The St Mary’s Mother and Baby Home was run by the Bon Secours Sisters on behalf of the Irish State to house unmarried mothers and their children. The location of the graves of 796 infants and children who died in the Home between between 1926 and 1961 is unknown, though local knowledge, the research of local historian Catherine Corless, and recent excavations point to a field near the old site of the Home, as well as the likelihood that some children were illegally adopted. International media attention in 2014 led to the Irish government’s Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes, which is still underway.
MOTHERBABYHOME is a 796-page ‘report’ comprised of conceptual and visual poetry. An excavation of voices, the poems are composed entirely of text taken from historical archives and contemporary sources related to the Home, including files given to me by Catherine Corless. The 796 poems are printed on transparent vellum and held in a handmade oak box*. MOTHERBABYHOME will also be published in a hardback Reader’s Edition. Both will available from zimZalla Avant Objects in April 2019.
Poems from MOTHERBABYHOME have appeared in Banshee, Blackbox Manifold, gorse, para·text, Paris Lit Up, Poetry Ireland, Poetry Wales, thosethatthis, and in Laudanum’s Chapbook Anthology Volume Two. They were filmed for University College Dublin’s Poetry Reading Archive.
*boxes by Phil Hughes
March 21-April 22, 2019
The Plough Arts Centre Gallery, 9-11 Fore St Torrington EX38 8HQ
selections from MOTHERBABYHOME exhibited in Radical Landscapes: Innovation in Landscape and Language Art curated by Camilla Nelson
April 24, 2019, 5-8 pm
Oonagh Young Gallery, 1 James Joyce Street, Dublin 1
durational performance of the entirety of MOTHERBABYHOME*
April 25, 2019, 3-5 pm
Newman Library, University College Dublin
pop-up readings from MOTHERBABYHOME for Text/Sound/Performance: Making in Canadian Space and Associated Writing Programs Ireland conferences*
*with support from the Centre for Practice-led Research in the Arts