Katie Donovan is a leading Irish poet. "Rootling" draws on three previous Bloodaxe collections, "Watermelon Man" (1993), "Entering the Mare" (1997) and "Day of the Dead" (2002), together with a whole collection of new work.
Katie Donovan writes about the hungers which haunt our flesh and our fantasies, the conjunction of myth and the physical world of body and earth. Her visceral poems render new sensations, landscapes and perceptions, taking a fresh look at family and history, with daring imagery interwoven with language by turns playful and elegiac. The need for role models, how to cope with loss, the way we interact with the natural world, the play of power between people, and how women cope with love and its aftermath are among the many topics she addresses in her poetry. This book draws on three previous collections, together with a whole collection of new poems, Rootling. Here Katie Donovan's lively sensibility explores motherhood, with the birth of her two children: from the blues to the pleasures of breastfeeding, she charts the shock of birth and the delights of watching her babies develop. Enmeshed in the familial and domestic, the death of her father prompts her to shuttle back to scenes of her own rural childhood, as well as mourning the passing of a remarkable man. The end of the collection dwells on her partner's courageous struggle with cancer.
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'Donovan has an exceptional descriptive gift - a highly idiosyncratic, individualistic writer who probes experiences for hidden meanings...her seeming introversion is expressed through a poetry of great solidity and tactility - She covers a remarkable range - extending from the powerful elegies and international death-rituals of the opening poems to smart human parables' - Bernard O'Donoghue, Irish Times. 'Here is a poet who enjoys writing about what is new and strange, surprising or disconcerting... When she is introspective, what she homes in on is not the reflective mind's attempt at a just balance but the wildness of the instant of emotion' - Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, Cyphers.
About Katie Donovan
Katie Donovan was educated at Trinity College Dublin and The University of California at Berkeley. She has published five books of poetry, all with Bloodaxe Books: Watermelon Man (1993), Entering the Mare (1997), Day of the Dead (2002), Rootling: New & Selected Poems (2010), and Off Duty (2016), which was shortlisted for the Irish Times-Poetry Now Award. Born in 1962, she spent her childhood on a farm in Co. Wexford before moving to Dun Laoghaire, a suburb of Dublin where she still lives. She has worked as a journalist with The Irish Times, a Creative Writing Teacher at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (in Dun Laoghaire), and currently teaches Creative Writing at NUI Maynooth. Her work has been widely anthologised, most recently in The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women's Poetry, edited by Peggy O'Brien, and in Bloodaxe's Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times, edited by Neil Astley. She is the author of Irish Women Writers: Marginalised by Whom? (Raven Arts Press, 1988), and has co-edited two anthologies, Dublines (with Brendan Kennelly), published by Bloodaxe Books in 1996, and Ireland's Women: Writings Past and Present (with A. Norman Jeffares and Brendan Kennelly), published by Kyle Cathie (Britain) and Gill and Macmillan (Ireland) in 1994. In 2017 she was awarded the 21st Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Poetry.
Rootling: New and Selected Poems by Katie Donovan
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