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Vinegar Hill: Poems

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From the New York Times best-selling author of Brooklyn, Colm Tóibín’s first collection of poetry explores sexuality, religion, and belonging through a modern lens. Fans of Colm Tóibín’s novels, including The Magician, The Master, and Nora Webster, will relish the opportunity to re-encounter Tóibín in verse. Vinegar Hill explores the liminal space between private experience From the New York Times best-selling author of Brooklyn, Colm Tóibín’s first collection of poetry explores sexuality, religion, and belonging through a modern lens. Fans of Colm Tóibín’s novels, including The Magician, The Master, and Nora Webster, will relish the opportunity to re-encounter Tóibín in verse. Vinegar Hill explores the liminal space between private experiences and public events as Tóibín examines a wide range of subjects—politics, queer love, reflections on literary and artistic greats, living through COVID, and facing mortality. The poems reflect a life well-traveled and well-lived; from growing up in the town of Enniscorthy, wandering the streets of Dublin, and crossing the bridges of Venice to visiting the White House, readers will travel through familiar locations and new destinations through Tóibín’s unique lens. Within this rich collection of poems written over the course of several decades, shot through with keen observation, emotion, and humor, Tóibín offers us lines and verses to provoke, ponder, and cherish.


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From the New York Times best-selling author of Brooklyn, Colm Tóibín’s first collection of poetry explores sexuality, religion, and belonging through a modern lens. Fans of Colm Tóibín’s novels, including The Magician, The Master, and Nora Webster, will relish the opportunity to re-encounter Tóibín in verse. Vinegar Hill explores the liminal space between private experience From the New York Times best-selling author of Brooklyn, Colm Tóibín’s first collection of poetry explores sexuality, religion, and belonging through a modern lens. Fans of Colm Tóibín’s novels, including The Magician, The Master, and Nora Webster, will relish the opportunity to re-encounter Tóibín in verse. Vinegar Hill explores the liminal space between private experiences and public events as Tóibín examines a wide range of subjects—politics, queer love, reflections on literary and artistic greats, living through COVID, and facing mortality. The poems reflect a life well-traveled and well-lived; from growing up in the town of Enniscorthy, wandering the streets of Dublin, and crossing the bridges of Venice to visiting the White House, readers will travel through familiar locations and new destinations through Tóibín’s unique lens. Within this rich collection of poems written over the course of several decades, shot through with keen observation, emotion, and humor, Tóibín offers us lines and verses to provoke, ponder, and cherish.

