Poetry Book Group - As If By Magic: Selected Poems by Paula Meehan

As if by magic paula meehan book cover

The January Poetry Book Group will be meeting via Zoom

Monday, January 15th • 6:30 PM ET / 11:30 PM IST via Zoom
Session open to all: no registration required.

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This new selection of poems by Paula Meehan resonates with integrity and sympathy. The poet moves from the feminist to the ecological, from the grittier urban spaces of the north side of center-city Dublin to the suburban spaces outside, never leaving the former behind while weaving the gathering themes in a compassionate web. Meehan writes evocatively about gender and class, never losing sight of the lyric purpose of her poems. She blends the comic and tragic as many Irish writers before her have done.

In Meehan’s poetry, particularly her most recent volumes, nature has historical and personal significance, but it also functions on its own terms. Meehan endeavors to examine the places, public and private, where nature and culture meet. At this intersection she begins to make sense of the suffering of innocents and the powerless, to chart avenues toward liberation, and to salve their psychological and physical wounds by finding poetry in the disappearance and reappearance of the natural world.


“In As If by Magic, Meehan’s selected poems show a life dedicated to mastering that pattern, ‘tongues of flame’ ever-present in the passionate, exacting poems which fan out from her distinctive Dublin city childhood… But the pattern, the beat is central, ever developing throughout this, fine substantial volume.”

–Martina Evans, The Irish Times

“It is as if anger, grace, and wit have been hammered white-hot into the finest shining tool and ornament.”
– Maura Dooley

“Paula Meehan is that rare and precious thing—a vocational poet of courage and integrity.”
– Carol Ann Duffy

Paula Meehan

About the Author

Paula Meehan was born in 1955 and raised in two famous working-class districts of Dublin, before graduating from Trinity College and Eastern Washington University. She has written plays for children and adults and has conducted writing workshops with inner city communities and in prisons as well as universities. Her work is much translated, widely anthologized, and among the prizes she has won are The Martin Toonder Award (1995), the Butler Literary Award (1998) and the Denis Devlin Award (2002). More recently she has turned to writing plays. She is a member of Aosdána, and lives in Dublin.

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