Deceptively light-footed, delivered with humour and a sometimes feisty independence of spirit, the poems in Flirting with Tigers, Amy Abdullah Barry’s debut collection, are prompted by wonder and appreciation. If travel is an essential ingredient for this Irish-based Malaysian-born poet, what unites these wide- and far-ranging poems are the glimpses of the poet’s origin story, the personalities and relationships of an extended family life that continues to be the measure for subsequent experiences.
“A distinctive new voice in Irish poetry, Amy Abdullah Barry evokes people and place in rich sensuous detail, exploring mystery and danger alongside love and loss.Her debut collection travels from the rain forests of her childhood home in Malaysia to the banks of the Suck in the Irish midlands with zestful poems of warmth, insight and surprise. “
— Jane Clarke
“Amy Abdullah Barry is a joyous Penang sensation, reminding us that blood from outside is truly good, as Máire Mhac an tSaoí once wrote, renewing our imaginations and making us strong. Her poems have cast a set of renewing spells across the Irish landscape, she has drawn cards with cryptic images from the green baize writing-table and given us a Malay treasure-trove of lemongrass, chillies and durians.”
— Thomas McCarthy
We move from the tastes and smells of her mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens in Penang to the hawthorn hedges and stone walls of Athlone and from the shore of the Andaman Sea to the river Suck in the Shannon basin … She moves with ease across both landscapes, going ‘eye to eye with a boar’ and sets out her stall early with the declaration: ‘I pin the breath of a rainforest on my skin’.
– Jean O’Brien
Flirting with Tigers
Amy Abdullah Barry
70pp, 140 x 216 mm
ISBN 9781915629081 HB
ISBN 9781915629098 PB
Cover image by Gaetano Tranchino