30 review for Vinegar Hill: Poems

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

    Vinegar Hill: Poems is the first book of poetry by Colm Toibin and what a beautiful collection it was. Vinegar Hill it seems was near the Toibin house and his mother began painting. A favorite part of his beautiful poem: We can see the hill from our house It is solid rock in the mornings As the sun appears from just behind it. It changes as the day does. My mother is taking art classes And, thinking it natural to make The hill her focal point, Is trying to paint it. What colour is Vinegar Hill? How d Vinegar Hill: Poems is the first book of poetry by Colm Toibin and what a beautiful collection it was. Vinegar Hill it seems was near the Toibin house and his mother began painting. A favorite part of his beautiful poem: We can see the hill from our house It is solid rock in the mornings As the sun appears from just behind it. It changes as the day does. My mother is taking art classes And, thinking it natural to make The hill her focal point, Is trying to paint it. What colour is Vinegar Hill? How does it rise above the town? It is humped as much as it is round. There is no point in invoking History. The hill is above all that, Intractable, unknowable, serene, It is in shade, then in light, And often caught between When the blue becomes grey And fades more, the green glistens, And then not so much. The rock also Glints in the afternoon light That dwindles, making the glint disappear. Then there is the small matter of clouds That make tracks over the hill in a smoke Of white as though instructed By their superiors to break camp, They change their shape, crouch down Stay still, all camouflage, dreamy, Lost, with no strategy to speak of, Yet resigned to the inevitable: When the wind comes for them, they will retreat. Until this time, they are surrounded by sky And can, as yet, envisage no way out. What a lovely collection of poems by a favorite Irish writer. It reached across all areas of interest from the Catholic church to the beauty of Ireland to its volatile history to art and poetry. This is a passage that may convey it in Colin Toibin's words: Yeats had the sharp eye of a painter. And, strangely, Liked the talk of Oxford and the English poets, I could not, of course, tell him about my efforts, What others missed. And for one second he almost did. If only he had stopped talking and paid more attention! But the moment passed. They gossip too much, all of them here, If Apollo came to Dublin, he would grow garrulous too, And join their tedious disputes on the merits of Home Rule. This was a fabulous collection of poetry that I do not feel that I have the wherewithal to give any insightful information except that I felt that this debut book of poetry came from Toibin's heart as he put himself out there on so many various subjects from all over the world; Dublin, Barcelona, the White House, San Clemente, Eccles Street, and my favorite, his prayer to St. Agnes. If you are a fan of Colm Toibin or of poetry, don't miss this beautiful book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I didn’t realize when I started it that this was Tóibín’s debut collection; so confident is his verse that I assumed he’s been publishing poetry for decades. He’s one of those polymaths who’s written in many genres – contemporary fiction, literary criticism, travel memoir, historical fiction – and impresses in all. There’s such a range of tone, structures and topics here. Bereavements and chemotherapy are part of a relatable current events background, as in “Lines Written After the Second Modern I didn’t realize when I started it that this was Tóibín’s debut collection; so confident is his verse that I assumed he’s been publishing poetry for decades. He’s one of those polymaths who’s written in many genres – contemporary fiction, literary criticism, travel memoir, historical fiction – and impresses in all. There’s such a range of tone, structures and topics here. Bereavements and chemotherapy are part of a relatable current events background, as in “Lines Written After the Second Moderna Vaccine at Dodgers’ Stadium Los Angeles, 27 February 2021.” Irish-Catholic nostalgia animates the very witty sequence from “The Nun” to “Vatican II.” You can come along on some armchair travels: “In Washington DC,” “In San Clemente,” “Canal Water” (Venice), “Jericho,” and so on. The poems are based around anecdotes or painterly observations; there are both short phrases and prose paragraphs. The line breaks are unfailingly fascinating (any other enjambment geeks out there?). I particularly loved “Kennedy in Wexford,” “In the White House,” “Eccles Street” and “Eve.” Originally published on my blog, Bookish Beck.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Howdle

    Cider vinegar? Malt vinegar? Balsamic vinegar? Rice vinegar? Red wine vinegar? A lot of description without much emotional shaping, a volume that offers "No adjunct to the Muses’ diadem." Cider vinegar? Malt vinegar? Balsamic vinegar? Rice vinegar? Red wine vinegar? A lot of description without much emotional shaping, a volume that offers "No adjunct to the Muses’ diadem."

  4. 5 out of 5

    LeeAnna Weaver

    A lovely collection of poems that transported me back in time to Ireland, to Italy, and to present day America. He is as deft with poetry as he is with prose. The attractive book jacket is a copy of his mother’s paintings of Vinegar Hill, a touchstone of Toibin’s past. From the title poem: “There is no point in invoking History. The hill is above all that, Intractable, unknowable, serene.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dmitry

    Прославленный ирландский романист Колм Тойбин издал свою первую книгу стихов разных лет. Честно признаюсь, сколь бы я ни любил большинство его романов, поэзия мне не зашла. Vinegar Hill (2022) – это такой сборник мыслей, рефлексий и впечатлений о мимолётных моментах, типа Гаспаровских «Записей», которые отлично смотрелись бы как прозаические отрывки внутри большой формы. Темы, которые волнуют тут Колбина: Ирландия и Дублин, Америка и Венеция, ковид и меняющийся мир, пропадающие общественные прос Прославленный ирландский романист Колм Тойбин издал свою первую книгу стихов разных лет. Честно признаюсь, сколь бы я ни любил большинство его романов, поэзия мне не зашла. Vinegar Hill (2022) – это такой сборник мыслей, рефлексий и впечатлений о мимолётных моментах, типа Гаспаровских «Записей», которые отлично смотрелись бы как прозаические отрывки внутри большой формы. Темы, которые волнуют тут Колбина: Ирландия и Дублин, Америка и Венеция, ковид и меняющийся мир, пропадающие общественные пространства – в том числе гейские, о чем в поэме Dublin: Saturday, 23 May, 2015. ‘I would like us to visit,’ One said, ‘some of the places That are gone now, the ones We remember, the gay spots That have fallen off the map. And no one will remember soon.’ И совершенно очаровательна миниатюра о пузырьках шампанского на венгерском члене.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Moving Poems A nice book of poetry looking at his past and present. Some look at the places around his home and town, others look at American politics. All are very moving. My favorite is about missing classic cinemas in his town. I’m a movie lover too.

