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Carrying the Songs
10% off all versions
Categories: 21st Century, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (126 pages)
(Pub. Sep 2007)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Sep 2007)
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A word does not head out alone.
It is carried about the way something essential,
a blade, say, or a bowl,
is brought from here to there when there is work to be done.
Sometimes, after a long journey,
it is pressed into a different service.
Carrying the Songs explores what is lost to time and change, and what endures and is transformed: languages and landscapes, artefacts and songs, carried through a lifetime, across oceans, across centuries. A long-forgotten Gaelic word surfaces from childhood and is reanimated by use; a tiny Stone Age carving speaks across millennia of a shared human impulse to create. At the heart of this collection is migration, the rhythm that draws together the natural and the human worlds. Luminous and precise, Moya Cannon's poetry resonates like remembered songs.
Included with the new poems in Carrying the Songs is a generous selection of the poems from Moya Cannon's much-praised earlier collections, Oar and The Parchment Boat.
Winter Birds 13
Carrying the Songs 14
Our Words 16
First Poetry 17
Forgetting Tulips 18
Oughterard Lemons 21
Golden Lane 22
Bright City 27
Walking out to Island Eddy 29
Sheep at Night in the InaghValley 30
To Colmcille Returning 37
Going for Milk 38
Vogelherd Horse, 30,000 BC 49
The Force 51
Eagles’ Rock 55
Holy Well 56
Thirst in the Burren 57
Tree Stump 61
Turf Boats 62
No Sense in Talking 64
The Foot of Muckish 67
Listening Clay 68
Narrow Gatherings 73
Dark Spring 75
Wet Doves 76
Crow’s Nest 78
After the Burial 79
Sympathetic Vibration 80
Votive Lamp 82
Murdering the Language 88
Hunter’s Moon 89
Ontario Drumlin 90
Patched Kayak 91
Viola d’Amore 95
Arctic Tern 96
Winter Paths 98
Easter Houses 103
Song in Windsor, Ontario 104
Driving through Light inWest Limerick 105
An Altered Gait 108
Between the Jigs and theReels 112
Praise for Moya Cannon 'Three decades of poems from one of Ireland's finest contemporary writers. It is assured, consistent and has a quality both ancient and timeless.'
Seán Hewitt, Irish Times Best Books of the Year 2021
'From start to finish the freshness and vitality as well as the accomplished choice of image and expression reveal themselves...This is a super collection.'
Malcolm Carson, The High Window
'Across three decades of work, these poems demonstrate the marked consistency of a poet whose early collections are accomplished and assured, and who knows how to take her time, and how best to use it... This is an essential book for anyone interested in contemporary Irish poetry. If, for Emily Dickinson, a good poem should make one feel as though the top of one's head were taken off, Moya Cannon's have the effect of blowing an ember, of kindling a light, revealing the strange images passed down to us.'
Seán Hewitt, The Irish Times
'Reading these poems is often akin to travelling through time - or being made aware of layers of time before our own'
Robyn Bolam, The High Window
'The unshowiness of her work, the apparent careful weighing of words, is one of its appealing characteristics: for Cannon this seems not just a question of style but a necessary way in which to be true to her own sense of wonder in the world.'
Gerard Smyth, Dublin Review of Books
'Moya Cannon has a talent for the long shot; whole vistas open up in a handful of words... a master at evoking [time's] mysterious slippery quality... [her] unerring pared back poems express [a] deep knowledge and affection again and again.'
Martina Evans, The Irish Times
'A revelation in its range and depth. These poems are written out of Moya Cannon's enduring preoccupations: with history - especially the history of exile and displacement - with music, language, loss. True to the shifts of real experience, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes ironic, she deploys an understated technique, in a voice that is deliberate, exact and witty. Here are poems, landscapes alive with birds, people and stories, that show us our world, our past and culture through the gift of just, joyful words; they help us to reflect and to live.'
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin 'In this new collection, Moya Cannon, through intent attention to light and sound and the natural materials that produce them, touches the very principle of life itself. Hands is a profoundly moving set of meditations on what it means to be alive, physically and emotionally.'
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