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Carrying the Songs

Moya Cannon

Carrying the Songs by Moya Cannon
RRP: GBP 8.95
eBook (EPUB)
ISBN: 978 1 847778 39 0
Categories: 21st Century, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: August 2011
126 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle)
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Reviews
  • 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.

                 from 'Timbre'
    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.

    '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.' - Eavan Boland



    Winter Birds   13

    Carrying the Songs  14

    Timbre  15

    Our Words  16

    First Poetry  17

    Forgetting Tulips  18

    Augers  19

    Demolition  20

    Oughterard Lemons  21

    Golden Lane    22

    Indigo  23

    Rún     24

    Starlings  26

    Bright City    27

    Stranger 28

    Walking out to Island Eddy    29

    Sheep at Night in the InaghValley  30

    Weaning 31

    Whin    32

    Barbari 33



    To Colmcille Returning  37

    Going for Milk    38

    Script  40

    Shells  41

    Survivors  42

    Breastbone  43

    Exuberance  44

    Banny   45

    Orientation 46

    Aubade  47

    Pollen  48

    Vogelherd Horse, 30,000 BC  49

    Chauvet 50

    The Force  51

    Lamped  52



    Eagles’ Rock    55

    Holy Well  56

    Thirst in the Burren  57

    Oar     58

    Thalassa 59

    ‘Taom’  60

    Tree Stump  61

    Turf Boats  62

    Prodigal 63

    No Sense in Talking  64

    Hills   66

    The Foot of Muckish  67

    Listening Clay    68

    Easter  69

    Scar    70

    Eros    71

    Afterlove  72

    Narrow Gatherings  73

    Dark Spring  75

    Wet Doves  76

    Nest    77

    Crow’s Nest    78

    After the Burial  79

    Sympathetic Vibration  80

    Foundations       81

    Votive Lamp    82


    fromThe ParchmentBoat

    Crannóg 85

    Shards  86

    Introductions     87

    Murdering the Language 88

    Hunter’s Moon    89

    Ontario Drumlin 90

    Patched Kayak   91

    Oysters 92

    Tending 93

    Violin  94

    Viola d’Amore 95

    Arctic Tern    96

    Milk    97

    Winter Paths   98

    Hazelnuts  99

    Mountain   100

    Scríob 101

    Thole-Pin  102

    Easter Houses 103

    Song in Windsor, Ontario 104

    Driving through Light inWest Limerick  105

    Attention  107

    An Altered Gait   108

    Bulbs  109

    Night  110

    Migrations  111

    Between the Jigs and theReels  112

    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 – ... read more
    '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.'
    Eavan Boland
    Praise for Moya Cannon '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.'
    Bernard O'Donoghue
    '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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