Carcanet lands Tóibín's first poetry collection

Carcanet lands Tóibín's first poetry collection

Carcanet Press will publish the first collection of poetry from Irish author and broadcaster Colm Tóibín in 2022. 

The collection, Vinegar Hill, is named after the site of a battle between Irish rebels and British forces in 1798 near the author’s native Enniscorthy, County Wexford. Subjects include Dublin, life and death in pandemic times and gay marriage rights. 

Many poems were written during Tóibín’s cancer treatment, when steroids affected his energy levels and concentration; often he could only write for one hour a day, Carcanet said. Tóibín has penned more than 30 new poems since the start of the pandemic. 

Carcanet secured world English rights in the title from Peter Straus at RCW, and North American rights have been sold to Beacon Press by publisher John McAuliffe. Vinegar Hill will be published in March 2022, retailing at £14.99. 

McAuliffe said: “Colm is one of the finest writers at work today, an essayist, novelist and short story writer whose work is enjoyed by readers all over the world. His interest in poetry is lifelong but when he sent us these poems, written as he was being treated for cancer, we immediately recognised they would make this mature, complex and masterful book.  

“His subjects—childhood, bereavement, landscape, the passing of time, sex, travel, politics and art—are treated with delicacy and freedom. The places of his poetry, Wexford and Los Angeles, Spain and, most of all, the city of Dublin, where he has lived for most of his adult life, emerge as vividly and memorably as readers might expect from this magical writer.”  

Michael Schmidt, publisher and m.d. of Carcanet, said: “It’s no surprise that a novelist so interested in other writers’ lives, and the ways they find their forms, should himself, stepping outside fiction, prove so masterful a formalist, writing in a medium he has practised privately since he was young. These poems are wonderful disclosures about language, the poetic tradition, and a life lived to the full. They are also about that complex, inexhaustible puzzle that is Ireland.”