Page Count: 146
Publication Date: Thursday, November 09, 2017
Cover Artwork: In the Rain (1999), oil on canvas, 60 x60 cm, signed, Pearson. Reproduced by kind permission of the artist Peter Pearson RHA. Photograph courtesy of James Adam & Sons, Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers.
About this Book
‘Is there a poet writing in Ireland who feels so profoundly and knows more surely love's obsessions, its piercing chronicles, its succour and sorrows than Anne Fitzgerald? The poems in Vacant Possession char the page, leaving their imprint, imperishable, unique.’
‘Raw, poignant, wrenching, and deeply courageous, this beautiful collection of poetry took my breath away. Each poem is a gift, wrapped in luminous, lyrical verse. Standing firmly in her own truth, Fitzgerald takes us on a tour de force of the human condition, the search for self, and Ireland’s shameful treatment of the unmarried mother and her child. As an adoptee, I wept many times as I read this stunning collection, but it is the universality of these devastating poems that grants them their power. Fearless, Fitzgerald takes us on a journey of love, loss, death, abandonment and grief. Despite the inherent pain in these poems, she never surrenders to self-pity. With near-invisible artistry, Fitzgerald weaves agonizing loss into redemptive power and ensures that love breathes on every page.’
Anne Fitzgerald was raised in Sandycove, County Dublin. She is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and Queen’s University, Belfast. Her poetry collections are Swimming Lessons (Wales, Stonebridge, 2001), The Map of Everything (Dublin, Forty Foot, 2006) and Beyond the Sea (Co. Clare, Salmon Poetry, 2012).
In 2006 Anne founded Forty Foot Press, in addition to two School Publishing Houses, Monkstown Educate Together Press (MET Press, 2003) and Loreto Abbey Dalkey Press (LAD Press, 2004). She is a recipient of the Ireland Fund of Monaco Writer-in-Residence bursary at The Princess Grace Irish Library, Monaco. She teaches Creative Writing in Ireland and North America. Anne lives in Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin.
Read a sample from this book
From afar it comes like the smell of rain
in off the sea, with an urgency of waves
breaking, you weaken at the thought
of it happening again, as naturally as heat
making its presence felt on the globe
of your palms, you spread your fingers
wide as water between two bodies
of land, trace boundaries, sea stacks ‘n’ coves
on the bend of where paradise might
be. Your judgement clouds like a compass
that’s let moisture in, devoid of magnetic
field you falter, give way to the rhythm
of waves as though sirens in pursuit of kelp
and driftwood like lovers on a beach.
Finding Myself in Werburgh Street
In the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough
up along Dame Street, past the Olympia
and Dublin Castle, in earshot of Christchurch
bells, Werburgh Street Church stands above
Lord Edward Fitzgerald’s vault, atop of
Swift’s baptismal font, not a stone’s throw
from where birth and death records lie,
like coordinates to be plotted, half-truths
waiting to be lies on deValera
and McQuaid’s map of cardinal truths.
I take down oversized red bound birth
books for 1965 in the records room,
turn pages heavy with births from Skull,
Mizen and Hook Heads to Sheep’s Hollow
beyond boarder crossings, flyover latitudes,
boreen longitudes and oyster beds where sand
and grit form pearls under blatherwrack,
an irritant stuck inside the oyster’s body
swaying to salt making free with buoyancy
around the Ring of Kerry and Cliffs of Moher
as I run my finger across districts and parishes:
Annagor, Belmullet, Cahir, and Drumcondra
the Swine of Pigs, in the diocese of Clonturk
where real fiction lives. Though not the Book
of Kells, it illuminates a pentimento of fibs,
stretching back to the foundations of belief.
Not five minutes shy of two hours I lean into
a past of myself, as unrecognisable as a wild
pearl, iridescent and luminous as the shell itself
or my fingerprint smudged. Reading my birth
name given is like a foreign language forged
in copperplate, a kind of twisted mother-tongue
as if finding the needle, without eye or haystack,
purposefully sent to hit a dead end by the grace
and blessings of the Archbishop’s handmaidens.
Without Theseus thread of Adriane, nurse Gallagher
cuts the chord, registers me by her own hand,
every slope and ink incline a natural fabrication
of this twenty-six year old’s maiden name, who
didn’t comfort me as my first tooth breaks through,
hold me at night as my breath is given over to
coughing for the loss of you, or watch me not fall
down as one foot follows the other in a gait you’d
half recognise disappearing into a crowd years later.
Instead you commend me into the geometry of a life
you’d not foresee. All the while, wondering from a distance.
Go to Shaws for white sheets,
Egyptian cotton, a high thread
count mind, to lay me out.
Use candles in that bottom
drawer, John XX111 thrice
blessed, making a bishop
of Tom Ryan back in ’63.
Light them so I will find
my way through d’eye
of the needle, ease tight
squeeze, deaden clamouring
at the gates. Let me pass
without incident for what
I have left unresolved.
Poems © Copyright Anne Fitzgerald 2017