Sunlight: New and Selected Poems

Sunlight by John O'Donnell cover - Dedalus Press, poetry from Ireland and the world

“Love, loss, memory, history, place are familiar preoccupations in John O’Donnell’s work; and, though poetry’s subject matter may be similar, a unique voice explores these themes in unique ways. The poems take us to very different places: Shakespeare in Ireland, the Holocaust, pioneering in Oregon, a grandmother’s Alzheimer’s. Here is a poet who searches for truth, and whether O’Donnell is remembering “me, surly in a sleeping-bag, fifteen” or the Omagh atrocity, the voice is always direct and honest, while capturing the close-up and personal with a wonderful fluency. O’Donnell’s poetry explores the steady and steadying presence of love within a family context but it also gives us the bigger picture, pictures of injustice, turmoil, ‘the unfathomable’ and what O’Donnell calls ‘a deep darker than ink’.  Turn to these enriching and engaging poems in Sunlight: New and Selected Poems; the poems will turn to you. And you will be rewarded.”
—Niall MacMonagle, from the Introduction


The tone is often moral and high-minded but never didactic or sanctimonious. O’Donnell’s ability to make connections with the lessons of history makes this poetry memorable.
— Mary O’Donnell, Poetry Ireland Review

O’Donnell’s work is frequently concerned with the “also-rans”, the loved others, the unnoticed, the lost; and the open, almost jaunty tone of many of these poems belies their serious intent, a vision of the world often tinged with tragedy, as in the powerful The Breaststroke among his newer poems, or Kola’s Shop from his 2002 collection, Some Other Country, which describes the plight of an African immigrant subject to racist attacks. One of the subtler pleasures of this book is the skill with which O’Donnell handles the technical aspects of his work, the adroit but unshowy way in which meter and phrasing are managed.
— Caitríona O’Reilly, The Irish Times


 The Shipping Forecast

for my father

Tied up at the pier in darkened harbour
the two of us below, the cabin’s amber
light; me surly in a sleeping-bag, fifteen,
and you, past midnight, calmly tuning in
to the Shipping Forecast, long wave’s
crackle, hiss, until you find the voice.
What’s next for us: rain or fair? There are
warnings of gales in Rockall and Finisterre.
So near now, just this teak bulkhead
between us, and yet so apart, battened
hatches as another low approaches, the high
over the Azores as distant as a man is from a boy.
I think of my own boat one day, the deep.
Beside me the sea snores, turns over in its sleep.

Icarus Sees His Father Fly

Icarus Sees His Father Fly. John O'Donnell. Dedalus Press, poetry from Ireland and the world
Second collection of poems by prize-winning poet, John O’Donnell

“…assured, well-made, confident, unpretentious. All of these poems are solid and palpable, with a sure touch and images that work”
— Niall MacMonagle, Rattlebag, RTÉ Radio 1

“He has taken great care in crafting these short poems; images and details carefully selected and arranged, cadences shadowing the iambic base-rhythms… Perhaps Larkin’s shadow hovers over poems like these”
— James J McAuley, The Irish Times


ISBN 9781904556633 Paperback
140 x 216 mm
First published 2004, reissued 2006

On Water

On Water by John O'Donnell - Dedalus Press, poetry from Ireland and the world

In On Water, John O’Donnell’s third collection, the award-winning writer explores universal themes: exile, exploitation, love and death. Alive to the present and the past, the poems focus on the intimate, particular detail: a mother’s panic at the beach; the stench of an industrial school; a slave-trader’s one good eye. Weaving personal and familial stories alongside history and myth, this is a thoughtful, accomplished and moving collection.

“There is a pleasingly intense edge to this poetry, deriving from his preoccupation that nothing occurs in isolation, but is always related to something beyond itself … he challenges the reader to follow the trajectory between the ordinary and the other.The tone is often moral and high- minded but never didactic or sanctimonious. O’Donnell’s ability to make connections with the lessons of history makes this poetry memorable.”
— Mary O’Donnell, Poetry Ireland Review


ISBN 978 1906614 92 8 Paperback
216 x 140 mm, 88 pp

May 2014

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Dedalus Press 2020 Vision

selection of books - Dedalus Press 2020 Vision

First a brief recap of the year just ended, then back to the future!

Before we consider the Dedalus Press 2020 vision, let’s take a brief look back at the year just ended.

Bogusia Wardein reading

2019: What A Year That Was

With new collections of poetry from Mary Noonan, Pat Boran, Catherine Phil MacCarthy and Patrick Deeley, Mikiro Sasaki, Enda Wyley and Ross Thompson, and our biggest project of the year, the publication of Writing Home: The ‘New Irish’ Poets, this year more than ever we feel we’ve helped redefine the meaning of the phrase ‘new writing from Ireland’.

