In The Voyage of St Brendan, A.B. Jackson tells the tale of the legendary seafaring Irish abbot in poetry and prose. After burning a book of fantastical stories, Brendan is compelled to sail the ocean with a crew of six monks in a leather-skinned currach; his task, to prove the existence of wonders in the world and create a new book of marvels. Discoveries include Jasconius the island-whale, a troop of Arctic ghosts, a hellmouth of tortured souls, a rock-bound Judas, and the magical castle of the boar-headed Walserands.
Although the roots of this legend lie in early Irish immrama and the Latin Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis of the ninth century, Jackson has taken the fourteenth-century Middle Dutch version of Brendan’s voyage as the template for this engaging and spirited interpretation, making it recommended reading for scholars of medieval literature and lovers of fantasy adventure alike. The book includes a series of black and white linocuts by the American artist Kathleen Neeley.
Brenda, son of Cara, son of Finnlug.BRENDAN
(@BloodaxeBooks, 24 June 2021, ebook, 80 pages, #ARC from publisher via @edelweiss_squad)
This is a new poet for me. I really loved The Voyage of St Brendan so will check out the poet’s other work. I’d never heard if St Brendan before so the lore and origins that inspired this collection of prose and poetry. This was a real treat, scattered throughout with lovely illustrations. I enjoyed the poems the best, beautiful imagery and descriptions. The prose sections were excellent as well, beautifully written. I loved the way the poetry, prose and illustrations flowed so well together. I read the book on kindle so I think some of the impact of the style of the collection was lost. I’d love to read it in print to get the full experience. I really loved it.