Page Count: 92
Publication Date: Saturday, July 05, 2014
Cover Artwork: “Raingirl” by Joan Sugrue – www.joansugrue.com
About this Book
Celeste Augé’s second collection of poetry is both a celebration and an interrogation of what connects us.
Skip Diving explores everyday battles with dirt, with family, with a spouse, with the weather, with our bodies. The poet’s honest yet optimistic voice dives into the small joys and disasters that shape a world. A father returns after over twenty years, a woman considers metaphysics as she vacuums her house, a long-term relationship is dissected, Leda undergoes IVF. In the title poem, a dead woman is imaginatively reclaimed from the contents of a bin.
These are poems that reveal ordinary miracles, shaking out the unlit edges of life into the open air, line by distinctive line.
Celeste Augé is the author of The Essential Guide to Flight (Salmon Poetry, 2009) and the collection of short stories Fireproof and Other Stories (Doire Press, 2012). The World Literature Review has said: ‘Celeste Augé’s poems are commendable for their care, deep thought, and intellectual ambition.’
She works in the area of adult education, teaching creative writing to undergraduates at NUI Galway as well as tutoring with a local Adult Learning Centre.
Celeste has a Masters degree in writing from NUI Galway. Her poetry has been short-listed for a Hennessy Award, and she received a Literature Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland to write Skip Diving. In 2011, she won the Cúirt New Writing Prize for fiction. She lives in Connemara, in the West of Ireland, with her husband and son.
Review: Skip Diving reviewed by Kevin Higgins for The Galway Advertiser (2nd October, 2014)
…another second collection is Celeste Augé’s Skip Diving, published by Salmon. She writes passionately and only on things she really cares about. There is a glorious economy to the language; Augé is not one to fatten out a poem with adjectives. Most striking in this regard is the perfect five line 'Insomnia':
"I have come to like the hours/spent awake in bed,/the house silent,/everyone else put safely away,/ like clean dishes."
Augé’s approach in some of her feminist poems challenges pre-conceptions. David Wheatley has opined that the work of Eavan Boland, probably our premier female poet, suffers from an "absence of any discernible sense of humor". This is certainly not the case with the work of Celeste Augé.
In 'Absolution' - a poem in which she alludes to the Magdalene Laundries - she writes "I, too, have sinned,/in several different religions./(Roast pork, assorted blasphemies,/not to mention the fornication.)"
In 'Leda Revisited', Augé writes about the symphysiotomy scandal. It is not an easy subject from which to make a poem. For one thing, it is already so associated in the public mind with tragedy and pathos, that irony is almost the only way to achieve the originality towards which every poem must aspire.
The poem opens with a savagery entirely appropriate to the circumstances: "There're worse things than being fucked by a swan". A perfect beginning for such a poem in that it will offend all the right people.
Skip Diving is one of the best poetry collections I've read this year.