In The Brazen Serpent, among other preoccupations, poems explore how the most basic legendsfamily storiesfragment and alter in each individual s memory. Ni Chuilleanain s language is supple and acute eugh to undertake its most difficult subject, how we perceive and understand the world, and how we share our worlds in mystery and love. The Brazen Serpent marks yet ather advance in the work of a major poet.
Born in Cork in 1942, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain graduated from University College Cork in 1962, with a BA in English and History, followed by a MA in English in 1964, and she also studied at Oxford University. Ni Chuilleanain was Associate Professor of English, Dean of the Faculty of Arts (Letters), and a Fellow of Trinity College Dublin until her retirement in 2011. Since then she has continued to teach an option on John Donne and also contributes to the M.Phil in Medieval Language, Literature and Culture, and to the M.Phils in Literary Translation and Comparative Literature. Ni Chuilleanain edits the literary journal Cyphers with two other poet-editors, including her husband MacDara Woods. She and her husband have a son, Niall. Eilean Ni Chuilleanain is often cited not only as a major poet in the generation after Thomas Kinsella, John Montague, and Richard Murphy, but also as the foremost female poet now writing in Ireland and Great Britain. In 1992, she was awarded the prestigious O Shaughnessy Poetry Award by The Irish American Cultural Institute. Her most recent volume, The Boys of Bluehill (2015), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. Her previous volumes include Acts and Monuments (1966), which won the Patrick Kavanagh Award; Site of Ambush (1975); The Second Voyage (1977), which included selections from the previous two volumes; The Magdalene Sermon and Earlier Poems (1991); The Brazen Serpent (1995); The Girl Who Married the Reindeer (2002); Selected Poems (2009); The Sun-fish (2010), which won the International Griffin Poetry Prize; and The Legend of the Walled-Up Wife (2012), translations from the Romanian poetry of Ileana M?l?ncioiu. With Medbh McGuckian, Ni Chuilleanain also co-translated the poems of Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill in The Water Horse (2001).