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Vacant Possession
November 2017

Beyond the Sea

Anne Fitzgerald

ISBN: 978-1-908836-20-5

Page Count: 74

Publication Date: Monday, September 10, 2012

Cover Artwork: Dublin Bay with Cloud Sky (2002), reproduced by kind permission of the artist, George Potter RHA. Photography by Gillian Buckley, courtesy of Taylor Galleries.

Click to play audio Beauty Spot from Beyond the Sea (Salmon, 2012) rea... play
Click to play audio The title poem from Beyond the Sea (Salmon, 2012) ... play
Click to play audio For the Love of Things from 'Beyond the Sea' (Salm... play
Click to play audio Storm Over Manhattan from 'Beyond the Sea' (Salmon... play
Click to play audio Anne Fitzgerald interviewed for Dublin's East Coas... play

About this Book

“Fitzgerald is a poet whose work I have followed with great interest for a long time and I would recommend her new volume to those who have not yet discovered her impressive work. The appropriately-named ‘Beyond the Sea’ shows her marrying her Irish-inflected language to a truly international experience of the world and its literatures. She creates her unique effects with a densely-patterned music which takes us from tight lyrics through to the edges of prose poetry. In all her experiments, however, we never lose contact with words as a source of pleasure and excitement in themselves. Anybody seriously interested in modern poetry will want to read this book.”  Ian Duhig

“Fitzgerald’s poetry races up against the present fine manners of the well made poem in Ireland. The tumble of language with grammar in Fitzgerald’s lines carefully switches referents and unfolds syntax in surprising, sometimes bewildering ways.” Thomas Dillon Redshaw

“A reverence for language and a precision in its deployments informs these poems.  It is a fine thing to have them in the world.” Thomas Lynch

Author Biography

Anne Fitzgerald is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and Queen’s University, Belfast. Her collections are Swimming Lessons (2001) and The Map of Everything (2006). She is a recipient of the Ireland Fund of Monaco Literary Bursary at The Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco (2007). She teaches Creative Writing in Ireland and in North America. She lives in Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. For further information see

Read a sample from this book


It makes sense all the same when you think of it. Born 
on the feast of finding the true cross, he’d always felt 
a direct line, so to speak. Since Johnny gave up the drink 
he’s killed worrying them blasted rosary beads to death, 
his prints will surely be left on some glorious mystery 
like a pilgrim crossing the Mayflower’s gangway, ready 
to set sail. Just like the sail Johnny hoists through the neck 
of a Jameson twelve year old. Launches it of a Friday 
in the Black Swan’s back bar, where Nelly Regan’s pink 
paddling pool might well be the lake in Central Park.
For miles they does come to re-enact crusades, to seek 
indulgences for battles lost, run ripples in full sail, sack 
purveyors of high castle walls, pray turret slits a melody 
of martyrs, tall flags wave colour askew as if a tapestry 
lost in a watered-down detail of its own threaded myth. 

Storm over Manhattan

Couples are making for St. Mark’s for cover, 
as you cover me with your Donegal tweed
jacket, passed down from your second cousin 
once removed, who was removed to Great Ormond
Street after Omagh. Omaha Nebraska you said 
worth a trip once we’d find a way to come 
through this dalliance of ours. Lightning strikes 
the Empire State. Afterwards, hard rain speaks 
volumes to empty streets in a language as fluid 
as embraces throwing caution to the wind.
A force ten blows our hull and mast relationship 
beyond Liberty. We will sail to the mouth 
of the Bosphorus, where Judas trees bloom pink 
over Istanbul in pursuit of Constantinople.  

Copyright © Anne Fitzgerald 2012


Review: Beyond the Sea by Anne Fitzgerald reviewed for Dublin Duchess

There is something mysterious and enigmatic but at the same time mildly addictive about Anne Fitzgerald's writing. Just as when you are reading Joyce, you stumble along saying in your head "I think I know what he's on about", so it is the gist of Fitzgerald's writing that carries you along on the tide.

Beyond the Sea is Anne Fitzgerald's third book of poetry and is published by Salmon Poetry. Living in Dún Laoghaire, the cover of Fitzgerald's collection shows a beautiful painting entitled Dublin Bay with Cloud Sky by George Potter RHA. The book consists of over forty poems and prose pieces which all display a very distinctive style of construction. There is much use of song lines mid sentence that make the reader stop and find the tune in their head as well as the spelling of words to give an accent by the preceding use of the letter 'd', as in "The year d'flying duck flew off the wall of flock,..." in 'Pure Fiction'. Fitzgerald's writing is very firmly placed in its Irish identity and there is also a theme of the characters imbibing various different alcoholic beverages.

The enigmatic style of writing, almost unstructured streams of consciousness, draw the reader in and it is the subconscious that starts to identify recurring themes as the words flow along creating patterns and meaning. There are four prose-style pieces with one in particular, 'Feast of the Assumption',being particularly interesting, with its parallels with the father's pacemaker, his "black box", to the backpacks of the suicide bombers on their way to Heathrow.

There is much to come back to in this collection, to retrace the words and find new understanding and meaning. Likewise, there are other poems that speak straight to you in their clarity; 'Mass Rock at Glenstal' has familiarity in its lines, "this blessed flock wallpaper of ours; where I've traced/ and retraced times spent listening to family histories,/ the Rising, price of the pint and good weather for drying."

Anne Fitzgerald's work is very modern and yet at the same time speaks of Ireland's past, its character and its characters. The experimental nature of her writing is teasing and confusing at the same time and read as a whole, the reader is in turn rewarded by becoming attuned to the voice of Fitzgerald and that voice starts to speak a language that is being shared as you venture forward into the work that is Beyond the Sea.

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