• 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…

  • Blog

    The Family of Things

    I have been enjoying a very creative collaboration with Helen Shaw and her colleagues at Athena Media. They’ve just released a kindle edition to my first book, Bar Talk, long since out of print since it was published in 1999, and we’re currently working on the audio edition with the terrific Amy Miller. Athena produce all sorts of digital content, and are devising a series of podcasts on the theme of The Family of Things, where writers and artists talk about what formed them as creative people. I was delighted when Helen invited me to be the first subject for an interview, and what an interview it proved to be.…

  • Features

    Kind Words and Coronets

    Like many writers with new books out there, I’ve been living in the suspended animation of anxiously awaiting the first book review to appear. While there have been many nice comments about the collection in person, via text, twitter, facebook direct messaging, there’s nothing quite like the gravity of the printed word to concentrate the mind. I’d love to claim a lofty disdain to all reviews, good and bad. But I’ve never been much of a liar – I lost my first book dedication in a poker game, after all. So I will admit that I cherish every nice thing said about my work, and promptly forget every single positive…

  • Features

    Uncovering a Hidden History

    For much of my life, I had absolutely no idea that my grandfather, Michael McCann, had fought in the First World War. I grew up with the image of him as the archetypal Irish nationalist hero of the first decades of the twentieth century. A brooding photograph of him in Free State Army uniform and flat-topped army cap dominated the dresser in my mother’s kitchen; stories of his escapades in the War of Independence and the Civil War were an integral part of family lore. But there was no mention of the earlier conflict my grandfather was involved in, as a Lance Corporal for the Royal Munster Fusiliers. His experience,…

  • Features

    Back to School Time 2014

    It must be the chiller winds and browning leaves, not to mention the crab apples ripening on the tree outside my window, but thoughts turn to the new academic year, and the various courses I’ll be teaching. As I write, there are still some spaces available on the 10-week Finding the Story Course which I facilitate at the Irish Writers Centre in Parnell Square. It’s a day-time course, running from 11am to 1pm and starting on Wednesday 24th September.

  • Poems

    A poem for the first day of spring

    St Brigid’s Day, Woodside Road For Fiona Curran It’s just as well we didn’t bet our souls on it. This first day of pagan spring dawns white, the two-day fall blanking out pavements, children making hay of it with snowballs. One attempts, Sisyphus-style, to roll a boulder heavier than his bodyweight up the embankment. Mothers in tracksuits supervise from front-doors, fathers, scrapers in hand, track warily round cars. Sane people stay indoors, waiting for the equinox and the met office to make it official. But I brave the frost, looking for some augury or other, find it in a melted six inch square in Vi’s planter. I hunker down for…