"with Sean O Riordain one is aware of being at a frontier both of language and sensibility. The interaction of these has produced poems at times elusive and obscure but his extension of both language and sensibility marks one of the finer achievements in Irish writing over the past thirty years"- Eoghan O hAnluain--Eoghan hAnluain
Sean O Riordain (1916-1977) was born in County Cork and lived his life entirely in Ireland. He completed four poetry volumes, the last - Tar Eis Mo Bhais - published posthumously. He also wrote powerful opinion pieces for The Irish Times during his later years. Editor Frank Sewell is a poet, translator, critic, and academic. He is course director of English at the University of Ulster (Coleraine), where he teaches Irish literature and creative writing. His translations include the poems of Cathal O Searcaigh and Gearoid Mac Lochlainn. He lives in County Derry, Ireland.
In the mid-twentieth century, a new generation of poets writing in Irish emerged, led by the young Sean O Riordain, among others. O Riordain's work has stood the test of time well, and he continues to engage today's Irish readers and writers. This well-rounded selection of poems brings most of O Riordain's works to English-language readers for the first time. The poems appear in their original Irish alongside English translations by some of Ireland's leading poets. Also included for the first time in English is O Riordain's essay What Is Poetry?, considered an extraordinary touchstone of critical insight for poets and literary commentators. The volume reflects O Riordain's seven main concerns: poetry and its place in the artist's life; the plural self; the relationship between the individual and society; gender relations; the nature of animals; Ireland, its language and culture; and mortality.