Anne Fitzgerald: a flash interview

Anne Fitzgerald Author Photograph

1. Your collection “Vacant Possession” shines a light on the horrific treatment of unmarried mothers forced to give up their babies for adoption. Could you tell us something about the public response to your work. Did people approach you to tell their own stories?

Vacant Possession is arranged in four movements. The second movement celebrates the lives of my beloved parents Annie & Charles Fitzgerald. The third and fourth movements explore Devlara & McQuaid’s Architecture of Containment pertaining to Adoption in 20th Century Éire which not only prevails in 21st Century Ireland but thrives.

Given that Vacant Possession’s is the first poetic response to Devlara & McQuaid’s Architecture of Adoption Containment Culture, it is not too surprising that people from all walks of life have reached out to share their experiences, predicaments and reflections with me on foot of reading my volume. Some have travelled across oceans and continents others have crossed phone lines for comfort.

2. Caitriona Palmer calls the collection: ‘Raw, poignant, wrenching, and deeply courageous…’ do you find that poetry is a way of confronting life’s more emotional experiences?

No, I don’t find that poetry is a way of confronting life’s more emotional experiences? For me poetry is a way of life. It is not something I do in my spare time. It is the all. Everything else has to fit around it. The poem always comes first or at least the process of writing it.

3. As well as writing, you also run Forty Foot press. What was the impetus behind that?

The genesis for my publishing house Forty Foot Press emanated from discussions with the historian Kevin Whelan, the late Duchess of Abercorn Sasha Hamilton, founder of The Pushkin Trust in a addition to American foundations. Established in 2006 it is a publishing house for contemporary Irish Fiction and Poetry. Some of our titles include Shane Harrison’s short story collection The Benefits of Tobacco (2007) and his novella The Testimony of Virginia McCabe (2013). We’re delighted to be publishing Dermot McCabe’s Gothic novel trilogy Dredgemarsh in 2020.

Anne is reading in our Poetry Salon on Sunday 29th September at 17.15 in The Harbour Bar, along with Susan Lindsay, John W Sexton, Eileen Sheehan, Jean O’ Brien, and Donald Gardner. With music by Ailie Blunnie.

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