Memory, as we know, is unreliable. But certain things we know to be true can be recovered from the past. Events of human tragedy and enormous dimension still await our attention, to be written about in poetry. Eavan Boland recognised this, especially in that iconic and historically resonating poem “Quarantine”, in which a man and a woman, the latter suffering from famine fever, walk by night, only to be found dead the following morning, her feet “held against his breastbone”. Boland, importantly, refers to “the toxins of a whole history” in this poem.
It is these toxins which are of interest to Annemarie Ní Churreáin in her distinctive debut collection, Bloodroot, a collection in which the idea of roots bathed in many kinds of “blood” is richly explored.