Patricia Briody, Creative Ireland; poet John Ennis; Noel Monahan, editor of Chasing Shadows; and Shelley Corcoran, Creative Ireland Longford.

Contemporary poetry showcased in new anthology

A new anthology featuring 'poetry for the times' from artists across the Midlands and further afield, ‘Chasing Shadows’, launched on August 19, in The Green, Edgeworthstown.

Published by Lapwing Publications, the idea for the anthology, funded by Creative Ireland Longford, is to showcase contemporary national and international poets.

Roughly 300 poets submitted close to 700 works, of which 93 were chosen blindly by award-winning poet Noel Monaghan

“We were overwhelmed with the response which goes to show how alive poetry is today not only in Ireland but worldwide,” says Shelley Corcoran of Creative Ireland Longford.

“Noel Monaghan selected the poetry for the anthology blind, he didn’t know any names, and we had works come into us from all across the midlands and the island of Ireland. It also includes international writers.”

Shelley says the poems vary in subject, ranging in topic from the Covid pandemic, to nature and the environment. “There’s a real mixture of everything”.

Award winning Westmeath poet, John Ennis, who has edited the Poetry Ireland Review and served on the board of Poetry Ireland for eleven years, as well as co-editing three anthologies, says Chasing Shadows is a “miscellany of poetry”, of which his own poem 'Bester' is one.

“These poems, which arrived in their hundreds, hailing from all parts of Ireland to India, were put together under the watchful eyes of Mary Carleton Reynolds, Creative Ireland Longford, Shelley Corcoran, compiler, and Noel Monahan, editor, who has devoted his years to facilitating creative writing in the midlands,” said Noel.

“Poets featured in the miscellany include well established names like Irish-Australian Nathanael O’Reilly, Mary Melvin Geoghegan, Eileen Casey, Gearoid O’Brien, Joan McBreen, Patrick Deeley and John Liddy as well as other younger poets making their mark these days, Leah Keane, Siobhán Spear, David Fallon and SJ Delaney.

“It is impossible in the space of these lines to give any real sense of the richness of the variety of poems,” adds Noel.

“Each reader will bring his or her own built-up perceptions to the poems. Pauline Flood’s Disappearing Nature! is at once a two-page lament, a “rage against” and a poem of celebratory couplets in fourteeners and more, rhyming, off-rhyming, with some consonance, against the disappearance of endangered species, the ‘curlew, quail and corncrake . . .the hare . . .and rabbit, too, diminishing their time in fields of clover’.

“Here is another example of some of the lines that resonated with me, Pauline McNamee’s Climbing Croghan Hill;

“you scooped me onto your shoulders . . .

‘There’s a good crowd on the hill today . . . you wheeze’

. . . sinking deep into your chair beside the range . . .

Now, I stand alone on the step at the back door

Watching the pilgrims climbing Croghan Hill.”

In total twenty-eight contributing poets read for the launch.