Geraldine Mitchell

World Without Maps


9781851320431 paperback

9781851321988 hardback

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The threat of eruption is never far below the deceptively smooth surface of Geraldine Mitchell’s work. Like the phantom fish that swims ‘in blind elliptic orbit’ the poems can, at any moment, break water and ‘take a bite’. Mitchell’s debut, World Without Maps, builds on the poems which won the Patrick Kavanagh Award in 2008 and reflects a contemporary reality stripped of certainties where the very notion of home becomes elusive and we must grow accustomed to living ‘half in one place/half the other’ (‘Toll’).

‘Geraldine Mitchell writes with such sophistication and élan that it is difficult to think that this is a first collection. Her special gift is a description of the illusory veils of Maya that all our lives are made of again and again. This added to an extraordinary gift for image and metaphor which makes a weekend plane trip abroad ‘the well-worn arc of a patinated shuttle/plying back and forth to weave our lives/together. Darning holes’ (‘Flight Patterns’). Geraldine Mitchell is a very careful observer and listener. She always was: ‘But my eyes saw, my ears heard,/my nose picked up/the layered scent of adult talk’ (‘The Invisible Girl’). This manuscript is a distillation of all those years of picking up layered scents. It is a real find and a thoughtful read. It brims with possibilities’ − Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill

‘These are the poems of a considered and considering intelligence, surefooted, meditative and clear. One is in the presence of a clear-eyed sensibility that considers, but does not judge, human fallibility […] The language of these poems is succinct, the imagery crisp and the poet has the confidence to allow the images and rhythms to work their chemistry upon us without too much commentary. In the best of these poems we are left with an image which resonates and opens out into mystery – something which is at the core of the poetic’ − Moya Cannon and Theo Dorgan, Judges’ Report, The Patrick Kavanagh Award, 2008.