Victoria Kennefick & Paula Meehan

Time and date

Sunday 14 July 2024

3:00 pm

Poets Victoria Kennefick and Paula Meehan both released new collections of poetry in the past year.

Victoria Kennefick’s second collection, Egg/Shell, deals with the experiences of a partner transitioning, early motherhood, miscarriage, and the fracturing of a marriage.

Patterns and patterning – cellular, celestial, social, political and personal – spin and weave through Paula Meehan's new collection of poems, The Solace of Artemis. From the mythic to the mundane, her attention is given over to the examination of interconnected lives – her own, the lives of her family, the human ecology of her native Dublin – and the unfolding of pattern-cycles in the non- human world.

Victoria and Paula's event will be chaired by Rióna Ní Fhrighil

Admission: €18


The lives depicted by Victoria Kennefick alter, shatter and recombine in stunning monologues, innovative hybrid forms and piercing lyrics: her second book Egg/Shell is a diptych, a double album, which explores early motherhood and miscarriage, and the impact of a spouse’s gender transition and the dissolution of a marriage. Acclaimed as one of the boldest poetic voices to emerge in recent years, Victoria, in the follow-up to her best-selling Eat or We Both Starve, breaks new ground with generosity, emotional complexity, formal ingenuity and wit.


Divided in two sections, ‘egg’ and ‘shell,’ the poems in the collection interrogate the roles of mother and wife and what happens when each of these are troubled for a speaker who is losing a grip on the structure of her life and sense of normality. The poems in ‘egg’ explore the dashed hope in secondary infertility as the speaker attempts to mother her existing child while the poems in ‘shell’ concern how this struggle is somewhat eclipsed by a destabilising event – the revelation that her spouse is a trans woman. The speaker experiences identity crisis and a search for a new normal as the poems explore art, nature, mythology, cooking, parenting, and even neuroplasticity in innovative, varied, and confrontational forms. Here change, welcome or not, is cathartic, revelatory and ultimately only the beginning of another journey.


Paula Meehan‘s familiar impulse towards blessing and empathy is shadowed in these poems with a clear-sighted understanding that the human perspective is neither privileged nor superior, an awareness that much if not most of existence is indifferent to our all- too-human dramas. Nevertheless, explorations of family, of her own mortality, of the lives of long-dead tenement dwellers, shift and shine in a web of stories that speak to a stubborn human endurance that is sometimes heroic, sometimes tragic – and occasionally transcendent. As well as new poems, The Solace of Artemis integrates Museum (2019), a sequence commissioned for the Dublin Tenement Museum, and For the Hungry Ghosts (2022), a poem cycle responding to the Hades episode of Joyce’s Ulysses.




Victoria Kennefick

Victoria Kennefick grew up in Cork and lives in Kerry. Her pamphlet White Whale won the Munster Literature Centre Chapbook Competition in 2014 and the Saboteur Award for Best Poetry...

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Paula Meehan

Paula Meehan is among the best-known and most admired of contemporary Irish poets. Born in 1955 in Dublin where she still lives, she has published eight collections of poems, as...

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Rióna Ní Fhrighil

Professor Rióna Ní Fhrighil lectures in contemporary Irish-language literature in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe-University of Galway. She has a particular interest in ethics, ecology, and poetry and directs the research project Republic of...

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