Writing Home poets group photograph - Dedalus Press 2020 Vision

WRITING HOME feature in The Irish Times

Writing Home signatures

The Dedalus Press 2020 Vision

THE YEAR AHEAD is every bit as exciting and adventurous. With the first new books already set for publication in early February, our line up for 2020 includes new collections by Enda Coyle-Greene, Leeanne Quinn, Doireann Ní Ghriofa, Gerry Murphy and Gerard Smyth, the much-anticipated Selected Poems of Paula Meehan, the English language debut of Russian-born Polina Cosgrave (one of the contributors to Writing Home), an anthology of 100 classical Japanese poems translated into English by Nell Regan and James Hanley, and a two-volume publication from Paddy Bushe featuring a new collection in English and his selected poems in Irish, accompanied by the author’s own translations.

Patrick Deeley reading - Dedalus Press 2020 Vision

We’ve long been convinced that Ireland is ideally placed to act as a bridge between Europe and the New World, not only to promote our own writers to an international audience, but also to play a central role in the global poetry conversation. We look forward to further exploring these connections in the year (and decade!) ahead.

Enda Wyley and Ross Thompson - Dedalus Press

Become a Friend or Subscriber

BECOME A FRIEND OR SUBSCRIBER to the Dedalus Press and support us in our mission to Spread the Word.

Ranging from €100 to €300 annually, there are three basic levels of support, Paperback, Hardback and Friend, all of which see all new books (a minimum of 8 in the coming year, and where possible signed by the authors) dispatched to subscribers in the week of publication. Any additional, occasional or special publications during the year are also automatically included at no extra cost.

In recognition of their extra level of support, Friends also receive an exclusive Limited Edition publication, not otherwise for sale, comprising new work by poets associated with the press.

selection of books - Dedalus Press 2020 Vision
Mikiro Sasaki Reading

Subscriptions are for a period of one year (Subscribers can choose whether to begin with the next or the most recent Dedalus Press publications). And, in what we think should be standard practice in such matters, Subscriptions DO NOT automatically renew: instead we are more than happy to send a polite reminder to subscribers when their current subscription comes due for renewal.

For more details of the various options available, or to sign up for a Subscription for yourself, or indeed a gift Subscription for a friend or loved one, please see the full details on the Dedalus Press website here.

In any case, thank you for your interest and support during what has been one of our busiest years to date. We hope we can look forward to your continued support in the Dedalus Press 2020 vision in the year to come.

YOUTUBE VIDEO: A brief overview of the work of the Dedalus Press, featuring clips of readings by Enda Wyley, Rafael Mendes, Polina Cosgrave, John O’Donnell, Bogusia Wardein, Mikiro Sasaki, Chiamaka Enyi-Amadi, Theo Dorgan, Jessica Traynor, Evgeny Shtorn, John Kelly, Nidhi Zak and Macdara Woods.

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The Shipping Forecast

blurred harbour photo by Pat Boran - Dedalus Press, poetry from Ireland and the world

In this short essay, reproduced from The Deep Heart’s Core, poet JOHN O’DONNELL revisits his poem ‘The Shipping Forecast’, among those included in Sunlight: New and Selected Poems (May 2018).


LIKE PROSPECTORS, poets are always anxious to know if what they’ve unearthed this time is the real thing. We make our marks and see how they compare; and there are so many other marks already, from others who for centuries have been panning for gold in the same seam.

Some poems, we know, are no more than fool’s gold, their brassy yellow quickly losing its glister, though sadly not always before they’ve made their way into print; it’s often difficult at the time of writing to tell.

It was Touchstone himself who said “the truest poetry is the most feigning”, in As You Like It, and, as a clown, he should know, planted as he is by Shakespeare to call things as they are rather than as we might like them to be. He would make a useful editor, standing at our shoulders as we write; mostly shaking his head sadly, but occasionally — very occasionally — crying “Yes!”

I’ve chosen ‘The Shipping Forecast’ from my first collection Some Other Country as my touchstone poem because, although it was written nearly twenty years ago, it’s a poem that still makes me say “Yes”. It combines, in the sonnet form I love, many of the themes I’ve returned to often, the struggle to grow up, the father-son relationship, and the sea.

John F. Kennedy suggested we all have in our veins “the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears”. I’m sure there are scientists who disagree. But like a lot of what Kennedy said, it feels right, as I hope this poem does; and if someone years from now sifting through my poems stop at this one, I hope they’ll agree.


The Shipping Forecast

for my father

Tied up at the pier in darkened harbour
the two of us below, in cabin’s amber
light; me surly in a sleeping-bag, fifteen,
and you, past midnight, calmly tuning in
to the Shipping Forecast, Long Wave’s
crackle, hiss, until you find the voice.
What’s next for us: rain or fair? There are
warnings of gales in Rockall and Finisterre.
So near now, just this teak bulkhead
between us, and yet so apart, battened
hatches as another low approaches, the high
over Azores as distant as a man is from a boy.
I think of my own boat one day, the deep.
Beside me the sea snores, turns over in its sleep.

