• Reviews

    Fred Johnston reviews The Hollow Woman on the Island

    Whoever penned the jacket blurb unfortunately employed Pentagon-speak with the phrase ‘existential threat’ to describe O’Mahony’s latest collection. I’ve never been sure what the phrase means, politically or otherwise. The threat here arises from O’Mahony’s brush with ovarian cancer and how this experience raised questions about womanhood and ‘female identity’. I suppose for those of us who’ve had prostate cancer, similar male issues ought arise. Do they? Perhaps not quite to the same extent. But one must concede that the ‘hollow woman’ of the title might diagnose a psychological point of view relevant to women, which men do not experience. Unsurprisingly, the second section, which treats of the medical experience,…

  • Reviews

    First review for The Hollow Woman

    Many thanks to John McAuliffe and the Irish Times for including my latest poetry collection, The Hollow Woman on the Island, in the latest reviews round-up. Here’s the link and text: New works by Nessa O’Mahony, Catherine Phil MacCarthy and Patrick Deeley Fri, Aug 30, 2019, 06:00 John McAuliffe Nessa O’Mahony: her work has a confident grasp on family and inheritance. Photograph: Frank Miller Creation and inheritance are at the heart of Nessa O’Mahony’s The Hollow Woman on the Island (Salmon, €12). Although O’Mahony’s style generally aspires to plainspokenness, the book includes a pattern poem or calligram, Simple Arithmetic of the Human Egg, which takes the shape of an egg and counts…

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    Mayo’s Marlowe: The Branchman reviewed in Dublin Review of Books

    A Marlowe from Mayo Pauline Hall The Branchman, by Nessa O’Mahony, Arlen House, 362 pp, £26.95, ISBN: 978-1851321896 In her new novel, The Branchman, Nessa O’Mahony turns to recent Irish history with a fast- moving yarn set in the jittery period shortly after the Civil War. It is an inventive touch to focus on the Civic Guards, whose title echoes the recent troubles. In the town of Ballinasloe, as throughout Ireland, the Garda Síochána are an important group. They stand in many ways at the forefront of efforts to calm and normalise life for a society still traumatised. Yet they too ‑ as individuals and as a force – are divided…

  • Reviews

    Splendid review of The Branchman in The Irish Times

    Declan Burke reviewed The Branchman in Saturday’s Irish Times (1st December 2018) and offered this wonderful appraisal o the novel: The Branchman Poet Nessa O’Mahony publishes her debut crime novel with The Branchman (Arlen House, €15), which opens in 1925 with Michael Mackey, a detective officer in the newly formed Garda Special Branch, sent to the Garda barracks in Ballinasloe “to root out subversion”. Mackey, a veteran of numerous conflicts, isn’t fooled by the beauty of rural Galway: “It all looked innocent enough, but who knew what old animosities were lurking in those green fields?” There’s enough animosity to deliver a murder, certainly, and Mackey quickly discovers himself investigating the…

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    First print review in for The Branchman – and it’s a corker

    Murder and subversion in Ballinasloe  Galway Advertiser, Thu, Nov 08, 2018 – Kevin Higgins NESSA O’MAHONY is primarily a poet, the author of three well received collections, and a verse novel. Much of her previous writing has interrogated the subjects of family and history, often dealing in quite innovative ways with how the two intersect. In her 2014 poetry collection, Her Father’s Daughter, she published a parallel sequence of poems – one relating to her relationship with her own father, whose decline and passing she charted with sometimes aching candour, the second exploring the life of her grandfather, whose story emerges through her mother’s memories and O’Mahony’s own research. Her…

  • Blog,  Reviews

    Ink Pantry review of Her Father’s Daughter

    Natalie Denny of Ink Pantry has reviewed Her Father’s Daughter for the Poetry Drawer section of the website. ‘My page has been empty for months. Forgive me for filling it.’ Nessa O’Mahony’s ‘My Father’s Daughter’ explores the nature of the imperishable and pronounced bonds between fathers and daughters. We embark upon a poetical journey, combining the autobiographical with the historical through two father-daughter relationships spanning two different periods of Irish history. Nessa’s poetry is a raw and at times a painfully honest depiction of her family life, especially those memories surrounding her father and grandfather. The finished article is a commentary on love and loss including the reconstructive and subjective…

  • Reviews

    John O’Donnell reviews Her Father’s Daughter

    Extract from ‘Postcards from the Edge’ by John O’Donnell, Poetry Ireland Review, Issue 117, December 2015 The heart of Nessa O’Mahony’s collection, Her Father’s Daughter, is a poignant and affecting series of reflections on the death of her own father. The book opens with ‘Giving Me Away’, an uneasy father and daughter road-trip which O’Mahony views initially as a sort of atonement by her father – ‘Because you had never walked me down the aisle / you sit 330 miles in the passenger seat, / watching the speed-dial, / miming brakes’ – as they head towards her ‘new start’ in Britain. However the tell-tale signs O’Mahony observes along the way…

  • Reviews

    Review of Her Father’s Daughter (Salmon Poetry 2014)

      Extract from “Past Masters: elegies and the reconstruction of lost worlds”, John McAuliffe, The Irish Times, 22nd November 2014 In Her Father’s Daughter (Salmon, €12) Nessa O’Mahony describes a family history set off by her talent for finishing poems with a surprising turn. The domestic scene of ‘After Noon’ moves from concrete description to a more suggestive note: And I watch the sky cloudless for once in this Irish summer, and think that for the first time in a while, I know how this could be even more perfect. O’Mahony is sure-footed too in a longer narrative sequence about her grandfather, even if its closing motif, of a walking…

  • Reviews

    Reviews of Trapping A Ghost (Bluechrome 2005)

    From New Hope International, edited by Gerald England Nessa O’Mahony is a prize winning poet and TRAPPING A GHOST is her second collection. The poems here revolve around family, including THE WRITING SLOPE a sequence of poems about the poet’s grandmother and her life in 1920s Ireland. These poems are conversational in tone, historically interesting and full of detail. However, sometimes they are almost too conversational in tone, prompting the reader almost to wonder what was gained in transferring these letters and journal entries into poetry, rather than publishing them in their original format. Elsewhere, however, O’Mahony has a fine ear for the sounds of language, as here in the…

  • Reviews

    Reviews of In Sight of Home (Salmon Poetry 1999)

    From Eyewear Wednesday, 9 September 2009 Guest review: Parmar On O’Mahony Sandeep Parmar reviews In Sight of Home By Nessa O’MahonyIt would be too simple to evaluate Nessa O’Mahony’s most recent work, In Sight of Home, on the basis of whether or not it succeeds as a ‘verse-novel’. And yet with the current surge of interest in the form (to the great excitement of ever-present forefinger-wagging genreists) each verse-novel sets itself a near impossible task: balancing the presence of often tedious narrative (see Ruth Padel’s Darwin: A Life in Poems) with the exploration of character through lyric. The trouble, in the case of Padel’s book, is the spectre of Charles…