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My Country is the Whole World / Felicia McCarthy

My Country is the Whole World

By: Felicia McCarthy

€12.00
‘Felicia McCarthy’s poems are rooted in the living world and are both luminous and sensuous – she enlightens us of the human condition, affirming us always as to what it is to be alive with wisdom and compassion.’             Menna Elfyn, Award-winning Welsh poet‘These are the best sort of poems, written with a steely and yet gracious authority. Felicia McCarthy has a rare, ric...
ISBN 978-1-915022-48-6
Pub Date Friday, November 17, 2023
Cover Image ‘She calls to the Soul Seeds’ by Denise Kester
Page Count 90
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‘Felicia McCarthy’s poems are rooted in the living world and are both luminous and sensuous – she enlightens us of the human condition, affirming us always as to what it is to be alive with wisdom and compassion.’   

          Menna Elfyn, Award-winning Welsh poet


‘These are the best sort of poems, written with a steely and yet gracious authority. Felicia McCarthy has a rare, rich voice, brimming with life, experience and empathy. The one word, the only word to describe her writing is strong. And this strong collection arrives right on time, it being the strong medicine the world needs.’     

          Grace Wells, Irish poet  


‘Felicia McCarthy’s My Country is the Whole World exposes the key difference between knowledge and wisdom. This long-awaited collection pays attention to anglophone poetic tradition, but adds to the discussion, rather than merely assimilating. McCarthy is a poet who possesses a keen turn of phrase, a poet’s eye and the empathy that we as humans should aspire to possess.’   

          Liz Quirke Ph.D, Award-winning poet & educator


‘In poems that are either lusciously lyrical or powerfully narrative, McCarthy embraces a world where “The mind drifts away, as it must,/finds something that is beautiful/... keep us tethered to earth.” She tethers us both to ancestors – a gypsy shaman, her grandmother, and mother – as well as to mythical figures like Persephone, Picasso’s women, Charon’s wife, and Medea.’

          Carolyn Martin Ph.D, Poet & editor of KOSMOS - Journal of Global Transformation, USA


‘In language both sensual and stark, Felicia McCarthy’s poems explore possibilities of re-invention for individuals, species, landscapes. Her work combines the classic American belief in second acts with a woman’s intuitive understanding of the pain and courage involved in birth, and in rebirth. McCarthy’s voice is flecked with humour, grounded by experience, compelling in its warmth and honesty. Her poems are good company in challenging times.’

          Susan Millar DuMars, Author, Ireland & USA


‘Drawing on the multiple layered inspirations of history and ancestral memory, the patient strength of the female, and motherhood in its various guises, including Mother Nature herself, this is poetry of elegance and substance. In short, this is a hugely varied and impressive collection.’                                                        

          Denise O’Hagan, Poet & publisher, Australia


‘I can't express enough how powerful this book is. As we see-saw between the personal and historical, between America and Ireland, between patriarchy's stranglehold and matriarchy's promise, I feel a surge of hope that women can inhabit their lives to their fullest potential without retribution of dismissiveness, including their own.’

          Sandra Yannone, Poet, USA

Felicia McCarthy

Felicia McCarthy is a poet, writer, scholar and educator. She is a member of Irish PENN. She holds an Honors BA and MA in English Language and Literature from Trinity College, Dublin. She has a second MA in Women’s Studies from UCD with a thesis on the poetry of Eavan Boland. She is a creative writing facilitator in both Fingal County Council and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County library systems. She lives in Dublin.

Poet Mother

for Liz 


Don’t let the baby swallow your words, 

the ones that arrive in the night

as you swaddle her, singing. 

Repeat into her tiny ears the rhymes

you will write in the morning.


She won’t mind what it is, as long

as you sing softly and rock her gently

in the rhythm of your next poem. 

This will keep the words from 

stifling you, from choking her.


She loves all your creations.

The lines you remember at dawn

will become the maps she will take

away from these sweet days 

and nights in your arms.

_____________________________________________________


Full Circle


I am from corn, hot Iowa miles of it, and the smell of ether

seeping from a leather bag on top of the fridge. I am from

pony men and card sharks, drunks, and steam engine train drivers.

I am from blue pencil marks on galley proofs, typed on an upright

Royal. I am from screen doors slapping against armies of Canadian

soldiers. I am from the dog days of August, the ice storms

of winter, and the frozen mud-trenched roads of spring.


I am from a lake that died and a river that burned, from the Erie

the Cuyahoga, and a town called Ashtabula. I am from ore boats

on the horizon with the foghorn sounding a warning across the lake

on a still autumn night. I am from the Bascule bridge, the brick yards,

the rail yards, and a back yard that held a Great Lake. I am from

a ham-fisted man with a fedora and a black skirted priest; both 

with whiskey breath and an enviable reach.


I am from among her effects: The loose powder box of pasteboard

stuffed with old letters. My dearest Girl, I read, and Dear Grand Girl.


I am from tenant farmers on Mayo’s Foot of the Reek 

to McCarthy’s farm on Allegheny’s Black Creek, finally

returned from the forced migration known as an Gorta Mór. *


* The Great Hunger

_____________________________________________________


The L Word


Love is a thing of twoness.  

– D.H. Lawrence


The rock and the roll of it

the neck-arcing ache of it

the soft honeyed silence

at the beginning and end of it

the sweet tender risk of it

the quiet quickening of it

the sound of your heart

beating in sync with mine.


The dear sweat and wet of it

the swelling tide smell of it

the heat at the height of it

the depth and the breadth

of the give and the take

we sleep and vow to keep 

passion and love alive, beshert.

We have both world enough, and time.*


* Andrew Marvel, to his coy mistress.


The above poems are
Copyright © Felicia McCarthy, 2023

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