English Martyrs


The unstoppable flow of pop culture into mental life – that great tide of images and derivatives, echoes and borrowings, gains and losses, treasures and trash – is a serious and ongoing subject for poetry… The disposable has almost conquered the internal, and Carville’s achievement is to show us this in poems that are by turns vivid, horrifying, clever, funny and visionary. ~ James Peake in Dublin Review of Books

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The title poem of Conor Carville’s second collection takes off from a London church and its congregation, but pushes on out into planetary, even cosmic dimensions. In another poem, the head of the Blessed Oliver Plunkett appears in the TV room of a London mental hospital, to tell the strange story of a mass on Clapham Common in 1984, when the London-Irish assembled to celebrate his beatification. These poems, and many others here, reassert the capacity of song to grasp the shape of a life, a community, or a world, in the shadow of its vast disorder. Sometimes lyric, sometimes violent, this is a book that teems with the martyrdoms, both everyday and epic, that punctuate our lives.

Praise for Harm’s Way

… a first book of inspiring range and confidence, traversing cultural history and global modernity to find figures for harm and love, and shaping them in a language of weird substance and full song. –Prac Crit.

Harm’s Way ranges over an imaginative territory that is as dark, funny and disturbing as Matthew Sweeney’s, the art by which it does so … apparent in the lexical opulence and acoustic accuracy at work throughout. –Poetry Ireland Review

Conor Carville is a poet and critic from Armagh, N. Ireland. His first collection, Harm’s Way, was published by Dedalus Press. He lives in South London with his wife and daughter.

Conor Carville. Paperback, 210 x 135 mm, 76 pages, October 2019

Poet of the Week – 10: Conor Carville


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