New poetry collection is Elaine’s most personal

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“This is the most personal book I have ever written and the hardest to write,” says poet and novelist Elaine Feeney about her new poetry collection, All the Good Things You Deserve.

Being launched this week at the Cúirt festival of Literature, it’s a gripping collection, with the first section dealing with a traumatic sexual assault that happened when Elaine was at college, and the scars she carried for many years afterwards.

It’s not all dark, though, because this book takes the reader on a journey in which Elaine meets and falls in love with “a lovely, gentle, creative man”, who is now her husband.

In the later poems, she expresses her love for him, and also for her sons, aged 16 and 21, the first time she has ever done so in her poetry.

“It’s the first book where I love and let love in,” she says. “I was afraid of writing love poems because I was afraid of showing vulnerability.”

Bringing this book into the world has been a long journey for the Athenry woman, who has previously published three poetry collections and two novels – including the Booker longlisted How to Build a Boat.

She couldn’t have done it any sooner, she says of this collection in which many of the poems are written at a stream-of-consciousness level.

“It’s a kind of demotic West of Ireland style, mixed with a linguistic playfulness – that nothing is ever as it seems,” she says.

Elaine was fascinated by language from a young age, by “having this vocabulary of words and what you can do with language, even if the subject is serious”.

And the subject matter in All the Good Things You Deserve, especially the early section, is serious.

It was written before the current conflict in Gaza and, in recent months, as she’s watched the horrors unfolding in that tiny strip of land, where innocent people have nowhere to hide, Elaine has worried if this telling of her story is self-indulgent.


Pictured: Elaine Feeney….collection opens window into her

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up