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Feather | Anne Connolly

Feather | Anne Connolly

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    Anne Connolly is a widely published poet who values her Irish roots, her friends, who are always an inspiration, and above all her family, now into the fourth generation! She delights in writing, reading and performing her poetry at events and festivals. It is the music of her life. She has been the Chair and Makar of the Federation of Writers (Scotland) and has numerous links with the poetry world throughout these islands. Feather has been a focus and companion during Covid and other challenges.
    ‘Fly well old friend!’


    ‘In its linguistic verve, its sharp images and deep compassion this collection is a delight. Anne Connolly shows herself a master of varied form and can craft a dramatically bird-shaped poem in “Dark Wing” with as little seeming effort as she can turn a musical couplet in the lovely closing poem “Joy-Bird”. As its title implies, birds are never far away in Feather but neither is joy. Although many of the poems tackle harsh subjects—the Famine, Bobby Sands’ hunger strike, the dispossession of the Choctaw in America—and do not shirk their realities, joy runs through the collection like an underground stream bubbling up when you least expect: a child bird-scarer whose brother has nightmares from working as a chimney-sweep meets perhaps unexpected kindness from the farmer’s wife with her “apron/filled with windfalls” (“Scarecrow”); the grim discovery of the bodies of newborns in the grounds of an erstwhile mother and baby home is redeemed, literally, by the birth of Jesus to a mother “Almost a child herself” (“Candlemas 2019”). Refreshingly, Anne Connolly engages with stories from the Christian tradition in a spirit of not uncritical faith, informed by a generosity of spirit which rejects dogmatism: “Conscience/isn’t made of voting binary”. Add to all this her bravura use of language, which easily shifts between English, Gaeilge and Scots expressions, and is never banal: an old water-tub “glisters with fistfuls of sky”, a quern is “gritty with the memory of grain”—and how could anyone who loves words not be beguiled by snails who “leave a luminous script”, “long-skint bones” and the discovery that “croque-mort” is another name for “undertaker”?’


    —A. C. Clarke


    ‘Having acquired the two volumes, A Ravel of Yarns and Once upon a Quark, “enjoy” is an understatement. These poems reflect a unique voice which combines, as needed, the sonority of an Edith Sitwell, the delight in the everyday of a Wendy Cope, the political and historical awareness of a Kipling and the spiritual depth of an R.S. Thomas.’


    —Canon Andrew Willie

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