Magnum Mysterium is Irish American poet Julie O’Callaghan’s first collection since Tell Me This Is Normal: New & Selected Poems (2008). Her new poems have evolved from the early monologues – written in American demotic – to poems of heartache on the death of her husband, the poet Dennis O’Driscoll. But even in these harrowing poems she never loses her ear for the absurdities of modern life – including the grieving process where she can “see” her husband alive and doing what he loves (‘Cyber You’): I need to see you living and breathing. I go to YouTube and there you are being you (the tiny you) with the tie I bought you for Christmas sitting on a chair on a stage in Santa Fe asking Seamus questions. Eternally. In Magnum Mysterium Julie O’Callaghan has continued writing poems which ‘seem effortless and are immediately accessible and achieve great emotional weight by the lightest of means’ (Michael Hartnett Award citation).
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