Thursday, September 1

About Mairéad Byrne

Two or three weeks ago Mairéad Byrne sent me a couple of new chapbooks of her poetry. I’d been angling for a review copy of her recent thing from Wild Honey, but I got more than that.

Over the last two years or so Mairéad has been one of the lights of my poetry life. I’ve not visited her website often enough, but whenever I do, and I read her, the sun comes out and my brain remembers how things can be good. Sometimes poetry world is nonsense. Mairéad Byrne reminds me it is also capable of sense and delight.

She is one of those poets who is able to take hold of what is around her and put it on the page passionately and dispassionately at the same time. She’s able to retain her wit and humour, sometimes (often) against the odds. The pleasures and functions of language are a part of her life, and she is happy to share them. She knows all about innovative poetic strategies, and uses them when she feels like doing so. Unlike a lot of innovative poets she does it with a light touch. She writes poems that are a pleasure to read. If they happen to be about the tragedies of war-torn Baghdad this is not paradoxical. But they are just as likely to be about milk bottles. The thing is, she is a good poet, making a good poem. I see no point in making a poem about war-torn Baghdad that is horrible to read, or unreadable.

The same goes for poems about milk bottles, of course.

"Vivas", by Mairéad Byrne, is published by Wild Honey Press.

"An Educated Heart", by the same author, is published by Palm Press.

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