The Times Literary Supplement (review date 1973)
SOURCE: Review of Acts and Monuments, in The Times Literary Supplement, July 27, 1973, p. 864.
[In the following excerpt, the reviewer compares Acts and Monuments to Pearse Hutchinson's Watching the Morning Grow and comments that although Ní Chuilleanáin's poems are skillfully crafted, they at times lack flair.]
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin's first collection [Acts and Monuments] is a more obviously unified piece of work than Mr Hutchinson's, the product of a less diffuse, more grave and self-possessed sensibility. A metaphorical fascination with coastlines, sea-voyages and the land threads several of the poems together; and although the book is more restricted in tonal range than Watching the Morning Grow, the vision which inspires its admirably well-sculptured pieces is on the whole more complex and imaginative. Some genuinely original flair seems lacking: there are passages which hover on the brink of real metaphorical sparkle and don't quite make it, never swerving from accomplished craftsmanship but not quite catalysed into really striking effects. But the poems are thoroughly worked and show a deft sense of rhythm, not least in the volume's impressive centrepiece “A Midwinter Prayer”. …