By Mark Roper

A Gather of Shadow

2012 collection from Mark Roper, balancing personal elegy and celebration of the natural world

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Opening and closing with poems that describe what he calls a river’s “breath”, Mark Roper’s new collection is both a significant development of his work as one of the most admired nature poets of his generation, and at the same time a deeply personal record of the loss of his elderly mother. Roper’s trademark clarity of detail and simple, nuanced diction are brought to bear throughout, and the twin presences of death and life, like all great opposites, become so close to each other as to be inseparable. Spare, lyrical and always tender, A Gather of Shadow is a kind of haunting – not by something that is far away or remote, but by the knowledge that might be said to define us as human.

“Although A Gather of Shadow reflects tenderness and loss so powerfully it’s not a heavy read. This isn’t only because several of the poems have light moments. Throughout there is a sense of how much life’s small and large events matter. Mark Roper’s writing sends that shiver down my spine which is the sign of true poetry. His images have become part of my consciousness. What greater praise could I give to this book?”
— Myra Schneider, Acumen

ISBN 978 1 906614 591 Paperback
140 x 216 mm, 58 pp
September 2012

Additional information

Dimensions 216 × 140 mm

Product Detail

  • ISBN: : 9781906614591
  • Size: : 216 x 140 mm
  • Pages: : 58 pp
  • Published: : September 2012

About The Author


MARK ROPER was born in Derbyshire, England in 1951. He moved to Ireland in 1980. His collections include The Hen Ark (Peterloo, 1990), which won the 1992 Aldeburgh Prize for best first collection, Catching The Light (Peterloo, 1997) and The Home Fire (Abbey Press, 1998). Reviewing the latter for The Irish Literary Supplement, Bill Tinley described Roper as "one of the most accomplished and engaging poets writing in Ireland at present". Whereabouts was published in 2005 by Abbey Press & Peterloo and Even So: New & Selected Poems was published by Dedalus Press in 2008. His latest collection, Bindweed, (Dedalus Press, 2017), has received excellent reviews and was shortlisted for The Irish Times Poetry Now Award 2018. A Gather of Shadow, Dedalus 2012, was also shortlisted for the Poetry Now Award and won the Michael Hartnett Award in 2014. The River Book: A Celebration of the Suir, a collaboration with photographer Paddy Dwan, was published in 2010. The pair have since published 2 further collaborations, The Backstrand (2013), and Comeragh (2018). They are currently at work on a book about the County Waterford coastline. The Invader, an opera composed by Eric Sweeney to a libretto by Mark Roper, was premièred in Ireland in May 2014. A second opera from the pair, The Green One, received its première in October 2016. Mark Roper has also worked on many other collaborative ventures, including projects with photographer Margaret O’Brien-Moran, painter Susan Hughes and choreographer Libby Seward. Mark was Editor of Poetry Ireland Review for 1999. He was the recipient of Arts Council Bursaries in 2010, 2013 and 2016. A highly experienced Creative Writing teacher, Mark has run courses and workshops in many different settings, including schools, prisons, and senior citizen centres. From September 2002 to May 2003 he was writer-in-residence at Waterford Regional Hospital. Website: