Mary O’Malley’s ninth collection moves between two landscapes, that of the West of Ireland and the East coast of America. The first section opens with an elegy for a poet and moves through the familiar geography of a house and its hinterland, and ends with a celebration of the redemptive power of music, one of two motifs that run through the book. The second section examines what happens when the poet finds herself ‘ Nel mezzo del camin’ in a changed landscape that takes on the aspect of fairytale and allegory. Among the poems in ‘ Playing The Octopus’ are several meditations on trees. Several poems examine what happens when the world of dream and nightmare are barely held apart. The entire collection is lifted by the sustaining power of myth and the joy of music.