Reviews

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

Grandad_2

 

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 stick being handed down from one generation to another, seems to elide some of the more difficult aspects of family inheritances.
Like [Kerry] Hardie, she can be suspicious of her own facility, and ‘Portrait of the Artist’s Father’ is usefully self-conscious: ‘My words were cool, disapproving: / those tidy coal-strokes of the dead. // Now what else can I do / as I sit and watch you sleep / one of your countless / dress rehearsals?”

Having spent 15 years in journalism and public relations, Nessa O’Mahony was one of the first writers in Ireland to complete a PhD in Creative and Critical Writing in 2007. Her verse novel 'In Sight of Home' was published by Salmon in 2009. Her third collection of poetry, 'Her Father's Daughter' was published by Salmon in 2014. Her latest work, an historic crime thriller entitled The Branchman, is published by Arlen House in September 2018.

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