Book: The Sun-fish

Cover image

The Sun-fish

Author: Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
Publisher: The Gallery Press

The Sun-fish, a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, reinforces convictions that Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s transforming and transporting ways of seeing are like no other: silk scarves fly at her face ‘like a car wash’; there’s the ‘whisper of a cashmere sleeve’, the nuns’ ‘leathery kiss’ and a lighthouse ‘scraping the sea with its beam’.

By now familiar motifs—waves, tides, dividing lines, arches and doorways, journeys, a high tower and water, water everywhere, reprise previous effects and reach forward into new domains. Poems about men and the men in her family, a “woman’s story and the stories of women”, elegies, homages and her family’s history, are developed through mist or the gap in a tale. Other poems tease out the tricks of light, at dawn or dusk, to open the lock of language.

The title sequence is both alluring and hypnotic. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s poetry is one of the marvels of our time.

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