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The One Who Swears You Can't Start Over
April 2002

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Sky Thick With Fireflies
November 2011

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Light Rolling Slowly Backwards - New & Selected Poems
June 2021

Swimming with Shadows

Ethna McKiernan

ISBN: 978-1-912561-44-5

Page Count: 98

Publication Date: Thursday, March 28, 2019

Cover Artwork: Photography: Jessie Lendennie. Design: Siobhán Hutson

About this Book

Swimming with Shadows, Ethna McKiernan’s fourth collection of poems, returns to her earlier themes of loss—of her youngest son, of her father,  and of the pervasive losses of the homeless population with whom she works. This new collection also addresses political wounds of a bygone America—the bombings of school girls in Alabama the 1960’s and the racially charged beating of Rodney King in the 1990’s—as it presents poems that address the conflicts of today.  Interspersed are poems of love, praise and joy like “Thanks” and “Night Time on the Island,” poems rooted in the natural world,  as well as some wickedly funny poems about the craft of poetry. 

Praise for earlier work, Sky Thick With Fireflies:

This collection is twice a thing of beauty, once because of what it has to say and twice because of the way that it says it. The verses are unashamedly emotive without ever being maudlin or sentimental.  

McKiernan’s vision is of the kind described as unsparing. She casts a cold eye which of course has the paradoxical effect in art of heartening us, of strangely warming us with the chill of truth. This is a significant book and, as noted, a full one, large as many people’s ‘selected poems’. It is memorable for all the above reasons; a serious and resonant collection.
Rory Brennan, Books Ireland

Author Biography

Ethna McKiernan has been twice awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board grant in poetry.  Her first book was nominated for the Minnesota Book Award and her work has been widely anthologized, including in The Notre Dame Book of Irish American Poetry, 33 Minnesota Poets, and The White Page (Salmon Poetry). She has published two previous collections with Salmon Poetry, The One Who Swears You Can’t Start Over (2002), and Sky Thick with Fireflies (2011). For three decades she ran the renowned ‘Irish Books & Media’, Minneapolis. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson Program for Writers and works for a non-profit serving the Minneapolis homeless population. 

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