The Wild Goose was a hand-made magazine of verse written and edited by John Boyle O’Reilly aboard the Hougoumont, the last ship to transport British convicts to Australia. O’Reilly (1844-1890) was an Irish Fenian sentenced to life imprisonment for infiltrating the British army and attempted mutiny. O’Reilly escaped from Australia aboard a whaling ship and settled in Boston where he rose to become an editor of The Pilot, a noted poet, and abolitionist.
In a sense, these poems are a little magazine conceived of and drafted in 2018 and 2019 when Gallagher was a poet-in-residence at the Heinrich Boll Cottage, on Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland. In addition to a sequence on O’Reilly, the poems in this book engage the Irish landscape, and the history and myth that formed the identity of some of the Gallagher’s ancestors until British colonialism and associated famine took them to Massachusetts.
Kevin Gallagher is a poet, publisher, and political economist living in Greater Boston, USA, with his wife Kelly, kids Theo and Estelle, and Rexroth the family dog. His recent books are Loom, Radio Plays, and And Yet it Moves. He edits spoKe, a Boston-based annual of poetry and poetics and works as a professor of global development policy at Boston University.