Dharmakaya: ‘Truth-body', a beautiful and evocative word from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. In her new book, Paula Meehan looks at how memory is lodged in the body, in physical consciousness, as much as in the old movies we run inside our heads. Two of her earlier collections, The Man Who Was Marked by Winter (1991) and Pillow Talk (1994), both published by the Gallery Press, were shortlisted for the Irish Times Irish Literature Award.
This new collection marks a decisive development in her work both in formal and thematic terms. There is a paradoxical intimacy about Meehan's poetry: the voice can be quiet, even private, but the private world erupts or is broken open by the public world, its violence, its insistent issues. Nothing is given outright: hope and love have to be tested and tried; so does loss, which is never all loss.