Paula Meehan
(Ireland, 1955)   
Paula Meehan

Paula Meehan was born in 1955 and raised in two famous working-class districts of Dublin, before graduating from Trinity College and Eastern Washington University. She has conducted workshops with many inner-city communities and prisons as well as universities. Her work is much translated and among the prizes she has won are The Martin Toonder Award (1995), the Butler Literary Award (1998) and the Denis Devlin Award (2002). More recently she has turned to writing plays. She continues to live in Dublin.

To say that Paula Meehan’s work is informed by the facts she is of working-class origin, a woman and has integrated into her imagination the folklore and dream consciousness of her forebears would be unfairly reductive and yet it would be misleading not to refer to them at all. Her work has won plaudits from critics and prize-givers at the same time as it has attracted a wide following from non-poetry specialist readers. There is an erotic charge to much of Meehan’s work which, to borrow a phrase from Eavan Boland, lays beneath the surface of conventional sexuality like a reef below water. Her poems are sensual both in her handling of ideas and in her handling of the words which convey those ideas. On this page you will find five of her poems that have not been published before anywhere.

© Patrick Cotter

Return and No Blame. Beaver Row Press, Dublin 1984.
Reading the Sky. Beaver Row Press, Dublin 1985.
The Man Who was Marked by Winter. The Gallery Press, Oldcastle 1991.
Pillow Talk. The Gallery Press, Oldcastle 1994.
Dharmakaya. Carcanet, Manchester 2000 .

Cell: a play. New Island Books, Dublin 2000.

In English
Laois Education Centre
Essay by Meehan on the making of poems.

Wake Forest University Press
Meehan’s American publisher.

In English and German
Neue Sirene
Poem of Meehan’s with German translation in Neue Sirene.

In German
Christel Goettert Verlag
Meehan’s German publisher.

‘Autobiographie’, a poem.


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