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Leanne O'Sullivan

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Published on Jun 14, 2009

Leanne O'Sullivan is a young Irish poet from the Beara peninsula in West Cork. In this short video she reads one poem from her debut collection, 'The Cord' from WAITING FOR MY CLOTHES (2004), followed by five poems from her second collection CAILLEACH: THE HAG OF BEARA (2009): 'Sister', 'Lost', 'Rapture', 'The Dancing Rooms' and 'The Return'. The film shows excerpts from her reading at the Project Arts Centre in the Dublin Writers' Festival on 6 June 2009. 'The Cord' is an early poem, written in her teens, and published by Billy Collins in his anthology POETRY 180: A TURNING BACK TO POETRY (Random House USA, 2003) when Leanne was only 20. An Cailleach BhÊarra, or the Hag of Beara, is a wise woman figure embedded in the physical and mental landscape of western Ireland (and Scotland). The Cailleachs roots lie in pre-Christian Ireland, and stories of her relationship with that rugged landscape and culture still abound. Central to these narratives is the story of her love affair with a sea god. A large stone rests on the ridge overlooking Ballycrovane Harbour, and it is said to be the petrified body of the Cailleach; she has had several lives, beginning each life with a birth from her stony form and returning to stone at the end. The supernatural and superhuman feature strongly in traditional stories of the Cailleach (pronounced Ca-lock or Cay-luck) feats such as her creating mountains or leaping vast distances that place the tales firmly into the world of myth. While still recognising the Cailleach as a figure of extraordinary power and influence, Leanne OSullivans poems explore the human origins from which the legend grew. She still forms the landscape, yet at the same time is intrinsically part of it, close to it, rather than gigantically above it; and her husband is not the sea god of legend, but a fisherman. And for all her strength, she is vulnerable. For more information, see:
http://www.bloodaxebooks.com/titlepag...

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