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Captain Lavender
Captain Lavender

Captain Lavender


83 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $9.95 (US $9.95) (CA $12.95)

Publication Date: April 1995

ISBN 9780916390662

Rights: US & CA

Wake Forest University Press (Apr 1995)

Price: $9.95


In this volume, Medbh McGuckian unfolds a beautiful array of themes—art, religion, landscape, nation, home—that will be as seductive to initiates as they are glowingly familiar to lovers of her work. We start with sensual understanding (“the form of feeling”), move among the various arenas of experience (sexuality, work, marriage), women’s sensations in particular, and even more specifically the religious passions of women, and consider their lives on islands both symbolic and real, islands with which McGuckian has often signaled the existence of the individual, as well as Ireland’s place in the larger world. The poems cast an hypnotic spell that grows until, in the deep acknowledgement of human suffering, the reader becomes a “picturesque believer” in “saints that have the gift of dreaming right” (“Galilee Porch”). The source of such visionary belief is in perception itself. Like the currach of its title, her style moves fleetly across its contents, requiring no particular harbors because all harbors, and subjects, are its own.

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. Wake Forest University Press has published eleven books by McGuckian, beginning with On Ballycastle Beach (1988), which won the Cheltenham Award. Her other awards include the prestigious Eric Gregory Award, the Denis Devlin Award, the Bass Ireland Award for Literature, the American Ireland Fund’s Literary Award, and the 2002 Forward Prize for Best Poem, honoring “She Is in the Past, She Has this Grace.”With Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Medbh McGuckian co-translated Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill’s collection The Water Horse (2000); she is also the author of Horsepower Pass By! A Study of the Car in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney (1999) and is the editor of an anthology of younger Northern Irish poets, The Big Striped Umbrella (1985).