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Poems by Judith Barrington
Published by Salmon Poetry

ISBN 978-1-908836-94-6, trade paperback, €12/$12

Title poem selected by Thomas McCarthy as the winner of the 2013 Gregory O’Donaghue Prize


PRAISE for The Conversation

“This is a brilliant technical achievement; it reminds us all that great poetry is both fine thinking and achieved style. The narrator describes and teaches, telling us that death – and death in life – is ‘too late now for that conversation we never had’ – We can’t leave ‘The Conversation’ without becoming implicated in its anxieties. Technically, this is a mindful, thoughtful, calculated and superbly pre-meditated work. I have no hesitation – dare I say it, no anxiety? – in advocating it as my winning poem for the Gregory O’Donoghue Prize.” —Thomas McCarthy

“An 'independent seat' is a rarely achieved height of equestrian skill, in which mechanical command and response are transformed into a fluid conversation between the bodies of horse and rider. It is a kind of attunement that can be accomplished only through the bodily memory that long practice creates. A rider and a writer for most of her life, Judith Barrington exhibits such a level of skill in her latest collection of poetry, The Conversation. With the urgency and clarity engendered by a recent brush with death, the book traverses the varied terrains of the poet’s life. Beneath the individual conversations, which constitute the more overt subjects of these poems, is the meta-conversation within and between them, subtle and responsive as the communications between the accomplished rider and her mount.”—Cindy Stewart-Rinier, The Critical Flame
full review

“The poet Judith Barrington won the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition in 2013 and this has resulted in Salmon Poetry publishing a new collection, The Conversation. It is easy to see what appealed to the judges of that competition as she has a subtle style that gathers force like an undertow and sometimes the illuminating prose-style of some poems surfaces in a blast of creative bubbles or a beautiful moment beneath a sky of possibilities.” —Liam Murphy, The Munster Express
full review

“Every so often, Barrington’s skill brings the ordinary and everyday into the realm of striking and unusual. A bottle in the sea is described as “cloudy green and crusted with foam”. Lights coming on at dusk in her London suburb are “sudden diamonds”. In ‘Fallen from the Nest’, an anecdote about a man selling songbirds in Barcelona – crushing one that refused to sing – drops a single, shining image into the mind’s eye of what the songbird could have become: “yellow stripes on the wings” that “lengthen as feathers spread, each untucking / from the next until the sky takes them”. The poet empathises with the little bird; with her own “rotten genes” it might have been her fate to be “thrown out before I even began”. But always, Barrington says, there is always something worth preserving in life, if only for its potential; yet there’s no need to worry about mere ‘potential’ when it comes to this collection. Barrington proves that she is a writer who knows how to make full use of her wings.” —Róisín Kelly, Southword Journal
full review

“Barrington revels in the work of loving the world—even, or especially, as age brings another layer of complexity to this labor of love. In the title poem, she writes of Federico García Lorca a day after his arrest being “dead, going//nowhere except into history, no transport required.” Death, or at least the specter of it, is omnipresent in these poems, from moments the speaker reads the paper and considers the lives and deaths of people her age, to the moment when death  “hops/and locks onto my shoulder like an angry parrot.” —Julie Enszer, Lambda Literary Review
full review

“Barrington has a way of taking ordinary incidents and making us feel about them more than we expected to feel. She shows us what we didn’t expect to see, or, more precisely, she shows us what we might expect to see as well as what we didn’t even know was there underneath our expectations. These lines are elegies and celebrations at once. Her poems play with ideas of the revenant as well as with ideas of verse itself: turns and returns, verse and reverse. Barrington teaches us to read that which returns; she opens our eyes to what is lost and what is then, despite everything, gained.” —Maggie Trapp, Extract(s): Daily Dose of Lit
full review

“Judith Barrington spent the turning over of 2013 into 2014 in the hospital with surgery and recovery from a brain bleed. A year later she's produced a dense and beautiful book of poems (her first new full-length book of poems in more than 10 years) that looks back over her childhood, her family, her memories, her grief....with the kind of clarity only found through a lot of loss....” —Kirsten Rian, The Oregonian
full review

"Winning the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition in 2013 (with 'The Conversation', the title poem of this collection) brought her to Ireland and a meeting with Salmon Press: this is the outcome, and a fruitful one. She lives in Oregon but her roots are British: she was born in wartime Brighton, as the opening poem tells us, and has also lived in Spain. All this is background to the main themes of loss and love that connect the three sections; these are poems rising out of experience. She closes her description of Brighton beach, with its barbed wire coils and bombs buried in the shingle, with "This is my worid./1 have to learn to love it." In that *have to* is a foretaste of more than simple growing-up. Barrington is introducing the personal resilience required for the long process of losing family and friends." —D.A. Prince, The North
full review

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Distributed to the trade in the U.S. and Canada by Dufour Editions Inc., P.O. Box 7, Chester Springs, PA 19425, USA; 800 869 5677 or 610 458 5005 / fax: 610 458 7103

Available in independent, chain, and internet bookstores in the U.S. and Canada.
And this book can be ordered directly from Salmon Press, Knockeven, Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland; Telephone & Fax Number: +353 (0)65 7081941, bookshop@salmonpoetry.com


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