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