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Apathy is out - Sen Rordin

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Apathy is out - selected poems
Sen Rordin
Paperback / softback
Bloodaxe Books
UK Publication Date

Rordin (1916-77) was the most important and most influential Irish-language poet of modern times. He revitalised poetry in Irish, combining the world of Irish literature with that of modern English and European literature, thus adding to the Irish tradition from the other side. His poems 'seek to answer fundamental questions about the nature of human existence and the place of the individual in a universe without meaning' (Gearid Denvir). Many of
Rordin's poems came out of his struggle with the isolation, guilt and loneliness of life in mid-century Catholic Ireland experienced in Cork, the native locale also of the poet Greg Delanty, translator of Apathy Is Out.
Rordin's poems have been translated by many poets, but until now no single writer has translated the majority of the poems. This collection gives a much more unified sense of
Rordin's work, catching the poetry's verve, playfulness and range and also 'the music you still hear in Munster,/even in places where it has gone under'. It includes the dark, sorrowful poems
Rordin has usually represented with in anthologies but also poems of exuberance and celebration, notably 'Tulyar', one of the funniest satirical critiques of the Irish Church's attitude to sex which matches any similar attack by Patrick Kavanagh or Austin Clarke. Sen
Rordin renewed poetry in Irish by writing out of the modernist sense of alienation, fragmentation and identity, but he also saw beyond Modernism's confines to the connective matrix of our world.

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Rordin (1916-77) was born in the Breac-Ghaeltacht village of Ballyvourney, Co. Cork and moved to Inishcarra, on the outskirts of Cork City at the age of 15, following the death of his father from TB four years earlier.
Rordin himself was diagnosed with TB in 1938, not long after he had begun working as a clerk in Cork City Hall. After resigning from his position due to illness in 1965, he contributed a regular column to the Irish Times in which he wrote critically and satirically about language, literature and culture. He also provided a sharp critique of government policies that reneged on the State's commitment to its professed ideals, with greater vehemence as the Troubles in the six counties of Northern Ireland worsened during the 1970s. An occasional lecturer and writer in residence at University College Cork (1969-76), he had a considerable influence on the Innti poets who studied there. The diaries he kept from 1940 to a couple of days before his death provide insights into
Rordin's working method and his anguished quest for meaning in a life frustrated by illness where poetry provided occasional access to truth and authenticity.
Rordin published three collections before his death in 1977, Eireaball spideoige (1952), Brosna (1964), and Lnte Liomb (1971). A fourth collection Tar is mo bhis was published posthumously in 1978, and his collected poems in Irish, Na dnta, in 2011. There are two substantial translations of his poetry, Selected Poems, edited by Frank Sewell (Yale University Press, 2014), and Apathy Is Out: Selected Poems, translated by Greg Delanty (Bloodaxe Books / Cl Iar-Chonnacht, 2021).

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