Poems by Nell Regan
Artwork by Monica Boyle

Bound for Home


9781851320295 paperback

9781851320394 Limited Edition

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Arlen House

“These new poems by Nell Regan arose from her sojourn and continuous visits to Fort Camden near Crosshaven. They are an extraordinary achievement, in terms of both insight and discipline. Her fantasia on tree rings, ‘Tree’, is a good example with its poetic mapping of the passage of time through an intervention, or interjection, of trees, bearing with ’the endless sniping/ of the natives – the ash, the oak, the yew’ while honouring events in history as they become layered over time. Regan has collated the incidents through poems, extracting from the bark of hundreds of documents and artefacts the blood of all who died and all who went away. The blood of generations flows through this work, until the whole beautiful battlement and officers’ mess of memory is left for us to dine upon: ‘silverware polished and linen pressed’. Through these poems the incidents of Camden life become art, the stones stand up and speak to us.”

– Thomas McCarthy

“Monica Boyle’s and Nell Regan’s commissioned project for Fort Camden mines the rich seam of history, heritage and legacy of this coastal artillery fort, the structure itself, the story of its construction and subsequent abandonment and decay and the lives of the people who lived and worked there. Artist and poet worked individually but in tandem, initially responding to each other’s work, interviewing people connected with Fort Camden together and developing a dialogue around shared interests and concerns. As the project progressed, Monica increasingly responded to the materials – rusting ironmongery, requisition and receipt books and other discarded documents as well as fragments of old card and paper – that she found by chance at Fort Camden. These she used in conjunction with archival records and materials which document the lives of the inhabitants of the fort, as well as text, photographic and photocopied material, vellum and natural objects to create a series of multi-media works. Her work sets up a resonance between disparate images and objects and creates a layering of meanings which offer multiple perspectives on themes of memory and legacy, the personal and the official, narrative and interpretation and on archive, artefact and memento. Monica’s work is presented in illuminated, glass-fronted boxes, arranged in a large grid pattern on the wall of the darkened Barrack Room, to a soundtrack of Nell’s poems read slightly sotto voce that permeates the vacant building. Periods of silence between the spoken word give time to reflect on the detail of the visual work and to contemplate the place itself, the locus of the work.”

− Ann Davoren, Director, West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen