In this début collection, Mary Madec tests the power and resilience of language to explore the intractable intimacies of our connection with the world, from first memories and love to brave and incisive portraits of real and imagined lives. Mary Madec finds an idiom for a complex inner world which resonates truths we all know. There is an underlying compassion and humour in this book which takes us to new places in ourselves and an intelligence and clarity which helps us to see exactly where in fact we are.
In April 2008, Mary Madec was the recipient of the Hennessy XO Award for Emerging Poetry for her long poem 'In Other Words' which appears in this collection. The presenting judge, Douglas Kennedy, wrote: 'Mary's poem dazzled me immediately with its chutzpah and its linguistic fireworks, its intellectual brio. It's a poem about identity that is densely argued and unrepentantly smart.'
received her M.A. in Old English poetry from NUI, Galway and her doctorate in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently Director of the Villanova Study Abroad Program at NUI, Galway. She won the Hennessy XO Prize for Emerging Poetry in 2008. Her first collection, In Other Words
, was published by Salmon Poetry in 2010 followed by Demeter Does Not Remember
in 2014. She also edited Jessica Casey & Other Stories
from Salmon Poetry, 2011, showcasing work from people with intellectual disabilities following a multi-award winning project funded by an Arts Participation Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland. Recently she has worked with immigrant writers. She is also a member of a collective of poets who, through poetry readings, reach to women who have had breast cancer and a co-author of their book Bosom Pals
published by Doire Press in 2017.
She knows someone is parsing her body,
trying to decipher the rules by which she is put together.
She knows someone is observing her principles
of engagement as subject,
working up a theory of how
or if the head or heart rules.
She feels someone's gaze, as the morphology of her limbs,
her face is searched for some logic of expression,
even the size of her thumbs, the shape of her fingernails
her teeth set into a formula
of who she might be
as she inflects her voice.
She knows someone is secretly wondering
how she is conjugated by tense and mood
assessing the aptness of her adverbs,
her adjectives on nouns.
And she, author, oracle
desires to be the shaper of her own truth,
Poet not muse.
Copyright © Mary Madec 2010
Review: After the Revolution by Kevin Higgins, The Galway Advertiser, August 05, 2010.
Mary Madec has been a regular participant in the poetry workshops I
facilitate at Galway Arts Centre. So, I am biased in the sense that I
was present at the birth of many of the poems in her debut collection, In Other Words.
In the title poem she takes a beautifully witty swipe at â€œthe wise
fellas/up at the university. In 'Pope Has Breast Cancer' she looks
forward to a time when we might have a Pope called Christina.
In 'When They Told Me About My Brother' she remembers the day she was
told that her twin brother was autistic and how she 'ran like the Ugly
Duckling to a silent lake seeking cover'. I have long believed that Mary
Madec is one of the best new poets we have.