Salmon Poetry, 2007
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“Angela Patten comes into her own in this collection. There is an assurance and deftness to the verse of Reliquaries that manages perspective just so: the domestic interiors of her childhood and youth are set forth with mingled irony and love, as numinous relics that survive in memory and poetry despite the savage depredations of time. There is a radiant sense in these poems of the experience of ordinary working-class Irish people and their culture that is completely authentic and honest.”
—Anthony Bradley, Imagining Ireland in the Poems and Plays of William Butler Yeats, Contemporary Irish Poetry (Ed.) and other books.
“Poetry asks of us what we yearn for deeply—to be present each moment. Angela Patten’s poems speak to that yearning. She is able to weave the accurate feelings that accompany large and small incidents. And she is able to summon the sheer texture of realization and bafflement, that bittersweet dance that even death does not undo. Ireland is the memorable ground beneath her feet but her grace and acuity are all her own.”
—Baron Wormser, Teach Us That Peace, Unidentified Sighing Objects, Impenitent Notes, and other books.
“Reliquaries is an unswervingly focused volume, one in which each poem preserves a part of Patten’s past, her upbringing in Southern Ireland and her life with her parents, sisters and friends, in a poor part of a poor country dominated by Catholicism. Angela Patten…is a seriously good writer with serious intentions which she realizes engagingly
—John Hudson, Markings (Scotland)
“In the poem that gives Angela Patten’s new collection its title, the fossilized tongue of St. Anthony sits under glass, a reminder of “the numinous particulars of flesh.” As it takes on a meaning beyond words, the severed tongue is a wry exemplar for these eloquent memories and telling details… Her poems recollect moments in their full sensory weight, each verse a silt-laden bucket hauled up from the dark.”
—Memory Keeping by Matt Frassica, Seven Days, Vermont, March 2008
A poem from Reliquaries: Happiness: The Feeling of Increasing