Publication day: 18th of Feb 2022
36 pages 9781913211738
In this raw and moving debut chapbook, Maeve McKenna dives into the multitudes of womanhood: a mother, unmothered; a lover, alone; a child, now aged. She flings the cover off pain that would otherwise remain hidden and unspoken, exposing the most intimate parts of herself. In doing so, she invites the reader to embrace their own vulnerabilities, calling, "Let's assemble our bodies, limb to limb against/the walls of unoccupied margins, hope pointed/like the scope of a firing squad...I am writing it for you. For me."
In unison, I watch us leave as we enter the communion,
your toe-tongue mastery of crumpling a hot, ironed
sheet, my handy work undone, and I, grateful for it. This time,
you plump the pillow exactly at the right angle. My head, flailing
for years, now the stunned stillness of a shop-window mannequin.
What followed I can’t name, but do recall the dogs hackled back
for most of that night. When morning cajoled across our bare shoulders,
I was, well, relieved to find you arriving, all contrite and sweating,
unlike before, when your guilty descent concocted another ascension,
hands imitating Christ, you risen that we may never sin this low alone,
or, with the folly of faithless youth, tip our lapping lips to a waiting mouth,
its sour breath a forgiving hymn we have hummed to incessantly.
“Prepare to be undone. Maeve McKenna’s debut pamphlet ‘A Dedication to Drowning’ will leave you gasping for breath, head and heart battered and bruised by its ferocious, unflinching energy. Here is a poet who does not shy away from the hard edges of life where each day is birth and a burial. From the first line Your son is trying to kill you, the reader is drawn into a Pan’s Labyrinth of strange and wondrous scenarios and images. Here is the poet-sister of Eleanor Hooker and Dorothy Molloy, courageous and wild, unafraid to follow where the words take her. I am writing it for you. For me."
Anne Tannam, author of ‘Twenty-six Letters of a New Alphabet’.
“Just as material under stress distorts (experiences strain) to counterbalance the applied force, Maeve McKenna’s words contort with tension keeping the reader on edge, the possibility that everything might snap and spring back upon us. But the poems are finely wrought, and the tension contained, leaving us invigorated in the wake of their nervous energy – their honesty and vitality wounds and heals by turns. A must-read debut.”
Gerard Beirne, Author of ‘Games of Chance: A Gambler’s Manual’ (poetry).
About Maeve McKenna:
Maeve McKenna lives in rural Sligo, Ireland. In 2018, her work was shortlisted for the Red Line and highly commended in the iYeats International Poetry Competitions.
In 2019, she was highly commended in the Frances Ledwidge and longlisted in the Over The Edge Poetry competitions. She was joint runner-up in the Trim Poetry Competition and the Hanna Greally Poetry Competition, 2020.
Her work has been published in Mslexia, Orbis, Sand, The Galway Review, Marble Poetry, Channel Magazine, Fly on the Wall, The Haibun Journal, Bloody Amazing Anthology, Culture Matters A Working Class Anthology Of Prose Writing. Her poems have appeared online in Atrium, The Ofi Press, The Bangor Literary Journal, The Honest Ulsterman, HeadStuff, Dodging The Rain and many others.
Maeve was a recipient of two Arts Council of Ireland Awards 2020/2021, a finalist in the Eavan Boland Mentorship Award, 2021 and a recipient of a John Hewitt Summer School bursary, 2021. She was part of a poetry collaboration with three poets which won the Dreich Alliance Competition.
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