By Catherine Phil MacCarthy

The Invisible Threshold

2012 collection of poems from Dublin-based poet and novelist, exploring liminal states of being, loss and reconciliation


Catherine Phil MacCarthy’s fourth collection, The Invisible Threshold explores from several angles the idea of ‘threshold’ or the ‘liminal’, the state of being in transition from one moment to the next. These poems celebrate life with a deep sense of wonder. They capture transformational moments of experience where mortality and loss as well as the ties between the body and spirit are explored. Reconciliation with a mother’s death brings ‘a sense of first breath on the earth’ and acknowledges that grief delivers a new freedom, where intense life is ‘open to pure being’ and the abundant energies of summer.

ISBN 978 1 906614 607 Paperback
140 x 216 mm, 74 pp
September 2012

Additional information

Dimensions 216 × 140 mm

Product Detail

  • ISBN: : 9781906614607
  • Size: : 216 x 140 mm
  • Pages: : 74 pp
  • Published: : September 2012

About The Author


CATHERINE PHIL MACCARTHY was born in Co. Limerick in 1954, and has lived in Dublin since 1987. She is a graduate of University College Cork, and studied Drama at Trinity College Dublin and at Central School of Speech and Drama, London. Catherine Phil MacCarthy’s awards include: the 2014 Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Award for Irish Poetry, the Dromineer Literary Festival Poetry Prize in 2012 and the Fish International Poetry Prize in 2010. She received a Bursary in Literature from the Arts Council of Ireland towards work on each of her collections, most recently in 2013 and 2020. Catherine Phil MacCarthy’s five poetry books are Daughters of the House (Dedalus Press, 2019), The Invisible Threshold (Dedalus Press, 2012), Suntrap (Blackstaff Press, 2007), the blue globe (Blackstaff Press, 1998) and This Hour of the Tide (Salmon Poetry, 1994). MacCarthy’s chapbook Sanctuary was joint winner of the Sense of Place Award, and was published in How High the Moon by Poetry Ireland (1991). Her novel, One Room an Everywhere, is published with Blackstaff Press (2003). Since 1990, her poems have been published in literary journals in Ireland, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, France, Spain and Slovenia. Catherine Phil MacCarthy’s poems have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, and Slovenian. Her work is included in many anthologies in Ireland and abroad. She is a former editor of Poetry Ireland Review (1998/9). Catherine Phil MacCarthy’s essay, “The Island of Poetry”, on becoming a poet, is published in New Hibernia Review (Autumn, 2016). She was Writer in Residence at Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris in the spring of 2013; at the Department of Anglo-Irish Literature, University College, Dublin (2002) and for the City of Dublin (1994). Catherine Phil MacCarthy has worked as guest writer at Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology and at St Patrick’s College, and has regularly given workshops at the Irish Writers' Centre. She taught at The Drama Centre, University College Dublin, and at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) before turning full-time to writing in 1999. Her website is: