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Trusting Distance
April 2017


Blue Abundance

NoŽl Hanlon

ISBN: 978-1-907056-47-5

Page Count: 92

Publication Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cover Artwork: From 'Signs of Life' (2003), a photographic series by Kristy Edmunds, originally exhibited at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, Oregon, USA. Reproduced with the kind permission of the artist.


About this Book

These poems are astonishing in their strength - the vigour of unjaded senses, the generosity of a mature heart.  Without condescension and without glib reassurance, they offer that strength in the forms of an achieved, at times transcendent art.  Ursula K. Le Guin

NoŽl Hanlon's voice embodies luminous presence.  Whether speaking so keenly and clearly of land she loves in Oregon and Ireland, conversations with neighbours and family, the raising of lambs, planting, nurturing, and harvesting, all the layers of a precious life and world - these are marvellous poems we could live in.  They are that deep and that wide.  Naomi Shihab Nye

This is powerful love poetry; the painful and sometimes durable love achieved between humans - saucy, erotic, candid and funny... and it also has grand, ironic compassion for the earth and the living things that inhabit it in their fleeting way: hens milling about, sheep nurtured to be readied for slaughter, spiders weaving apparitions among the plants, the darkness thundering beneath.  They tell one woman's life stories from the broad fields of Oregon to the landscapes of Clare and Conamara.  A would-be recluse within the warm family, a traveller poised for flight but with her arms in the clay and her poet's passionate eye burrowing into what's beyond...these are rich and disciplined weavings: tart in places, crisp and surprising, calm, questioning, sorrowing, truthful and sensual.  The work of a proper legislator.  Lelia Doolan


Author Biography

NoŽl Hanlon began writing seriously in 1994 when she attended the Flight of the Mind workshop on the McKenzie River in Oregon.  Her poems have been published in the US  and Ireland.  She is a member of a small poetry group which includes several inspirational writers, including Ursula Le Guin and Molly Gloss. She has served on the board of Soapstone, an Oregon residency that provides women writers with a stretch of uninterrupted time for their creative work, and the opportunity to live in semi-solitude in the natural world.  NoŽl herself lives this dream; her own poetry is born out of her relationships with the people, landscapes and animals, tame and wild, of her native Oregon.


Read a sample from this book

Each May in Co. Clare

For years, always in the far-off, she calls
from the cleaved and washed-dark hills, and I've listened. 
I've swept clean the barren distance, searching

through the glow of white buds on blackthorns
for any quivering.  As I sit in stillness, on the cold level
pavement leading to an abandoned village,

the distinctness of her song has become
inseparable from my experience of green
birthing; spring after winter's famine

in a limestone wilderness where blue gentians,
buttery primrose, and lavender or rarer-white orchids
stand beside stinging nettles, thriving on plates of stone. 

When she suddenly settles like the Atlantic wind
on the other side of the wall I'm leaning against,
I shift as fluently as the cattle grazing

to catch a glimpse of her just as she dips away
from a branch. And having named her by her call
I smile as I call back, cuckoo!  Farewell!


Copyright © Noel Hanlon 2010

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