Songs for Ireland

Robert Herbert McClean

Traven T. Croves (Design) KOPA, Lithuania (Printer)




ISBN: 9781913513016


Publication date: 20 May 2020



Songs for Ireland is the third book from Irish writer and audio-visual artist Robert Herbert McClean, following his debut poetry collection, Pangs! (Test Centre, 2015) and his prose chapbook Skrubolz Garbillkore (Book Works, 2018).

Songs for Ireland is an experimental, interdisciplinary work, drawing on McClean’s practices as writer and artist film-maker. It is a motley hybrid of voices and modes that satirically styles itself as a cartoonish call and response, a polyvocal tech startup melodrama, a Wi-Fi, Sci-Fi comic hallucination.

Exploding the boundaries of the form and style of traditional poetry collections, Songs for Ireland is a radical rethinking of poetic practices, characterised by its energetic humour and McClean’s unique, distinctive, idiosyncratic voice.

Songs for Ireland is a lesson in sublime discomfort, in what poetry can and (just as importantly) cannot be, and in what we need it to be.’ – Ahren Warner

‘McClean’s writing smacks chops, thumps convention and punches form. In his own words, “bone thunder”, it is indeed.’ – Maria Fusco

Songs for Ireland is corrosive. It’s corrosive in the way that hydrochloric acid might be if you were lathered up in a dainty smelling hydrochloric pomade that was stripping away at your skin so that you might actually, like, *feel* again. McClean’s beautifully crafted, brutally relentless, lyric declarative invokes both Theodor W. Adorno and Mike Patton, in equal measure. Songs for Ireland is a lesson in sublime discomfort, in what poetry can and (just as importantly) cannot be, and in what we need it to be. As McClean writes: “Poetry belies redemption! Like, give me a fucking break.”’ – Ahren Warner

Songs for Ireland is a mesmeric sump snuck under affective capitalism’s leaky house, brimming with competing residua: shamanic data flows mingle with compromised poetic personas, while monstrous and monstered consciences are put to work overtime. McClean’s language performs its tenancy of content, lulled by the call and response of code and worker, lyric and counterfeit, pleasure and echo. The songs rising from its pages are the desperate, fricative ecstasy of wind blowing through the holes of a perforated ego.’ – Daisy Lafarge

‘We are all poems, spread wide on the template that vacuums our existence, oh my poor poor human race, take cover, pulses, swells as sequences screwed, ruled, the wet touch lapses, vurile virus, indeed virile, no porn, but sold to the highest bidder. Beckoning tremble, mind thinks to erase with blurred vision and clarity pre-veils. Or, ecstasy isn’t explanation, isn’t justification, isn’t clarification, to add from Bataille’s throat.’ – Paul Buck