Valparaiso is a book of poems begun at sea on an Irish research ship on which Mary O'Malley was a resident poet. It is a book of searches and discoveries. As the scientists chart a course dictated by the demands of their own researches, as Ireland is careering from boom into bust, Mary O'Malley explores the science of going under and staying afloat. What are the effects of such transformations on the imagination? A key poem, 'Out', escapes from the creative lockdown that the Irish boomtime entailed. She returns to an altered place, and is herself changed by an odyssey that has taken her around the Atlantic and Europe to a kind of homecoming.