Terry McDonagh

The Truth In Mustard

ISBN: 9780905223483

Available from


Book Depository 

In this new collection Terry McDonagh chronicles a poetic journey that begins in Cill Aodáin, County Mayo and takes us to Hamburg and beyond into a complex world of fascinating human landscapes. He appears to be at ease in Budapest, Ballyhaunis, Bali or Melbourne, but, at the same time, he is always on the lookout, taking stock and drawing attention to what we lose and gain in an unstable, multicultural world. ‘I imagine I had a wild child’s head, ready wings and feet to land anywhere’.

His poetic voice has grown and matured. His language is genuine, evocative and full of visual images that take flight from a whole range of sources. Words flow with a light touch, or hit harder tones when the situation demands, but there is an abiding respect for the fragile nature of human existence on and between every line. Terry McDonagh can look back through the hype of the Celtic Tiger to a time when young people either left Ireland or considered leaving, and now ‘I am old enough to leave a second time’. Here is a poet in tune with dislocation and the challenges of living with the contradictions and irony that daily living, adopted culture and language can throw up. However he returns to his origins again and again for confirmation and emotional shelter.

Terry McDonagh is from County Mayo and lives in the West of Ireland. He has taught English at Hamburg University and was Drama Director at The International School, Hamburg. The Truth in Mustard is his sixth poetry collection and he has also published drama, fiction, letters and a collaborative project with the artist Sally McKenna, Cill Aodáin and Nowhere Else (Blaupause-Books, Hamburg).