NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
NESSA O'MAHONY: TRAPPING A GHOST
Bluechrome Publishing
PO Box 109
Portishead
Bristol
BS20 7ZJ
UK
ISBN 1 904781 70 5
7.99 [11.50]

A subsequent collection by the author is IN SIGHT OF HOME (Salmon Poetry ISBN 978 1 907056 07 9)

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NESSA O'MAHONY: TRAPPING A GHOST

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 transfering 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 last stanza of VISITING SILVIA:

	My eyes keep straying to surrounding hills,
	the snow's retreat at boundary walls
	as if heat of any sort were to be found there.
She also has an ability to express things in interesting ways that make the reader stop and think. An example from YORK CHILD:
	and when she sniffs the air,
	she thinks she can smell 
	the opposite of hunger.
Her other strength is in beautiful, perceptive observations, as in FOOLS GOLD IN NORFOLK that describes how pebbles collected at the beach lose their glistening fascination and become:
					pockets full
	of sullen geology.
and here at the end of BALCONY AT ROSIE'S:
	The cat seems sure, kissing
	the path with delicate pads, 
	holding you in her almond gaze,
	teasing you with the answer.
This is a collection of unpretentious poetry of particular appeal to those interested in 20th century Irish history.

reviewer: Juliet Wilson.