Magnum Mysterium is Irish American poet Julie O’Callaghan’s first collection since Tell Me This Is Normal: New & Selected Poems (2008).
Her new poems have evolved from the early monologues – written in American demotic – to poems of heartache on the death of her husband, the poet Dennis O’Driscoll. But even in these harrowing poems she never loses her ear for the absurdities of modern life – including the grieving process where she can “see” her husband alive and doing what he loves (‘Cyber You’):
I need to see you
living and breathing.
I go to YouTube
and there you are being you
(the tiny you)
with the tie I bought you
sitting on a chair
on a stage in Santa Fe
asking Seamus questions.
In Magnum Mysterium Julie O’Callaghan has continued writing poems which ‘seem effortless and are immediately accessible and achieve great emotional weight by the lightest of means’ (Michael Hartnett Award citation).
‘These poems are agile, heartfelt and original. They expand with repeated readings, earning the reader’s trust as they echo voices that are recognisable all around us, if not within us as well.’ – Leslie Ullman, Poetry
‘O’Callaghan’s subtle ear for the intonations of speech, her appalled delight in the things language is made to do in our consumer-crazed era…and her shrewd handling of line-endings mark her as a true poet, someone with an almost deranged interest in the possibilities and impossibilities of words.’ – Patrick Crotty, The Irish Times
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- Bloodaxe Books
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