Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry
Only for you do the two mute girls on stage
who falter at first, erratic as static
in the synaptic gap between each image,
imperceptibly jolt to life-
grinning, tap-dancing, morphing into footage,
their arms like immaculate pistons, their legs
like knives . . .
It lasts a minute, their having-been-written
-from "The Mutoscope"
Sinéad Morrissey is one of the most fascinating talents in international poetry. Recently appointed as Belfast's first poet laureate, she creates poems known for their combination of keen intelligence and whispered intimacy.
In Parallax, which won the 2013 T. S. Eliot Prize, Morrissey explores what is captured, and what is lost, when houses and cityscapes, servants and saboteurs ("the different people who lived in sepia"), are arrested in time by photography (or poetry), subjected to the authority of a particular perspective. Assured and disquieting, Morrisey's poems explore the paradoxes that result when we attempt to freeze our passing experience through art.
This edition of Parallax also includes Morrissey's own selection of her favorite poems from her previous collections, published for the first time in the United States. In their variety of subjects and styles they trace the evolution of a poet, showcasing the formal mastery and tenderness that define her work.
National Book Critics Circle Awards - Nominee, National Book Critics Circle Award - Nominee
Praise for Parallax
“The outstanding poet of her generation.” —Stephen Knight, The Independent
“Morrissey is one of a number of younger poets from Northern Ireland who are negotiating the mixed blessing of having such illustrious antecedents as [Derek] Mahon and Seamus Heaney. To honour such inheritance requires all the confidence and care of a high-wire act . . . Morrissey is more than up to the task.” —Paul Batchelor, The Guardian
“Parallax is an ambitious and complex collection . . . Structurally, the poems are beautiful: riddled with subterranean passages and false doors, they're easy places to lose your intellectual footing . . . [Morrissey] feels like one of the country's leading poets.” —Charlotte Runcie, The Telegraph
“Parallax is something of a treasure trove . . . Morrissey's poetic framings and exposures of author, reader/viewer, and object in dynamic and angular relation to each other make her a compelling advocate, and exemplary practitioner, of both seeing and doing things differently.” —Fran Brearton, The Guardian