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Life Holds Its Breath
February 2022


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To Air the Soul, Throw All the Windows Wide: New & Selected Poems
November 2016


Moving into the Space Cleared by Our Mothers

Mary Dorcey

ISBN: 1 903392 25 1

Page Count: 102

Publication Date: Wednesday, November 30, -0001

Cover Artwork: Reiltin Murphy


About this Book

"A new book by Mary Dorcey is an event first to be celebrated, then to be reckoned with, for we can count on it to effect dramatic changes to our understanding of the way language is to be used and applied. These poems are the work of a canny and dextrous stylist. Readers of Mary Dorcey's fabulous short stories will here find many of the same rewards and challenges, but achieved through a language that is at once more lucid and more exacting: at any moment an unsuspected idiom (the book's title phrase, for instance) can spring arrestingly, and demand close attention and a response. Nearly every poem records an important human fact that has hitherto gone unspoken; nearly every poem both marks a past silence and opens a new possibility. This is a truly profound book, a remarkable and valuable achievement."

Victor Luftig, Yale University


"In her three important collections, Mary Dorcey commands an unsparing and musical perspective on the love between women, but also on the question of authority and inheritance, and therefore on the woman's identity within a society and how it shadows and inflects the very idea of poetry."

Eavan Boland


"It is her style that ravishes. She writes in English but her language has the starkness and sensuality of her great compatriots who wrote in Irish. Her meandering repetitions give a liturgical flavour to her love poems (and most of these poems, even when about loss, are love poems) that is appropriate to Dorcey's pagan sense of the sacramentality of sex."

Patricia Monaghan, Booklist


"One of Ireland's most accomplished short story writers, Dorcey has produced work, which is one of the few examples of gay love explored in Irish poetry."

Waterstone's Guide to Irish Books


Author Biography

The award winning poet, short story writer and novelist, Mary Dorcey was born in County Dublin, Ireland. 

In 1990 she won the Rooney Prize for Literature for her short story collection: ‘A Noise from the Woodshed.’ 

Her bestselling novel Biography of Desire (Poolbeg) was published in September of 1997 to critical acclaim and reprinted three times.

She has published four volumes of poetry: Kindling (Only Women Press, 1982), Moving into the Space Cleared by Our Mothers (Salmon Poetry, 1991), The River That Carries Me (Salmon Poetry, 1995), and Like Joy In Season, Like Sorrow (Salmon, 2001; reissued 2012). 

In 1990 she published a novella, 'Scarlet O’Hara' (1990) contained in the anthology In and Out of Time (Onlywomen Press). 

Five of her eights book have been awarded major Literature Bursaries by the Irish Arts Council, in 1990 and 1995 and 1999, 2005 and most recently, in 2008.  

Her work is now taught on Irish Studies and English Literature courses in universities in Britain, Europe, the United States and Canada. It is discussed and cited in innumerable academic studies.  Several theses have been published on her work and countless critical essays. Her poetry is taught on both the Irish Junior Certificate English course and on the British O Level English curriculum. 

Her stories and poetry have been widely anthologised since 1984 and are now included in more than one hundred collections; most notably ‘The Field Day Anthology.’ ‘The Penguin Book of Irish Fiction.’ Ed. Colm Toibin. ‘The Picador Book of Irish Short Stories.  ‘The Faber Book of Best Irish Short Stories 07.’’The Virago Book of Short Stories by Women’ ‘The Bloomsbury Book of Women’s Poetry.’ ‘The Cambridge Book of Poetry by Women.’ etc.

Her short story "A Country Dance' was dramatized for the BBC.  Her poetry has been performed on radio and television (R.T.E. and Channel 4.)  and has also been dramatized for stage productions in Ireland, Britain and Australia in In the Pink (The Raving Beauties) and Sunny Side Plucked..

For twenty years she has been a keynote speaker and given readings from her work at Art festivals and conferences throughout Ireland, Britain and Europe, Canada and the United States. She has lived in The United States, England, France, Spain and Japan. 

She is at present a Research Associate at Trinity College Dublin. She was writer in residence at Trinity College for the Centre for Gender and Women's Studies for ten years where she gives seminars in contemporary English literature and taught a creative writing course. She also taught for four years at University College Dublin.

She has recently completed a new novel ‘Fate.' She now lives in County Wicklow.

She is a member of Aosdana.

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