Sinead Morrissey’s Soviet Poems

September 2019 issue of AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle includes Chapman Hood Frazier’s interview with poet Sinead Morrissey, a highly decorated poet hailing from Northern Ireland. Her collection Parallax (which won the T.S. Eliot Prize) includes a poem titled “Shostakovich” in a group of a few others that directly reference the Soviet Union.

In the interview, Morrissey explains that her parents were members of the Communist Party. “Growing up in a Communist household and having, as a consequence, a rosier view of the Soviet Union and the Communist project than neraly everyone else around me, gave me a particular world-view which came under strain as an adult, when I began to read Russian history and to understand some of the atrocities which had taken place. This is one of the most important instances of parallax in my own life, and one which Parallax as a body of work is also most exercised with. The Soviet poems are kinds of punctuation marks throughout the book, and all of them are different. In the end I think the subject itself is unknowable–what we see is always so determined by where we stand–and it is the fraught act of perception itself which interests me most of all.”

The interview is in the print issue of the magazine and is available online with subscription.

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