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Katie Donovan June 2024

June 27, 2024
Katie Donovan June 2024

In this episode of TheShaking Bog Podcast we celebrate a new collection of poems – May Swim – by the acclaimed poet Katie Donovan. Katie lives near White Rock Beach in Killiney and this podcast was recorded beside the sea and leads the listener on a gentle meander through her reflections, memories and observations along with readings of selected poems from the new collection.

This podcast also includes music, inspired by the sea, from the wonderful Wicklow based songwriter, composer and musician Rónán ÓSnoidaigh.  

Produced by The Shaking Bog in collaboration with Coillte Nature andMermaid Arts Centre. Written & presented by Catherine Nunes, edited by Bjorn MacGiolla, mixed by Steve McGrath, with theme music composed by Ray Harmon.


Further Information:

Katie Donovan – May Swim - By turns lyrical and sardonic, this timely collection from Katie Donovan is characteristically watery – candid and uncompromising inits refusal to inhabit the safer reaches of the shore. Themes of loss, widowhood and ageing co-exist with observations of her wild garden and its inhabitants, including a mangey fox she helps to survive. Small acts of salvage are often all that is possible, such as the permission given during theCovid-19 pandemic to go 2km from home. This allowed Donovan to swim at WhiteRock, her local beach, thus staying afloat through the fear of that brutal time and what came next – the death of her mother. In some of these poems the comforting delusion of rescue is highlighted as a flawed but human necessity. Other poems give voice to the remorse that is the haunting of a failed rescue.

Whether writing about her hybrid car, the death of whales from ingesting plastic waste, or abortion now being legal in Ireland, Donovan’s idiosyncratic range of tone and subject continues to enthral and engage the reader thirty years after her debut collection, Watermelon Man, arrived with its ‘distinguished and open language’ and ‘bold statements of identity’ (Eavan Boland).

May Swim is available from and all good book shops. Please support independent booksellers where possible.

Rónán Ó Snodaigh lives in County Wicklow and isa founding member of the celebrated traditional Irish/world music band Kíla. He is one of Ireland's best and most innovative bodhrán players and a highly original singer songwriter. The music included in this podcast is from his forthcoming album Capall Bán Fút.

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