Many of Seán Ó Ríordáin’s poems were born of his struggle with the isolation, loneliness and guilt of life in mid-century Catholic Ireland. He was born and lived all his life in Co. Cork, which is the native locale also of the poet Greg Delanty, translator of Apathy Is Out / Ní Ceadmhach Neamhshuim.
Ó Ríordáin’s poems have been translated by many poets, but up till now no one single writer has translated a large selection of his work. This collection gives a unified sense of Ó Ríordáin’s poetry, catching its verve, playfulness and range and also ‘the music you still hear in Munster, / even in places they’ve ditched the dialect’.
Ó Ríordáin is commonly held to have ‘renewed’ poetry in Irish by writing out of the Modernist sense of alienation, fragmentation and crisis of identity, but all the while reaching beyond Modernism’s confines to the connective matrix of our world.