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Revenant

Clare McCotter

ISBN: 978-1-912561-65-0

Page Count:

Publication Date: Sunday, September 01, 2019

Cover Artwork: Christophe Bonnière – ‘Canada Goose, The moment of being airborne’


About this Book

Revenant is Clare McCotter’s second book of poems. Written within arm’s reach of a cemetery wall, the collection inhabits a hinterland where bones, real and metaphorical, slip their graves. In these physical and metaphysical landscapes there is no quest for closure. Wounds and graves stay open – resolution is out of the question.  Navigating sound waves and cartographies of wind the dead come and they go, their bone constellations glimmering in the townlands of County Derry, the bogs of County Meath, the sands of Shelling Hill Beach and the Atacama Desert. Although clearly preoccupied with the un-historied lives of women buried in that local cemetery, the collection is not rooted in a specific place. It meanders through a range of dark geographies, connecting sad, settled, unruly, elusive, and desperately fragmented bones.  In these liminal spaces revenants mingle without hierarchy or division: the wakeful bones of Elizabeth Siddal and Pablo Neruda are exhumed with those of a woman buried without obsequies in County Derry during the 1960s. The young bones of Gaza City move within earshot of those from Dachau and Bergen-Belsen. Housed in a silver reliquary, the bones in Mary Magdalene’s foot long for the dark mineral ground while an old groom dreams that Shergar’s remains will be brought home so that he can make them lovely for the earth.  The bones of people from Antrim, Armagh and Tyrone who were disappeared during The Troubles speak with those who vanished under the Pinochet dictatorship, and were found years later out there where they have measured the age of the oldest star and spread a thousand red carnations across the desert’s frozen floor. 


Interior Images:  Section I –  Christophe Bonnière: ‘Canada Geese, Break of dawn joy flight’ Section II – Susan Merrell: ‘McAllister Street Pigeon’ © Susan Merrell, 1998 Section III – Stieglitz, Alfred (1864-1946): Georgia O’Keeffe-Hands and Horse Skull, 1931. Gelatin silver print, 19.2 x 24 cm (7 9/16 x 9 7/16 in. ). Gift of Georgia O’Keeffe, through the generosity of The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation and Jennifer and Joseph Duke, 1997 (1997.61.37). New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art. © 2019. Image copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Art Resource/Scala, Florence, Italy. Cover Design & Typesetting: Siobhán Hutson


Author Biography

Clare McCotter’s haiku, tanka and haibun have been published in many parts of the world.  She won The British Haiku Award 2017, The British Tanka Award 2013 and The HIS Dóchas Ireland Haiku Award 2011 and 2010.  Her work has been included in the prestigious Norton anthology – Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years.  Her longer poems have appeared in over thirty journals including Abridged, Crannóg, Cyphers, Envoi, The Honest Ulsterman, Iota, The Interpreter’s House and The Stinging Fly. Awarded a Ph.D from the University of Ulster, she has also published numerous peer-reviewed articles on Belfast-born Beatrice Grimshaw’s travel writing and fiction.  Clare was one of three writers featured in Measuring New Writers 1 (Dedalus Press).  Black Horse Running, her first collection of haiku, tanka and haibun, was published in 2012 (Alba Publishing). Revenant is her first collection of longer poems.  She has worked as a lecturer, a teacher of English, a psychiatric nurse and a full-time carer.  Home is Kilrea, County Derry.

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