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Categories: 21st Century, American, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (72 pages)
(Pub. Sep 2015)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Jan 2015)
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Keats Lives is Moya Cannon’s fifth collection of poems. Characteristically rich in the moods and rhythms of the poet’s western Irish homeland, it is also drawn farther afield, towards contemplation of the disasters of previous centuries, their ‘many victories, many collars, little grace’. ‘What shift of bedrock, what metamorphosis,’ asks the poet, ‘might heal such wounded, wounding ground?’ An answer is sought in the conversation – the conversion – between politics and ecology: precise, shell-like meditations on the natural world – snow drops and almond blossom, nights of summer thunder – are described with the same humane, delicate energy as warzones and prison camps. Between these extremes, and balanced by them, Homer and Achilles, Shakespeare and Cromwell, ‘cattle-herders, butter-makers, singers, dancers’ live out their ‘sliver of the earth’s time’ by the same equalizing measure of mountains and forests, ‘the gold-struck, mercury sea’. The collection unifies these pasts in the symbolic curia of the museum and library, from where so many of Cannon’s poems take wing, pursuing objects beyond their material presence into their haunted pasts, objects that, to paraphrase the collection’s closing poem, ‘we have often seen before but have never heard’.
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 'These wonderful poems lay down not just a landscape and a history, but a music which is all their own, through which the reader can enter a unique dialogue between elegy and celebration.'
'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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