Legal fears that Rita Ann’s new book will be destroyed

City poet feels her work has been violated by this censorship, but takes action to protect the publisher

Rita Ann Higgins pictured in Galway this week. 
Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Rita Ann Higgins pictured in Galway this week. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Nine hundred copies of Hurting God, a new collection of essays and poems by Galway’s Rita Ann Higgins, may have to be pulped following controversy over some of its passages.

A new edition, with the controversial passage removed, is being prepared by Salmon Poetry in order to be ready for the collection’s official launch in the Town Hall Theatre this Saturday at 2pm.

A passage in one of the book’s essays was objected to by a Galway person who demanded it be removed. Ms Higgins was concerned that any legal action which may have be taken over the passage could inflict severe financial damage on Salmon and she agreed to remove the paragraph.

“I feel that my work has been violated by this censorship,” Ms Higgins told the Galway Advertiser. “I see this book as a loving tribute to my parents and my family. I don’t support censorship but I do support Jessie Lendennie of Salmon Poetry.”

The new book, Hurting God is subtitled ‘part essay, part rhyme’ and features poetry and autobiographical prose. The inspiration for this approach came from an essay Ms Higgins wrote for Salmon on writing poetry.

“I wrote the essay for Jennie and thought ‘I could do that again’, so I called her and said, ‘Jessie I have an idea’,” said Ms Higgins. “She loved it and that was good as I need deadlines, I need to be under pressure. In some instances the essays were in response to poems written a long time ago and some of the poems were written in response to the essays.”

Rita Ann Higgins is interviewed in depth about her work and her new collection by Kernan Andrews in the Galway Advertiser’s entertainment section, The Week. See page 75.

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