! We have a limited number of brand-new, still-in-the-shrink-wrap copies (with very minor warping) available at a discounted price of $14.00. If you ask us, that’s quite a steal!

You can purchase these copies online in our Used Books section. While you’re at it, browse around the rest of our used titles to see what other great deals we have. After all, a used book has just been pre-loved.

Posted in Ciaran Carson, Irish Poetry, On sale, Poetry | Leave a comment

Poem of the Week: “… a spell to bless the silence.”

John Montague’s most recent volume, Speech Lessons, is full of lyrical poems about childhood, memory, and family. Our selection for today stands out from this subject matter as a poem about poetry itself.


for Elizabeth

Poetry is a weapon, and should be used,
though not in the crudity of violence.
It is a prayer before an unknown altar,
a spell to bless the silence.

There is a music beyond all this,
beyond all forms of grievance,
where anger lays its muzzle down
into the lap of silence.

Or some butterfly script,
fathomed only by the other,
as supple fingers draw
a silent message from the tangible.

-John Montague, from Speech Lessons (2012)

Posted in Irish Poetry, John Montague, Poem of the Week | 2 Comments