‘I was raised in the shadow of men who wanted to conquer wildness’

Annemarie Ní Churreáin’s debut Bloodroot is dedicated to the women of her family whose voices were not always heard

Annemarie Ní Churreáin: I believe poetry has the potential to unbury us and restore us back into the landscape to which we truly belong

Annemarie Ní Churreáin: I believe poetry has the potential to unbury us and restore us back into the landscape to which we truly belong

I grew up in northwest Donegal on bogland named Cnoc Na Naomh. Legend tells that on this hill four men met to decide who among them would convert the area from paganism. It’s a legend I heard all though my girlhood and one that remains popular, not least because it contains all the ingredients of a good story; conflict, strong characters and, of course, the divine intervention of God.

When I think today of that hill, I think of the dark bleed of the horizon in the late evenings as the birds rise blackly out of the heather. I think of the way the bog wants to carry the human voice. I think of the fact that I was raised in the shadow of men who wanted to conquer the wildness around them. As I prepare to launch my debut collection of poetry, Bloodroot, this landscape is very alive in my mind as I reflect on certain questions: what is the relationship between landscape and lyrical control? Between control and imagination? Between the place that I physically come from and the State in which I, as a woman in Ireland today, now exist?

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