Poems for your pockets

  • Article by: ANDREA HOAG
  • Updated: March 19, 2011 - 3:33 PM

What better gift for a literature lover than this handsome little collection of Irish poems?

Irish Poems, edited by Matthew McGuire

What better gift for a literature lover than this handsome little collection of Irish poems? Of course, the writers and wits of the Emerald Isle have always had a penchant for verse, and this tiny tome, "Irish Poems," from Everyman's Library Pocket Poets series, stretches from the work of the beloved 6th-century poet St. Columbanus all the way up to 20th-century stunners like Medbh McGuckian and Sinead Morrissey. Skipping over the Joyce and Yeats you've already memorized, hip-hopping over the naughty limericks, turn your attention now to the other poems in the group. In the aftermath of an accident on the streets of Paris, poet Eiléan Ní Chuillenain reflects upon how very "light" one's death could be. "You will be scattered like wreckage/ The pieces every one a different shape/ Will spin and lodge in the hearts/ Of all who love you."

On a lighter note, contemporary Gaelic poet Leontia Flynn playfully teases her lover: "I'll leave a water-ring around your heart," while the great Irish darling Michael Hartnett has joyous promises: "There will be a talking of lovely things/ there will be cognizance of the seasons, there will be men who know the flights of birds/ in new days there will be love for women." Perfect to pocket for a bus ride or a walk to the pub for a pint, this Lilliputian collection with the chartreuse cover is sure to bring readers joy, and, perhaps, even a bit of luck.

  • IRISH POEMS

    Edited by: Matthew McGuire.

    Publisher: Everyman's Library/Knopf, 240 pages, $13.50.

    Review: This wee collection of Irish poets contains old favorites and introduces new favorites.

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