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Moving into the Space Cleared by Our Mothers
November -0001


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Life Holds Its Breath
February 2022


To Air the Soul, Throw All the Windows Wide: New & Selected Poems

Mary Dorcey

ISBN: 978-1-910669-53-2

Page Count: 164

Publication Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cover Artwork: “Tania” by Conor Horgan – www.conorhorgan.com


About this Book

To air the soul; throw all the windows wide. Then, / silence laid, and white page, words in vigil, sit and / let the ghosts come in...


‘Nearly every poem records an important human fact that has hitherto gone unspoken; nearly every poem both marks a past silence and opens a new possibility. This is a truly profound book, a remarkable and valuable achievement.’  Thus Victor Luftig of Yale University greeted Mary Dorcey’s Moving into the Space Cleared by Our Mothers. From 1982, her poetry announced itself as revolutionary in subject matter and tone. It was and is groundbreaking. It shattered the silence of centuries in Ireland on the suppressed reality of women’s lives and most remarkably on romantic/ erotic love between women. Since then her poetry has travelled around the world and has been taught and researched from the USA to Finland, from Italy to Australia. Many of these poems have become classics, taught in both the Irish and British school curricula. Sensual, elegant, passionate, tender, challenging, politically engaged, Dorcey’s poetry reaches out to us in a voice that is both intimate and challenging.

‘Her poetry commands an unsparing and musical perspective on love between women but also on the question of authority; on woman’s identity within a society and how it shadows and inflects the very idea of poetry.’           Eavan Boland

‘Clear eyed and heart-breaking...’  Nuala Ní Dhomnaill


Author Biography

Mary Dorcey is a critically acclaimed Irish poet, short story writer and novelist. She won the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature in 1990 for her short story collection A Noise from the Woodshed. Her poetry and fiction is researched and taught internationally at universities throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. The subject of countless academic critiques and theses, it has been anthologised in more than one hundred collections. She is a member of Aosdána, the Irish Academy of Writers and Artists and is a Research Associate at Trinity College where for many years she led seminars at the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies. The first Irish woman in history to advocate for LGBT rights, she is a lifelong activist for gay and women’s rights. Founder member of ‘Irish Women United,’ ‘The Sexual Liberation Movement,’ and ‘Women for Radical Change.’ Her poetry is taught in schools at O-Level in Britain and on the Irish Junior Certificate. She has lived in England, the USA, France, Japan, Italy and Spain. She has published eight previous books: Kindling (Onlywomen Press, 1982); A Noise from the Woodshed (Onlywomen Press, 1987); Moving into the Space Cleared by our Mothers (Salmon Poetry, 1991); Scarlet O’Hara (Onlywomen Press, 1993); The River that Carries me (Salmon Poetry, 1995); Biography of Desire (Poolbeg, 1997); Like Joy in Season, like Sorrow (Salmon Poetry, 2001); and Perhaps the Heart is Constant after All (Salmon Poetry, 2012). She is currently completing a collection of novellas: The Good Father. She lives in Wicklow, Ireland.

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