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Moya Cannon

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  • Moya Cannon has published five collections of poetry, her most recent being Keats Lives (2015) from Carcanet Press. Her poems reflect preoccupations with landscape and seascape, with archaeology, with music, with language itself and with our visceral attachment to the beauty of the earth. The work sings of deep connections – the impulse to ritual and pattern that, across centuries, defines us as human, a web of interdependences that continue to sustain the ‘gratuitous beauty’ of our endangered earth. Her previous collection, Hands, (Carcanet Press, 2011) was nominated for the 2012 Irish Times/Poetry Now Award. Earlier collections are Carrying the Songs (Carcanet Press 2,007); The Parchment Boat (Gallery Press, 1997) and Oar, (Salmon Press, Galway,1990;  Poolbeg Press, Dublin, 1994; Gallery Press, Meath, 2,000). A bilingual Spanish/English seclection of her poems, Aves de Invierno, translated by the distinguished Argentinian poet, Jorge Fondebrider, was published by Editorial Pre-Textos, Valencia, Spain, October, 2015.  She spent her childhood in Co. Donegal, lived in Galway for most of her adult life and now lives in Dublin.  She was educated in Donegal, at University College, Dublin, where she studied History and Politics, and at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where she was awarded an M. Phil in International Relations. A winner of the Brendan Behan award and the O Shaughnessy Award, she has held numerous residencies in Ireland and abroad and was 2011 Heimbold Professor of Irish  Studies at Villanova University, P.A.. In autumn 2015 she read at the Poet in the City reading at The Celts Exhibition, British Museum; the 2015 Japanese Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literature, in Hiroshima, Japan; in Librería Norte, Bueno Aires; Fondación Pablo Neruda, Santiago, Chile and at Boston University and Villanova University, USA. She enjoys working with musicians and has collaborated with The Con Tempo String Quartet as well as with harper Kathleen Loughnane and traditional singers Maighréad and Tríona Ní Dhomhnaill. Her work has been widely translated and anthologised. She has been editor of Poetry Ireland Review and is a member of Aosdána, the affiliation of Irish creative artists.

    Praise for Moya Cannon 'Its sterling qualities are manifest and manifold: a deep interiority and soaring lyricism, and an ability to produce what Tim Robinson has termed 'geophany', a showing forth of the earth.'
    Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill
    'The intensely lyrical musings on life, landscape and love stir the heart, disturb the settled thought and, more in this collection than in the earlier, soothe the soul. Like her fellow northerner, Seamus Heaney, Cannon digs deep with the pen. And whilst the theme of sea voyaging and water inform the titles of both her books, that which the earth throws up is of equal fascination.'
    The Cork Examiner
    'Her newly published second collection, The Parchment Boat contains the subtly evoked passion and meditative restraint that was distinctive in Oar, her first collection.'
    The Irish Times
    'All the journeyings envisaged and chronicled by Moya Cannon are to be sought in a remarkable symbiosis of humanity and the 'natural world', a perceived and felt unity of creation which goes light years beyond any mere empathy of imagining. I should not be surprised if a few of Moya Cannon's phrases become, in time, part of our 'poetry-talking': 'the faulted hills', 'the room-sized fields', 'the clay part of the heart.'
    Poetry Ireland Review
    'Complicated things happen simply in these poems. The Burren's dove-saints hatch out under the eyes of raptors; old wooden sailboats of Connemara take root in salt water. Moya Cannon's style is as discreet as the advance of spring over her favoured landscapes. It is good to have a collection of her work to hand, for deep re-reading.'
    Tim Robinson
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