Selected Poems


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Seán Ó Ríordáin; Edited by Frank Sewell

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The first bilingual volume of poems by leading Irish twentieth-century poet Seán Ó Ríordáin

In the mid-twentieth century, a new generation of poets writing in Irish emerged, led by the young Seán Ó Ríordáin, among others. Ó Ríordáin’s work has stood the test of time well, and he continues to engage today’s Irish readers and writers. This well-rounded selection of poems brings most of Ó Ríordáin’s works to English-language readers for the first time. The poems appear in their original Irish alongside English translations by some of Ireland's leading poets. Also included for the first time in English is Ó Ríordáin’s essay What Is Poetry?, considered an extraordinary touchstone of critical insight for poets and literary commentators.

The volume reflects Ó Ríordáin’s seven main concerns: poetry and its place in the artist’s life; the plural self; the relationship between the individual and society; gender relations; the nature of animals; Ireland, its language and culture; and mortality.

Seán Ó Ríordáin (1916–1977) completed four volumes of poetry, the last—Tar Éis Mo Bháis—published posthumously. He also wrote powerful opinion pieces for the Irish Times during his later years. Frank Sewell is a poet, translator, critic, and academic.

‘Yale and Frank Sewell have created a serious memorial to one survivor poet, a soul of unbridled imagination.’—The Irish Examiner

“This volume of vibrant translations is essential reading for anyone concerned with 20th-century Irish culture. This tuberculosis-ridden Cork man, the most important 20th-century Irish-language poet -offers a profoundly human interrogation of mid-century Irish Catholicism faced with secularism. Speaking to a global audience, this is poetry of a dark soul, born of suffering and doubt.”
– Brian Ó Conchubhair, University of Notre Dame

'Many of Ó Ríordáin’s best-loved poems, and some lesser-known works, are given a jolt of newness in their unfamiliar cloak of English.'—Róisín Ní Ghairbhí, The Irish Times

"Spanning all four of [Seán] Ó Ríordáin’s collections, totalling over 250 pages and even offering a translation of the poet’s insightful essay, ‘What is Poetry?’, this volume is hugely important, not just for bringing to a wider audience the work of one of Ireland’s greatest twentieth-century poets, but for celebrating his influence on future generations."—Seán Hewitt, Modern Poetry in Translation
ISBN: 9780300190588
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
288 pages, 5 x 7.75
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