Emily Cullen is a Galway-based writer, harper, curator and scholar. She has published three poetry collections, Conditional Perfect (Doire Press, 2019), In Between Angels and Animals (Arlen House, 2013) and No Vague Utopia (Ainnir Publishing, 2003), as well as many essays on Irish cultural history and music. Emily was awarded an IRC fellowship for her doctoral research and gained a PhD in English from NUI Galway in 2008. Highly experienced in arts management, Emily served as Director of the Patrick Kavanagh Centenary in 2004 and of Cúirt International Festival of Literature between 2017 and 2019. She has taught Creative Writing – Poetry at the University of Melbourne, Australia and currently teaches Creative Writing with the School of English and Creative Arts at NUI Galway.
Conditional Perfect by Emily Cullen travels the veins of being both artist and mother in an increasingly technological landscape, from the sublime mundanity of ordinary life, to the audible and inaudible music all around us. Cullen enters into the sonorous legacy of the Irish music tradition in her monologues of the harpers, a fitting sequence to complete the vibrant life revealed here, from the collection’s first wheeling poem with its graceful cyclist, through vivid evocations of figures such as Anna Akhmatova and Yeats, summoning spirits while eating plums. With her sharp-brained poems of the personal and the political, Conditional Perfect reaches to the heart of things through the poet’s intimate experience of the world.