I feel very privileged to have been asked to edit this special guest-edited edition of A Poetry Congeries at Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, celebrating the current work of Irish poets, both in the Irish language as well as English. On the basis of the riches on offer here, the contemporary generations of Irish poets produce work that is as varied, lyrically intense, and socially and politically committed as at any point in the country’s literary past. A case of multum in parvo indeed!
‘Generations’, in the plural, matches this collection’s span—from well established poets such as Michael Coady, Dermot Healy, Thomas McCarthy, Mary O’Malley, Colm Breathnach, Gréagóir O’Dúill and Bríd Ní Mhóráin, through to newer voices such as Caitríona Ní Chléirchín, Ceatí Ní Bheildiúin, Miriam Gamble, Ailbhe Darcy, and Billy Ramsell.
That sense of span is also embodied in the collection’s linguistic spread—not just Irish and English as opposing contraries, but an intervening space which is the unique Irish way of handling the English language. Modern poems in Irish attest to the living qualities of the language as a poetic resource, whilst also inflecting the English language poems of Irish poets with a deeper sense of roots within the island’s culture.
I can only hope that you take as much pleasure in these poems as I did in the process of editing the collection. I’m very grateful to all the poets here for their generosity in offering their work, and I now look forward to the pleasure of reading through the varied delights, challenges, and gifts of the completed collection.