NEW HOPE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW

An independent small press poetry review

NHI independent review
MARY O'DONOGHUE: AMONG THESE WINTERS
Dedalus Press
13 Moyclare Road
Baldoyle
Dublin 13
Ireland
ISBN 978 1 904556 70 1
11

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MARY O'DONOGHUE: AMONG THESE WINTERS

Mary O'Donoghue is a poet of intellect and emotion, as befits a Boston professor from Co. Clare. But she is not out of touch with the less academic side of life. Her poems are peopled by Penelope and Archimedes, Violet Elizabeth Bott and Dracula, Mary Quant and Ultravox. The latter turn up in LJUBLJANA:

	Amber and copper and gold and umber,
	Empress Elizabeth's burnished lavabo
	hoards light like sun in a chalice.
	"Oh Vienna!" The Ultravox riff
	makes me laugh out loud at my desk.
O'Donoghue knows about music, literature and art, science and mathematics, and obscure corners of old medicine and psychopathology. The poems contain a wide vocabulary to deal with these subjects. I had to resort to reference books (not always successfully) when faced with phloem, fontanelle, souterrain, gallimaufry, ganglion, jimsonweed, cocklebur, mesomorphic. But in spite of some mysteries the language is like light, coruscating without being flashy, darting and dancing on your retina and ear-drums, making you return to the poems to reread and rethink the shimmering lines.

Poetry and painting make a well-matched combination, and O'Donoghue's painters are a disparate group, Durer, John Singer Sargent, Georgia O'Keefe and the lesser-known Lucien Levy-Dhurmer, in whose HARMONY IN BLUE

	The body swims half-hidden
	by indigoed water, in love
	with its weightlessness
	a foetus or a cosmonaut
From home life to cosmos, these poems range widely, uniting a broad vision with intimate feeling. O'Donoghue weaves words like a wise woman, bewitching the reader to respond like a free-falling parachutist. That's what life is like: the solid ground melts into air.

reviewer: Andrew Belsey.