Book by Angela Patten

High Tea at a Low Table: Stories from an Irish Childhood

Wind Ridge Books, 2013

cover of High Tea at a Low Table

Trade paperback
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Irish-born and Vermont-settled poet Angela Patten turns her lyrical skills to memoir. Her story is of a working-class girl growing up in horse-and-cart Dublin. Patten strives to find her own voice amid the insistent clamor of family and clergy and the lure of an unruly future.

“Patten’s work is, in a manner of speaking, full of the devil. She is a poet who embraces the world and all its sins and foibles, but she’s also full of mischief, teasing (and enchanting) the reader with her surprises. Angela Patten is a champion of working people, in Ireland and in the States, a poet of the everyday ordinary world and the hardworking, honest and decent people who populate it.”
—John Surowiecki, 2014
John Surowiecki is the author of four books of poetry, including  Flies (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012) and The Hat City after Men Stopped Wearing Hats (Washington Prize, Word Works, 2007).

VIEW: Interview of Angela

Excerpt from High Tea at a Low Table: Stories From An Irish Childhood

“The steel barrel caught the sunlight and shone like a jewel. What was I to do? This wasn’t a story I had read in a book. It was the real world cutting in, as if the radio of my thoughts had gone suddenly dead. The weapon created an immediate intimacy between us. There was something obscene about its sudden intrusion…

“It was far from guns and kidnappers I was reared, as my father might have said. I grew up during the 1950s and 60s in Sallynoggin, a working-class neighborhood about seven miles south of Dublin City. This was an era in which the ragman, the slopman and the coalman still came to our doorsteps with horses and carts, and Mr. Byrne, the milkman, arrived on his bicycle to ladle loose milk from a tilley-can.”