"Through their simple, plain-spoken respect for the ordinary forces of the landscape she loves - for its fauna and flora, its 'season of stillness' or its 'disconsolate cry of the lost' - the poems in Joan McBreen's quietly lyrical fourth collection compose a settlement for the heart, even a site for soul-pondering. In brief elegies and celebrations her poems address losses, local phenomena, familial transitions, fashioning language-moments of subdued rapture (bird wings 'the colour of opals') or sharply accented nostalgia (living away from Ireland, she writes that 'one seashell to hold close/ to my ear would do,/ and rain on my face'). 'I sing my own song,' she says in one poem, and in the best of these poems her notes ring sweet and clear, so even winter clouds can 'break, letting in such light.'
Eamon GrennanJoan McBreen
is from Sligo. She divides her time between Tuam and Renvyle, County Galway. Her 2009 publications include a collection, Heather Island
and the anthology The Watchful Heart - A New Generation of Irish Poets - Poems and Essays
. Together with her ongoing involvement with Irish literary festivals such as the Yeats Summer School, Clifden Arts Week, Listowel Writers' Week and The Cúirt International Festival of Literature, since 2007 she has been Literary Advisor and co-ordinator of the Oliver St. John Gogarty Literary Festival at Renvyle House Hotel, Connemara, Co. Galway.