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Lovely Legs
March 2009

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Fish On A Bicycle: New & Selected Poems
November 2016

Stars Burn Regardless

Jean O'Brien

ISBN: 978-1-915022-05-9

Page Count: 80

Publication Date: Thursday, February 24, 2022

About this Book

In Stars Burn Regardless,  Jean O’Brien writes as a seer, with a vision that travels beneath and through the worlds she inhabits. With stunning language and original voice, she travels the edges of things: the earth/sea/sky—the bones/bodies/ash. These relentless poems, sometimes liquid, sometimes standing straight up on hard ground, shift into the unfathomable and unspeakable as they name the murders of up to eight hundred children’s bodies at the Mother & Babies home in Tuam: Ragged bundles of stick bones tiny as dolls and skulls/the size of tennis balls…O’Brien is a writer who writes the threshold, and then opens the door to shifting transformations of the body and its place on the planet, never backing down from the fevers and the ecstasies. 

Jan Beatty  The Body Wars, University of Pittsburgh Press

These poems rise to their occasion, they are tough, tender, generous, passionate and deeply engaged — I cannot recommend Stars Burn Regardless highly enough.
Mark Roper Poet and Librettist

Author Biography

Jean O’Brien was born and lives in Dublin. She has five previous collection: The Shadow Keeper (1997), Dangerous Dresses (2005), Lovely Legs (2009) and Merman (2012) and her New & Selected Fish on a Bicycle (2016 & 2018). She has won awards such as The Arvon International and the Fish International and been placed in many others including The Forward Prize (Single Poem). She was Writer in Residence for County Laois and was awarded a Patrick & Catherine Kavanagh Fellowship. In 2021, she was Poet in Residence at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris. She teaches creative writing/poetry in venues such as the Irish Writers’ Centre, and for County Councils, schools and prisons, she also tutors at postgraduate level. She holds an M. Phil in creative writing/poetry from Trinity College, Dublin. Her work is regularly broadcast and published in anthologies, reviews and online. 

Read a sample from this book

Hotter Stars Burn Blue
(from a line by Rebecca Elson Astronomer/poet)

Whether you know it or not,
we are all eating stars
one way or another.

every morning as we lift
the bedroom blind and let the light in
we banish the dark.

Stars are born and die, like us they burn out.
Supernova shards get stuck in our gut,
we constantly eat their dust

they light us from within, reddening as we age
Death is the only cure for life,
darkness to light and darkness again;

then we cluster in galaxies, we will
never reach in our lifetimes.
Infinity is just a long, long, long line forever 
lusting after shine.

Copyright © Jean O’Brien 2022

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