  7. 5 out of 5

    T P Kennedy

    Much as I love most of his writing, I didn't enjoy this collection. It's more a compendium of thoughts, reflections and impressions of passing moments. Some of these would have worked very well as prose passages. I didn't find the poetic form in this book. Light and not very memorable. Much as I love most of his writing, I didn't enjoy this collection. It's more a compendium of thoughts, reflections and impressions of passing moments. Some of these would have worked very well as prose passages. I didn't find the poetic form in this book. Light and not very memorable.

  8. 4 out of 5

    John Sinclair

    BOOK REVIEW ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Admittedly I don’t read a lot of poetry. I did in my twenties but that was a while ago. So I’m not ready to present a poetry critique here. I love Colm Tóibín’s fiction a lot, so I grabbed a copy of his latest: a slim book of poetry, which I found to be varied and engaging. A pleasant change, really. #bibliophile #book #bookish #booklover #books #books2022 #booksofinstagram #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagrammers #bookworm #homelibrary #instabook #instabooks #reader #re BOOK REVIEW ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Admittedly I don’t read a lot of poetry. I did in my twenties but that was a while ago. So I’m not ready to present a poetry critique here. I love Colm Tóibín’s fiction a lot, so I grabbed a copy of his latest: a slim book of poetry, which I found to be varied and engaging. A pleasant change, really. #bibliophile #book #bookish #booklover #books #books2022 #booksofinstagram #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagrammers #bookworm #homelibrary #instabook #instabooks #reader #readers #reading #readingroom #readersofinstagram #bookreview 2022 📚 23

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Blomme

    Reading poetry is new to me. I read this in starts and stops. I really liked it. It reads as short periods of time. This is the second sort of book like this that I have read. I like poetry like this. They are like little vignettes. Relaxing.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bernie

    This collection of poems hit all over the board for me. Some were boring, some were plain difficult to read, but several stood out (such as” Open House” and “Because the Night”) in my memory. Definitely something worth giving a try if you’ve enjoyed previous works.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Evelyn

    A mixture of pandemic musings, and remembrances of things past including long lost family, friends and loves, homes and public places in the United States and Ireland comprise this mixed bag of poetry. Some poems are good while others are bad.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michael Loveabudge

    I've been living with this pretty closely for about a month now. It's good but still hasn't justified my huge excitement for it. Though I admire its quiet, reserve and transparency, qualities Toibin gets from Bishop among others, I find some of it a bit prosaic, which I don't find Bishop. I like most the showier, riskier poems like Mysterium Lunae. It's the kind of collection that I might grow to like much more, and if there is ever a second then I will definitely read that too. Love this man! I've been living with this pretty closely for about a month now. It's good but still hasn't justified my huge excitement for it. Though I admire its quiet, reserve and transparency, qualities Toibin gets from Bishop among others, I find some of it a bit prosaic, which I don't find Bishop. I like most the showier, riskier poems like Mysterium Lunae. It's the kind of collection that I might grow to like much more, and if there is ever a second then I will definitely read that too. Love this man!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Meghan Raisin

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marybeth

  15. 4 out of 5

    Deaglán Ó Briain

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lira

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kent Winward

  18. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  19. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michael Hare

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine Dove

  24. 4 out of 5

    Megan Brotemarkle

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  26. 5 out of 5

    Louise

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mari

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bradley Coates

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dora Plummer magovern

  30. 5 out of 5

    Priyanka

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