Just about the time Rebecca Vickery asked me to write a short story for her Historical Anthology, I had been thinking of the poetry I wrote for forty years before I ever published a romance. Some of that poetry was very romantic and much of it was based on the Irish Bardic poetry of my childhood. The echo of that style can be heard in the works of Gerard Manley Hopkins, W. B. Yeats and Dylan Thomas, but the earliest written Bardic poetry dates back to about the 6th century, and the oral traditions of bards greatly pre-date that. The “Tain Bo Cuailnge”—the Cattle Raid of Cooley—falls into that category and is mentioned in my story, “Deirdre.” Much of the Bardic writing would hardly be recognizable to modern readers as poetry, comprised as it was of long genealogical records and nearly journalistic accounts of deeds of lords and ancestors. The ancient tale of Deirdre of the Sorrows, with which I was raised, falls roughly into that category and I had begun to wonder if I would like to undertake my own rendering of the ancient tale in a style reminiscent of Bardic poetry yet written as prose. And another project was born!
Together with my contribution to the anthology you can also find a wonderful Highland romance and two pieces of Americana--one set against the backdrop of the Civil War, another in the early coal mining years of our new country.
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