Gather round me, all ye ladies fair,
And ye gentlemen of renown;
Listen, listen, and to me repair,
Whilst I sing of beauteous Dublin town.
The Irish have long been associated with great writing generally and with poetry specifically. The love of language pervades this strong culture, and the Irish people have long shared poetry with each other, whether in the street, in the home, or in the pub. These poems may be bawdy or tragic, but there is always something quintessentially Irish about them.
In Gather Round Me, Christopher Cahill has put together a collection of the best of these popular poems, found in newspapers, heard in pubs, or put down in diaries. With explanatory notes that make the verse more accessible, these poems give voice to the Irish character, full of humor, mischief, and wit.
Like a long night in the flaring glow of a pub, Gather Round Me mixes the playful and the tragic, the melancholy and the ironic, and it reminds us finally of a dispossessed people's need for songs and poems that could always be carried in their hearts and minds. --Billy Collins
"A peerless collection of classic and contemporary poetry from Ireland . . . This book is a must-have for anyone seeking an artistic air of Eire." --Phil Hall, New York Resident
"Diversity of styles and subjects makes for a lively collection, true. But what makes Gather Round Me such a lovely collection is the unique harmony of irrepressible voices joined together in-to swipe a phrase from 'The Outlaw of Loch Lene'-'the sweet wild twist' of Irish verse." --Kathleen Johnson, Kansas City Star
"A lovely rattlebag, a saddlebag, a grab bag of poems. Christopher Cahill has put together a collection that gathers us around four hundred years of love, life, and lament. There's a marvelous eclectic arc in operation here. Cahill invents a hearth where we are invited to sit from early morning until nightfall, so open a bottle and set aside the parting glass. --Colum McCann, author of Dancer