In Merchant Prince' Thomas McCarthy presents two groups of poems, set largely in Cork, and a novella set in Italy, in the period from 1769 and 1831. They tell the story of Nathaniel Murphy: his training for the priesthood, the loss of his virginity and vocation, his flight from Italy, and later his happy marriage and successful career as a Cork merchant.
The unusual mixture of verse and prose and the meticulously imagined history - replete with portraits of such great figures as the painter James Barry, and four Italian poets who are strangely reminiscent of certain contemporary Irish poets - gives the book a compelling flavour. Poems and prose combine in a poetic fiction which is, among other things, a meditation on the craft of verse and the artistic calling, and a restoration project on a kind of Irishness overwritten by later history.
Thomas McCarthy was born in Co. Waterford in 1954 and educated at University College, Cork. He has published six collections of poetry, two novels and a memoir. He has won the Patrick Kavanagh Award, the American-Irish Foundation's Literary Award and the O'Shaughnessy Prize for Poetry. His work has been widely translated and has appeared in over thirty anthologies. He has worked for Cork City Library and currently works at the Cork 2005 offices.
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Nathaniel Murphy in His Sisters Bedroom 1798
He Considers His Great Luck 1812
He Feels Moisture Falling August 1st 1802
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