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Where the Wind Sleeps: New & Selected Poems / Noel Monahan

Where the Wind Sleeps: New & Selected Poems

By: Noel Monahan

€14.00
In a secular post-national Ireland, Noel Monahan strives to belong somewhere, always searching to find home. A series of meditative sonnets takes him to the stillness of ruins of medieval monasteries on the islands of Lough Ree. Here, the ether of the past generates poetic energy. In this in-between world, the past lingers in the “slow noise of old ways dying”. Yet, Monahan’s territory is everywhere. He extends the param...
Pub Date Thursday, May 01, 2014
Cover Image Pádraig Lynch
Page Count 172
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In a secular post-national Ireland, Noel Monahan strives to belong somewhere, always searching to find home. A series of meditative sonnets takes him to the stillness of ruins of medieval monasteries on the islands of Lough Ree. Here, the ether of the past generates poetic energy. In this in-between world, the past lingers in the “slow noise of old ways dying”. Yet, Monahan’s territory is everywhere. He extends the parameters of Irishness, shifts from writing in English to Irish. He gives us a modern Irish version of the Mad Sweeney story. He engages with Europe: Pessoa’s Lisbon, Budapest, Sardinia’s Nuraghi culture. Where the Wind Sleeps: New & Selected Poems features selections from five previous collections, published over twenty-three years, as well as new work and gives us an intriguing insight into Monahan’s observations at the edges of time and place.

Noel Monahan

Noel Monahan was born in Granard, Co. Longford. He has won numerous awards for his poetry and writing. His awards include: The SeaCat National Poetry Award, organised by Poetry Ireland, The RTE P.J. O’Connor Award for drama, The ASTI Achievements Award, The Hiberno-English Poetry Award and The Irish Writers’ Union Poetry Award. He has read his work on Sunday Miscellany, RTE Radio 1, and in a number of universities in Europe and North America. His poetry was prescribed text for Leaving Certificate English, 2011 & 2012. Chalk Dust is Noel Monahan’s eighth collection of poetry. A number of his poems have been translated into Italian, Russian, French and Romanian. For twenty-six years he has worked with Heather Brett as co editor of Windows Publications.   Recently, he has had work included in the following anthologies: Windharp, edited by Niall MacMonagle and published by Penguin, Tra Una Vita E L’Altra, published by Guanda, Italy, Lost Between, New Island Press, Everything To Play For, published by Poetry Ireland, Even The Daybreak, published by Salmon, and Reading The Future, New Writing From Ireland, Arlen House. Noel Monahan holds an M.A. in Creative Writing. 

Where the Wind Sleeps
Something will come to you in a dream that
Will help you find your way in abandoned places.
Here, the wind sleeps with nettles and briars
In half-empty walls and the owl hatches 
Her chicks in the belfry. Here apparitions
Of monks in off-white habits sleepwalk
Holding empty skulls in their hands and listening 
To the slow noise 
Of old ways dying.
Each in his solitude finds dereliction,
Prayer that does not rest on words but lives
In darkness and out of the depths of night
Heaven falls like snow on a linen altar,
Two candles burn, carnations as white as
Children’s teeth are little nails of glory and grief.



Nuraghi Fields
i.m. Seamus Heaney

When they buried you in Bellaghy
I was somewhere else, out here
In Alghero, climbing the nuraghi fields
Where stones and more stones stand,
Life hardly changes, bushes bend
With the ways of the wind, sheep rest,
Tomatoes, figs are laid out to dry.
Up here with plants, 
animals and wind,
I picked blackberries in your honour,
Gave voice to the lines from the poem:
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not,
Down from the mountainside, I lit a candle
At La Chiesa Misericordiae, dipped my finger
In the font of mercy. 



Opposite Walls

The Battle of Mons
Hung on the wall,
A black and white print,
With the Ninth Lancers charging
Horses’ eyeballs wild with war,
Fierce spikes on the German helmets.

Across from Mons
On the opposite wall
A print of the 1916 Rising,
Sandbags piled in the windows,
Connolly on a stretcher, Pearse’s side-face
Pale with the thought of surrender.

“The Kaiser Kelly fought
In both wars”, my father said.
Every time I sat down to eat
I saw him leave Mons
Hurdle over plates, sugar and milk,
Across the table
To be in Dublin for the rising.


Copyright © Noel Monahan, 2014
Review: John McAuliffe reviews Where the Wind Sleeps: New & Selected Poems for THE IRISH TIMES, Saturday, June 7th 2014

SHOCK OF THE NEW IN SELECTED POEMS …
Noel Monahan reviewed alongside Harry Clifton, Tom Paulin, Paul Perry 

A selected poems offers not just a useful way to gauge the continuities and changes in a poet’s work but also a different vantage point on the broad field of Irish poetry in recent decades.

Noel Monahan’s Where The Wind Sleeps: New and Selected Poems (Salmon, €14) collects work from five previous collections and a substantial set of new poems. Monahan’s poems are sociable and realist, and readers will recognise the world he describes and his perspective on it.

An extract from Diary of a Town simply goes around the houses, juxtaposing “ Mary Verdon is dreaming of dying before Christmas / But that happens every year” with “Busty Mahety joins Hughie Small and The Danger Smith / In the Star Bar”, while The Funeral Game surreally remembers a childhood game, “ John Joe beat the dead march on a saucepan. // We held wakes, issued death certificates / To old crows, kittens, chickens.”
The more recent work is smoother but less distinctive: the funerals and elegies are real now, which may be why the poems feel toned down.


Other Titles from Noel Monahan

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