Erin Halliday

The Volary

ISBN: 9781851322138

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That the sixth book of Homer’s Odyssey offers an Irish poet the lens to explore the inner psyche and embodiments of a young woman of the twenty-first century will not surprise Erin Halliday’s growing readership. If ever an argument for the endurance of the classical writers and the relevance of the ancient myths were needed, this marvellous new work makes it. The collection is not an upcycling however; it is a deep interrogation of received interpretations and a veritable remaking of the old stories. Erudition and passion are its hallmarks and if there are wings, and wingéd creatures, and transports of delight everywhere in these poems, they offer more than flights of fancy. They are grounded in the body’s earthbound mortal suffering. Deeply informed by Erin Halliday’s doctoral research in classical modes of literary expression and her experience as a gardener, these poems shine with integrity and invention.

– Paula Meehan

Like Keats, Erin Halliday launches herself into a poetic career in which a concept of poetry is not first and foremost a manner of writing but a manner of reading, of transforming what one had read into a way of life. Steeped in classical myth and Anglo-saxon lore, using words as esoteric as gynandromorphic or glossarist, she twists Latin and Greek sources under a Hellenistic ’lens shift on the coppery gods’ of Belfast and Down.

– Medbh McGuckian