 


Photo © Pat Boran

Wingspan: A Dedalus Sampler

Wingspan: A Dedalus Sampler. Pat Boran (ed.). Dedalus Press, poetry from Ireland and the world
The first showcase anthology produced under the editorship of Pat Boran, featuring a selection of Irish and international poets published by the Dedalus Press.

To celebrate its 21st year in publishing (2006), Pat Boran introduces Wingspan: A Dedalus Sampler, featuring recent and new work from 28 Irish and international poets on the Dedalus list whose range and diversity has come to be a hallmark of one of Ireland’s longest-running and best-known literary imprints.

The featured poets are: Chris Agee, Fergus Allen, Leland Bardwell, Pat Boran, Eva Bourke, Paddy Bushe, Padraig J Daly, Patrick Deeley, Gerard Fanning, Ann Joyce, Thomas Kinsella, Fred Marchant, James J McAuley, Gerry Murphy, Iggy McGovern, Michael O’Dea, Knut Odegard, John O’Donnell, Mary O’Donoghue, Desmond O’Grady, Amir Or, Paul Perry, Gabriel Rosenstock, Gerard Smyth, Dolores Stewart, Macdara Woods and Enda Wyley.

“The books from Dedalus now look superb, as befits the printing of serious verse… There is much in the Sampler: a brilliant moment of Wordworthian revelation in James McAuley (‘The Hill Walkers’); a keen immediacy in Pat Boran (‘Still Life’); the ascetic gentleness of Paddy Bushe; and much more… As they say in the ads: buy this book.”
— Robert Welch, Verbal


ISBN 1 904556 42 6 paperback
200 pp, 140 x 216 mm

Shine On

Shine On. Edited by Pat Boran. Dedalus Press, poetry from Ireland and the world

Shine On is a major anthology of prose and poetry in support of those affected by mental ill health. Edited and introduced by Pat Boran, and with a Foreword by Miriam O’Callaghan, this wide-ranging volume is a fascinating overview of Irish writing now, as well as a heartfelt and generous response to the challenges faced by so many members of our society, not least in the present dark and difficult times.

“A monumental and enlightening collection of writers coming together for a worthy cause” — Books Ireland

CONTRIBUTORS

Alex Barclay * Leland Bardwell * Kevin Barry * Sara Berkeley * Dermot Bolger * Pat Boran * Colm Breathnach * Paddy Bushe * Philip Casey * Harry Clifton *  Michael Coady * Evelyn Conlon * Susan Connolly * Enda Coyle-Green * Tony Curtis * Pádraig J Daly * Philip Davison * Gerald Dawe * John F Deane * Patrick Deeley * Greg Delanty * Theo Dorgan * Paul Durcan * Christine Dwyer Hickey * Peter Fallon * Gerard Fanning * Gabriel Fitzmaurice * Miriam Gamble * Anthony Glavin * Eamon Grennan * Vona Groarke * Kerry Hardie * James Harpur * Jack Harte * Dermot Healy * Michael D Higgins * Rita Ann Higgins * Fred Johnston * Claire Keegan * Brendan Kennelly * Thomas Kinsella * Anatoly Kudryavitsky * Jessie Lendennie * Jinx Lennon * Dave Lordan * Aifric MacAodha * Catherine Phil MacCarthy * John MacKenna * Tom Mathews * Joan McBreen * Colum McCann * Molly McCloskey * Mike McCormack * Hugh McFadden * Iggy McGovern *  Máighread Médbh * Paula Meehan * Lia Mills * Judith Mok * John Montague * Sinéad Morrissey * Gerry Murphy * Nuala Ní Chonchúir * Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin * Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill * Jean O’Brien * Joseph O’Connor * Mary O’Donoghue * John O’Donnell * Mary O’Donnell * Dennis O’Driscoll * Michael O’Loughlin * Nessa O’Mahony * Mary O’Malley * Liam Ó Muirthile * Micheal O’Siadhail * Leanne O’Sullivan * Maeve O’Sullivan * Paul Perry * Billy Ramsell * Maurice Riordan * Mark Roper * Gabriel Rosenstock * Peter Sheridan * Gerard Smyth * Peter Sirr * Richard Tillinghast * Colm Tóibín * Eamonn Wall * Grace Wells * David Wheatley * Macdara Woods * Vincent Woods * Enda Wyley


ISBN 978 1 906614 46 1 Paperback
€12.99

ISBN 978 1 906614 47 8 Hardback
€21.50

140 x 21 mm, 304 pp
October 2011