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April 28 , 2011

Keats Lives


Keats Lives is Moya Cannon’s fifth collection of poems. It is rich in the moods and rhythms of the poet’s western Irish homeland, its seascapes and mountain ranges. But it also travels further afield, to contemplate the triumphs and mistakes of earlier centuries, their ‘many victories, many collars, little grace’. ‘What shift of bedrock, what metamorphosis,’ asks the poet, ‘might heal such wounded, wounding ground?’ The poems seek an answer in the conversation, the converging, of politics and ecology: tight, shell-like meditations on the natural world are touched with the same humane, precise energy as war-zones and prison camps. In the symbolic curia of the museum and library, where many of Cannon’s poems take off, simple objects are unfolded into their imagined pasts. These are objects that, to paraphrase the collection’s closing poem, ‘we have often seen before, but have never heard’.

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