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Blaris Moor
Blaris Moor

Blaris Moor


112 Pages, 6 x 8.5

Formats: Trade Paper, Mobipocket, EPUB

Trade Paper, $13.95 (US $13.95) (CA $16.95)

Publication Date: April 2017

ISBN 9781930630789

Rights: US & CA

Wake Forest University Press (Apr 2017)


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The title of Medbh McGuckian's newest volume, Blaris Moor, refers to a traditional ballad that commemorates the trial and execution in 1797 of four militia men condemned by the authorities as members of the United Irishmen. The United Irishmen were so named because their failed Rebellion of 1798—among the worst bloodshed Ireland has ever known—was meant to unite Protestants and Catholics. Always steeped in sensual longing, McGuckian's poems are historically complex invocations of such volatile landscapes, shedding light on the workings of the private world behind the public conflict. The volume then moves to other scenes of similar contest, including meditations on the Flight of the Earls in the early 1600s and considerations of the two World Wars. The poems here are conversations full of the strained atmosphere of those times in history, much like the present, when forces for good and ill are poised in delicate balance: This half-peace war is here showing its peaceful face. It has its front line of souls hovering at knee-height in the indistinct dawn, only two-thirds divine, crozier-shaped wind heads. from "The Barns of Joseph"

Author Biography

Medbh McGuckian was born in Belfast in 1950, where she now lives with her husband and four children. She received both a BA and MA from Queen's University, where, alongside Paul Muldoon, she studied under Seamus Heaney. In 1985, she returned to Queen's as the university's first female writer-in-residence. She has also held residencies at the University of Ulster and Trinity College, Dublin, as well as universities in America. Medbh McGuckian published her first two chapbooks in 1980 before her first full-length collection, The Flower Master (1982), won the Poetry Society's Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize, the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, and an award from the Ireland Arts Council.