Information about the poet.
In Parallax Sinéad Morrissey documents what is caught, and what is lost, when houses and cityscapes, servants and saboteurs (the different people who lived in sepia’) are arrested in time by photography (or poetry), subjected to the authority of a particular perspective. Assured and disquieting, Morrissey’s poems explore the paradoxes in what is seen, read and misread in the surfaces of the presented world.
Sinéad Morrissey’s fourth collection explores fertility, pregnancy, and the landscape of early childhood in poems that are by turns tender, exuberant and unsettling. Pitched against the envious dead, these diverse narratives of birth and its consequences are rooted in literary and historical contexts—from Aristotle’s theory of spontaneous generation to Lewis Carroll’s Alice—that amplify her theme. Infancy is for Morrissey the rich and contested territory in which what it means to be human in a precarious world is disclosed.
Addressing the theme of imprisonment in various states-from actual prisons in 18th century Europe to the limits perceptions place on individual experiences-this collection of poems fully explores the intimate interiors of human relationships. Form and content, as well as the personal and the political, are blended throughout this collection with imagination and consummate skill. This collection concludes with a first person recounting of the life and works of the great prison reformer John Howard while detailing his vision for the moral regeneration of the corrupted human soul.
In her second book of poems Sinead Morrissey’s worlds grow more diverse, encompassing the Orient, the Antipodes, America and an Ireland which recent history has changed: a country observed through eyes that travel and time have made clear, dispassionate and disabused. The poems are still hungry for grace, but in each new geographical and spiritual territory what seems promise is undermined by material and cultural reality; the ceremonies and beliefs of Japan, for example, yield the most colourful spiritual barrenness; and when the poet returns to Ireland it is with a political anger sharpened by the very directness of her vision. Her use of traditional forms is freer and more assured than ever: her wit is visual and semantic, and wonderfully nuanced in her unusual rhythms of speech.