Poetry round-up: True, funny poems in response to Covid-19

New collections from Rita Ann Higgins, Leeanne Quinn and Rachel Long

Poet Rita Ann Higgins

Poet Rita Ann Higgins

Tell the kids who are selling lines
to eff off, through the letterbox.
If you say it in Irish it takes the harm out of it.
Tell them you don’t believe them about the first prize
‘a part of a goat will be faxed to someone in Antarctica’. (Seal the Freezers)

How was Rita Ann Higgins able to respond to Covid-19, as it unrolled, with the true, funny poems of her Pathogens Love A Patsy (Salmon €12)? Surely poems need time to mulch down if they are to be more than throwaway? But then Higgins knows this kind of soil like the back of her hand – her working-class characters have always known deprivation. Since her poetry gift sprouted in the isolation of a TB Sanatorium more than 40 years ago, Higgins’s unrepentant demotic voice has been challenging social orthodoxies. She angles the mirror to our current scattered minds:

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