The Radio

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Random House, Nov 9, 2017 - Poetry - 80 pages
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Shortlisted for the 2017 T. S. Eliot Prize

In her fourth collection, Leontia Flynn rehearses and resolves the concerns and forms of previous books, beginning with a sequence written in the aftermath of her father’s death from Alzheimer’s disease and during the care of her daughter in infancy. Moving on to explore the constructed nature of childhood, via a long poem imagining her mother’s experiences in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, and in an elegy for Seamus Heaney, the poems also seek to contrast the isolation and privacy of an experience of family life with increasingly pervasive and relentless digital technologies.

Drawing on a range of other voices and literary exemplars, including a tradition of verse drama and dialogues, and particularly Plath’s ‘Three Women’, The Radio sees writing poems as a communication that begins with an act of interior listening, for sounds and forms, and to personal sources of meaning.

The Radio explores the pressure the interior life faces from both the usual quotidian struggles and the new stridency and quick-fire certainties of virtual communication. Showing her superb mastery of form, Leontia Flynn’s poems are fragile, funny, observant and engaging – reminding us, once again, of her originality and importance.

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About the author (2017)

Leontia Flynn has published four poetry collections. Her first book, These Days, won the Forward Prize for best first collection, and her most recent, The Radio (2017), won the Irish Times Poetry Now Award. Her other awards include an Eric Gregory Award, the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, the Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Prize for Irish Literature, and the AWB Vincent Literary Award, and she has twice been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. She is Reader in Poetry at Queen's University Belfast and was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2022.

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