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By Eleanor Hooker

A Tug of Blue

Eleanor Hooker’s second collection of poems sees her move increasingly beyond the confines of home into a more profound relationship with the elements. Images of house and home besieged by storms (“Rain pushes under slates / and spits on the floor”) open into poems where the poet discovers new versions of herself in the mirror of lake water, in the reflections language makes possible, if not inevitable.

Description

Eleanor Hooker’s second collection of poems sees her move increasingly beyond the confines of home into a more profound relationship with the elements. Images of house and home besieged by storms (“Rain pushes under slates / and spits on the floor”) open into poems where the poet discovers new versions of herself in the mirror of lake water, in the reflections language makes possible, if not inevitable.

The haunting and haunted atmosphere of her first collection, The Shadow Owner’s Companion, is still very much in evidence, and there is a dramatic impulse in the work not commonly found in contemporary Irish verse. This new work reveals a poet who has grown immeasurably in confidence, increasingly sure-footed in negotiating external as well as internal worlds, all the while managing to balance her trademark flickering candle-lit lyrics with found poems, poems that appropriate the mood and tone of Sense and Sensibility, and, among the finest here, poems that see her follow that “tug of blue” out into the beauty, and very real dangers, of “open water”.

 

Weathering

I keep my appointment with Rain.
We meet in the wrong room. Upstairs.
Rain is … melancholy. She rinses
a naked bulb that hung itself
on white wire. It ran out of light,
she says, spreading her fall
from the room’s unfathomed sky.

Rain enquires if I’ve brought questions.
I am allowed four. Four only.
Before I can deny it, she presses
her sodden lips to mine.
Not now, she says. They are come.

The sash windows unlace their gowns
so that ghost ships, dragging nets
filled with memories absolved
by Rain, can sail through them.

And as we watch, Rain says,
These are your questions:
Why is it they hide in there?
Why is it they turn from me?
Is it to the same place they go?
And is it the same story they weather?

Rain says, there is no tenderness
in the absence of joy, and, in the absence
of joy, songbirds squabble.

When there is nothing left to say,
Rain envelops me; her hair lies on my face
like tears, and inside my closed mouth,
hummingbirds fly backwards into my throat.

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Product Detail

  • ISBN: : 9781910251225
  • Size: : 140 x 216 mm
  • Pages: : 71
  • Published: : October 2016

About The Author

Author

Eleanor Hooker was born in Tipperary in 1963. She lived in the UK for many years before returning to live in Tipperary. Her first collection, The Shadow Owner’s Companion (2012), was shortlisted for the Strong/Shine Award for best first collection. She has won the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Poetry Competition, the Irish Writers Centre’s Francis X Buckley Flash Fiction competition, awarded 2nd place WOW! Poetry Prize, joint 2nd Prize in the William Trevor/Elizabeth Bowen International Short Story Competition. Her poems have been listed for the Troubadour Poetry Prize (UK), Pushcart Prize (USA), Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize, Listowel Original Short Poem. Her poetry has been published in journals including: Poetry Ireland Review, POETRY (Chicago) Agenda, The Stinging Fly, The SHOp, The Moth, POEM, The Irish Times, Irish Examiner and broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1. Magdalena Chojnowska translated five of Eleanor’s poems for the Polish journal artPAPIER. Eleanor has a BA (Hons 1st) Open University, an MA (Hons) Cultural History, University of Northumbria, an MPhil in Creative Writing (Distinction) from Trinity College, Dublin. She is Programme Curator for the Dromineer Literary Festival and helm for Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat. Her second collection A Tug of Blue will be published in 2016. (www.eleanorhooker.com) "The Shadow Owner’s Companion is “teeming with both major and minor poems of really notable excellence and quirky intelligence… Hooker has a brilliantly nutured and culturally stretched imagination...” — Thomas McCarthy, Poetry Ireland Review

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