Finalist NZ Post Book Awards 2015 poetry category
Finalist 2015 Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize
Winner Irish Times' Strong/Shine Award for Best First Collection 2015
With pinpoint accuracy, virtuosity and humour, Caoilinn Hughes aligns scientific and poetic venturing. In this striking debut collection she focuses on moments of discovery, from the first controlled nuclear reaction to the shape of an avalanche as witnessed from its catchment area. These are epiphanies with consequences.
‘The notion of the poet as alchemist is a familiar one, but Caoilinn Hughes gives it new and enormous energy. I find myself wondering how she knows so much about so many things; and then I notice how far her poems travel beyond their own footprints. On page after page, she offers transformation – turning facts into feeling, experience into knowledge, prose into poetry, science into art.’
From air-bowing in second violins to climbing 6000-metre mountains to playing poker with nuclear physicists, Caoilinn Hughes finds poems in unexpected places and situations. After gaining BA and MA degrees from the Queen’s University of Belfast, she moved to New Zealand. Following some years working for Google, running a small business and writing novels at the weekends, she enrolled to study for a PhD at Victoria University of Wellington. Hughes won the 2012 Patrick Kavanagh Award with a selection of the poems included in this book, and poems from the collection also won the 2013 Cúirt New Writing Prize, the 2012 STA Travel Writing Prize and the 2013 Trócaire/Poetry Ireland Competition.