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July 2014

The Essential Guide to Flight

Celeste Augé

ISBN: 978-1-907056-05-5

Page Count: 84

Publication Date: Friday, May 01, 2009

Cover Artwork: Philip Lindey

About this Book

A strong first collection from a poet whose clear eye and cool voice combine in poems of clarity, intelligence and occasional startling beauty.

Mary O'Malley

The poems in The Essential Guide to Flight take multiple points of view: they journey through life, through relationships, across borders and oceans, through emotional landscapes; giving glimpses of our hidden lives, the invisible desires and trials that make up a life. They delve into the experience of the immigrant and the cultural outsider. From the opening poem The Borrower, to Fireproof, the poem that closes the collection, these poems examine the myths we invent, myths we have to live up to, and the way we mythologize people, places, and our past.

Author Biography

Celeste Augé was born in Canada in 1972. She was raised in the backwoods of Northern Ontario until her family moved to Ireland, where she has lived since she was twelve years old. In 2006, she published her first chapbook of poetry, Tornadoes for the Weathergirl. Her poetry has also been included in the anthology The Ground Beneath Her Feet (Cinnamon Press, 2008) and in the chapbook Smoke and Skin (Lapwing). She has been Writer-in-Residence with an after-school programme in Galway, supported by the Arts Council and the National Youth Arts Programme. She has read her work at Cúirt International Festival of Literature, at Galway City & County libraries, at Poetry Ireland's Introductions series of readings, and at other literary events around Ireland. Her poetry was short-listed for a 2008 Hennessy Literary Award. She lives in County Galway.

Read a sample from this book

I Dream In Solid Pine

The bed divides us. We take sides,
mine piled book-high with
balms, night creams, a clock.
His with books, a light, a digital clock.

We meet lustily in the middle,
then sated, roll back where we
came from. No place for sound
words between the posts.

The bed is solid, framed in pine.
It passed the shake test
the day we bought it, tired
as always, in a hurry.

The third bed in our history -
also the longest drop to the floor.


Reviewed by Grace Wells for The Stinging Fly, Winter 2009-2010

... At the age of thirteen Augé moved to Ireland. Severed from Canada, from French, she struggled. Her poems are a long, drawn-out grief for 'the music of the rooms I have lived in before', a grief for home and home within language. Her severance from French was so severe Augé doesn't employ a single word of it, while the banishment of a native tongue means Augé's poetic voice falters. Despite these difficulties, Augé's need to bring the world home to roost through language, drips from every page. Highlights are an excellent prose poem 'Finding Galway, circa 1985,' and one of the best sestinas around, 'Blame It on Breakfast', which turns deliciously on the words, naked, space, emptiness, in, night and kiss.

Overall The Essential Guide to Flight is full of the traces of a fine poet in the making, although Augé's present merit is more often in single lines, rather than whole poems. Salmon have done a brave thing in publishing this work, an act which will hopefully give Augé the confidence to gain better purchase within the English language and finally answer her question, 'When should I start calling this home?'

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