Oisín Breen is an Irish poet, journalist, and academic. He is currently working in the field of narratological complexity. A Best of the Net nominee, Breen is published in 100 journals, across 20 countries, including the Tahoma Literary Review, North Dakota Quarterly, About Place, New Critique, Northern Gravy, Reservoir Road, and the Madrigal. This collection follows Breen’s well-received debut Flowers, All Sorts in Blossom, Figs, Berries, and Fruits Forgotten, published by HybridDreich in March 2020. I got the chance to read his fantastic work, Lilies on the Deathbed of Etain. Keep reading to see why you need to pick up a copy of this magical collection of poetry.
My Thoughts on Liles on the Deathbed of Etain
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Lilies on the Deathbed of Étaín and Other Poems is a stunning debut collection of poetry by Oisín Breen. The book explores themes of identity, loss, love, and human connections in a unique and personal voice. The title poem, “Lilies on the Deathbed of Étaín,” sets the tone for the entire collection with its evocative imagery and powerful emotions.
Breen’s poems are universal in their themes and resonance. The poems are rich with imagery, and Breen has a keen eye for the small details that bring a scene to life. His language is lyrical and fluid. Words move seamlessly from one image to the next, and his use of metaphor is effective.
Breen’s poems are not always easy to read, but they are always honest and authentic. He writes with a rawness and vulnerability that is rare in contemporary poetry, and he does not shy away from the difficult emotions that come with being human. He is unafraid to explore the darker corners of the human experience, but he also finds beauty and hope in unexpected places.
And their beating wings a great machinery/ That could render even planets unto ash.
The collection ends with four shorter works which he describes in the introduction as; “Six Months Bought with Dirt: the Bothy Crop of Arranmore,” “At Swim, Two Pair,” “A Chiaroscuro of Hunger,” and “Even Small Birds Can Render Planets unto Ash.” My favorite was the last poem that describes watching birds, more specifically Puffins, from a boat. The lyrical language put me in the scene of watching the birds rocking gently on the water. I meditated on that poem for hours, watching the birds at my birdfeeder. Their wings flapping, high-pitched chirps, and I imagined them thanking me as they flew off into the wintery weather outside.
Overall, Lilies on the Deathbed is an impressive collection that marks Oisín Breen as a poet to watch. His poems are powerful and resonant, and his voice is unique and compelling. This is a book that will stay with readers long after they have finished reading it. These poems are a testament to the power of poetry to illuminate the human experience.
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