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Carrying the Songs

Moya Cannon

Carrying the Songs by Moya Cannon
10% off eBook (EPUB)
Categories: 21st Century, Irish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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(Pub. Aug 2011)
£8.95 £8.05
Paperback (126 pages)
(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.

                 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.



    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 six published collections, the most recent being Donegal Tarantella (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
    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.'
    Bernard O'Donoghue
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