In Playing the Octopus, her eighth collection of poems, Mary O’Malley’s sensitivity to the spirit of Ireland’s west coast is as attuned as ever. In a world both earthen and dreamlike, bodily and mythical, a trout is seen to ‘swallow light through his skin,’ a wolf ‘howls the great open vowel of his need,’ and in the emptiness where a tree once stood, ‘a tree-shaped brightness dances.’
Over the course of the collection, O’Malley twins the Irish west coast with the American east coast, Inis Mór with Coney Island, the parish with the metropolis, the pipes with the axe, each offering its own comfort and wonder. Sylvia Plath, Lois Lane and Antigone feature in an unlikely cast of heroines through which O’Malley tests the mythologies of motherhood and femininity.
Playing the Octopus is a body of writing buoyed by the redemptive power and sustaining joy of music. The closing section features translations of the Irish poet Seán Ó Riordán and the Spaniard Federico García Lorca.
Deemed ‘a true artist,’ by Eavan Boland and ‘as exhilarating a read as the title promises,’ by Paula Meehan, this is sure to be an unforgettable event. Join us on Friday at 6:30pm, copies of Playing the Octopus will be on sale at the event.
For more information on this event, or to reserve a copy, simply contact us.