Published by Bloodaxe Books
'Geis' is a word from Irish mythology meaning a supernatural taboo or injunction on behaviour. In her long-awaited third collection, Catríona O'Reilly examines the 'geis' in all of its psychological, emotional, and moral suggestiveness: exploring the prohibitions and compulsions under which we sometimes place ourselves, or find ourselves placed. In poems that range from the searingly personal to the more playfully abstract and philosophical, O’Reilly's characteristic imaginative range and linguistic verve are everywhere in evidence. These are poems that question our sometimes tenuous links with the world, with others, and even with ourselves, but which ultimately celebrate the richness of experience and the power of language to affirm it.
Geis is Caitríona O’Reilly's third collection, following her critically acclaimed earlier books, The Nowhere Birds(2001), shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and winner of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, and The Sea Cabinet (2006), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation which was shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now Award.
Caitríona O’Reilly’s poetry collection The Sea Cabinet really impresses with its intellectual and emotional range. Not an overtly lyrical poet, O’Reilly nonetheless manages to explore the private self at odds with an environment and culture now in permanent flux. Her sense of the trail left by history is absorbing and fresh’ – Mary O’Donnell, Sunday Independent (Books of the Year).
’Excitingly sophisticated…possessed of metaphysical eloquence and quietly meditative intelligence, from this most European of Irish poets’ – Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times (Books of the Year), on The Sea Cabinet.
’This is a profoundly unconventional collection. It is not, to begin with, lyric verse. Rather, it is an exploration of disturbance and alienation; whose strikingly ornate, often historically derived imagery generates a sense of coalescence, of the irresistible thickening-up of experience… When she stands back, lettting the poem build a new myth around an objection of quotidian apprehension – a Heliotrope, an X-ray – O’Reilly can be among the best we have’ – Fiona Sampson, The Irish Times, on The Sea Cabinet.
’The most startlingly accomplished début collection by any Irish poet since Paul Muldoon’s New Weather in 1973’ – Patrick Crotty, The Irish Times, on The Nowhere Birds.
‘Whether enthralled or appalled, she beholds and magnifies the world and its strange creatures (including ourselves) in poems that are formally versatile and linguistically copious’ – Michael Longley, on The Nowhere Birds.