Four Sides Full is a personal essay by Vona Groarke, one of Ireland’s leading poets. Her seven collections to date have all displayed a fascination with the visual arts but Four Sides Full takes a different approach. In considering frames and what they bring to an artwork it reflects on themes of containment and exclusion, and how a life can flit between.
An unusual fusion of ideas, history and memoir, this essay opens up and out about subjects such as the body, family, the past, love, beauty and solitude. It is a poet’s view magnified by prose, an essay of uncommon clarity and candour.
With its seriousness of purpose, its dignity and its scope, Four Sides Full is a model of style and a triumph in a genre rarely tackled these days.
Sway comprises poems from the troubadour tradition and a number of Peter Sirr’s responses to them. With their source in southern France almost nine centuries ago, and in the language called Old Occitan, this confluence of word and music helped pave the way for European poetry as we know it. It had a conspicuous influence on poets from Dante to Pound.
Already highly commended by the judges of the Forward prizes these poems are recovered and remade in Peter Sirr’s adroit and nimble versions. Sway conveys the wit, passion and invention of work that speaks still with the energy invested in it when the originals were composed and performed all those years ago.