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Stray Birds / Eanlaith Strae
October 2011

Uttering Her Name

Gabriel Rosenstock

ISBN: 978-1-907056-19-2

Page Count: 126

Publication Date: Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cover Artwork: Ron Rosenstock

About this Book

Uttering Her Name consists of spontaneous, ecstatic utterances in what the author calls a neo-bhakti style, that is to say a modern slant on those poems of intense devotion which are still read and sung in India today.

"It has a strong feel of some of the great bhakti poetry, like that of Mirabai."
Poetry Chaikhana,
Sacred Poetry from Around the World

"He employs the poetic resources of all ages and languages to describe the central dramas of the soul with beauty, humour and precision."
Gwyneth Lewis

"Gabriel Rosenstock's poetry is world poetry."
Robert Welch

"With more than one hundred books to his name, Rosenstock has set himself up as something of a Gaelic shaman, as likely to invoke Buddha or Xolotl as any chthonic Celtic deity."
David Butler, Poetry Ireland Review

"Rosenstock is so famously difficult to pin down, that one is slow to try to describe him at all. Indeed, this foxy elusiveness may be his defining feature."
Pádraig de Paor, Poetry International

Author Biography

Gabriel Rosenstock is the author/translator of over one hundred books, including thirteen volumes of poetry in Irish. A member of Aosdána (the Irish Academy of Arts and Letters), he has given readings in Europe, the US, India, Australia, Japan and has been published in various leading international journals including Akzente, Neue Rundschau, and die horen (Germany), Poetry (Chicago) and World Haiku Review. He has given readings at major festivals, including Berlin, Vilenica and Medellín. His selected poems (from the Irish) have appeared in German, English and Hungarian.

He has translated into Irish the selected poems of, among others, Francisco X. Alarcón,  Seamus Heaney, G. Grass, W M  Roggeman, Said, Zhāng Ye, Michele Ranchetti, Michael Augustin, Peter Huchel, Georg Trakl, Georg Heym, H. Schertenleib, H. Domin, J P Tammen, Munir Nazi, G. Kunert, Michael Krüger, Muhammad Iqbal and his Irish-language versions of haiku masters Issa, Buson, Shiki, Santōka, J W Hackett and others are much loved in his native country. Rosenstock is the Irish language advisor for the poetry journal THE SHOp.

His Selected Poems/ Rogha Dánta (Cló Iar-Chonnachta) appeared in 2005 and the bilingual volume Bliain an Bhandé/ Year of the Goddess came out in 2007 (Dedalus).

In 2009 he was awarded the Tamgha-I-Khidmat medal by the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Uttering Her Name is his début volume in English.

Read a sample from this book


Dar Óma
I became a goatherd for You
searching for our lost goats
where can they be?
sometimes I think I see them
they turn out to be lichen-flecked rocks
men have been singing
such desperate songs for centuries

my herding is an old art
partly forgotten

I can no longer do it alone

You must come

let's pool our skills
listen and watch
I say,
what You hear is a curlew>

 later You exclaim

You run ahead
the sun, low on the horizon,
strains to caress Your ankles
one last time -
am I chasing goats?

we rejoice
when we find the herd
we milk the white nanny together
in bonfire light
swapping teats playfully
milk in the bucket
splashes of whitish laughter


Reviewed in Books Ireland No. 316, November 2009.

Gabriel Rosenstock is an established poet and writer in Irish with an international reputation. Many of his one hundred books have been translated into German, English and Hungarian. He was elected to Aosdána and has received awards for his writing from as far afield as Pakistan. This volume is his first written in English. The poems are not the usual fare but owe much to the poems or prayers sung in intense devotion by Hindus in India. Acknowledging this, Rosenstock himself describes the poems in this collection as "neo-bhakti". They consist of spontaneous, ecstatic utterances following the exclamation of "Dar Óma", which we assume is the name of a goddess. As with much of Rosenstock's work, these poems are difficult to pin down or  define and perhaps critic Pádraig de Paor, said it best when he wrote that Rosenstock's "foxy elusiveness may be his defining feature".

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