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Carrying the Songs

Moya Cannon

Carrying the Songs by Moya Cannon
RRP: GBP 8.95
Available from: Amazon LogoBuy now from Amazon
eBook (Kindle)
ISBN: 978 1 847778 40 6
Categories: 21st Century, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: August 2011
126 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), Paperback, eBook (PDF)
  • 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 is an Irish poet with five published collections, the most recent being Keats Lives (Carcanet). The mountains, the shoreline and our primal and enduring responses to the beauty of the endangered earth are the inspiration for many of her poems. Archaeology and geology figure too as gateways to deeper ... 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 '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.'
    Bernard O'Donoghue
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