Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Wrong Miracle





Just finished reading Liz Gallaghers debut collection 'The Wrong Miracle' and loved it.Liz Gallagher was born and brought up in Donegal, Ireland but has been living in Gran Canary Island for the past 14 years.Surprisingly, she only began writing about 5 years ago yet has already won a variety of awards in both Ireland and the US: Best New Poet 2007 (Meridian Press, Virginia University) First Prize in The Listowel Writers’ Single Poem Competition 2009 and she was selected by Poetry Ireland for their 2009 Introductions Series in recognition of her status as an emerging poet.I'm sure many more accolades will follow but for now It is hard for me to tell you about this book and do it justice, the best advice I can give you is to read it.If you buy only one poetry book this year, in fact if you only ever buy one book of poetry, buy this one.The cover itself is beautiful but that is almost an irrelevence to what's inside. It's not the wrong miracle at all.Brilliant is the only word for it,well there are much better ones like whoomahabba! And Fabbadabbbdabdabbooo! It's a fantstic book, Paul Durcan ,Eddie Izzard (years ago at his best) Salavador Dali ,even Ted Hughes all spring to mind but none quite fit, the book is uniquely Liz Gallagher,Totally unique.Everything from an angle that we didn't even know was an angle tumbling down a surreal hill that we could never climb and bumping into an oblique juxtaposition with a head turning, mind turning THUD!Zest and zing and humour and sadness and a fair bit of grit further in. We have love, we have war, we have people throwing shoes, we have fun, depth, darkness, we have life in all it's zest and zing all it's confusion and doubt and glory.In many ways it's mad to use words like surreal and juxtaposition for these lines and images that make perfect sense of themselves and the moment.They are beautiful poems and I'm going to start again and read one or two each day in my best chair with a quality beer and silence. This book would be great for poetry lovers but perhaps more importantly , it would be great for people who have never read poetry and for people who are totally pissed off with it.Everyone should read this book, they deserve it.I think 'POETRY' might not be a good enough word to describe this book. That royalties from this book go to the 'Sands' (The stillbirth and neonatal death charity) Is a small snapshot of the compassion and kindness that Liz exudes in every poem. Here is one of my favourites from the book.

A Poem that Thinks It Has Joined a Circus


A handkerchief is not an emotional holdall.
A cup of tea does not eradicate all-smothering sensations.
A hands-on approach is not the same as a hand-on-a shoulder
willing a chin to lift and an upper arm to stiffen.
A forehead resting on fingers does not imply that the grains
of sand in an hourglass have filtered through.
A set of eyes staring into space is not an indictment that the sun
came crashing down in the middle of the night.
A sigh that causes trembling and wobbly knees should be
henceforth and without warning trapped in a bell jar and retrained
to come out tinkling ivories with every gasp.
A poem trying to turn a sad feeling on it's head does not constitute
a real poem, it is a cancan poem,dancing on a pinhead
and walking a tightrope with arms pressed tightly by it's sides.


Ps Liz will be stopping by Castle EEjit on her virtual world book tour sometime in Nov and I'm looking forward to that.

25 comments:

steven said...

hey t.f.e. nice review. she's new to me and i like the excerpt you shared here. i am captivated by her insight, especially this: "a sigh that causes trembling and wobbly knees should be
henceforth and without warning trapped in a bell jar and retrained
to come out tinkling ivories with every gasp . .. " you said it!!!! cheers steven

Rachel Fox said...

You're right with the unique word. There are so many people writing poetry just now that it is hard to have an individual voice I think. Liz does it with ease. Or at least it comes over that way. It's probably the last thing on her mind.
x

Dominic Rivron said...

Didn't know any LG, but I do now. Sounds a good book. I found 2 more of her poems on the net, too.

willow said...

A cancan poem. Love that.

Jeanne Iris said...

I just read my copy of _The Wrong Miracle_ last week and posted Liz's and Nuala's books together on my profile page on Facebook. Couldn't get both pics up at the same time, tho. Bummer! Anyway, I described their writing as follows: "Poetry that reads like prose and prose that reads like poetry."

John Hayes said...

Interesting poet based on the poem you quoted--I do think "unique" is justified, & good, too. Will look into her writing further.

Jeanne Iris said...

Oops.... I just looked back at my note and had revised it, so it actually reads, "Where prose and poetry intertwine..." I kinda like that even better.

Sorry... I often have trouble keeping up with my own revisions. : )

Heather said...

I have just read Liz Gallagher's poem and am now wondering if I will have the courage to join in your challenge for tomorrow!!

Titus said...

TFE, you can't say it clearer than that. I'm getting a copy.

Poet in Residence said...

Sorry TFE, unfortunately I can't make it tonight. Aunty Erna's cat just lost another life. She's 89. It's getting scary out there. By the way, I've left a fiver with Dave behind the bar.
Good poem choice from the book. Will look out for Liz Gallagher. I've got a Liz Lochead somewhere. Must dig it out in the meantime. I've seen her live. LL, I mean. She's pretty cool. Great sensauma.

Totalfeckineejit said...

No bother PIR,there's always next time.89 is a mighty age for a cat.Thanks for the fiver.Hope Aunty is ok.Liz Lochead, yes ,I've heard of her.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Absolutely brilliant poem. Love it - shall visit the site and read them for myself. See you tonight at seven.

Liz said...

TFE, thanks, bet the tickled pink glow plastered on my face is visible right across the blogosphere...plus the sound of speechlessness...muchos cheers and likewise-stuff
x

Totalfeckineejit said...

Nice words as usual, thanks Steve.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Yes, Rachel, she's a natural for sure.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Thanks for those links Domgoogleron, hadn't seen them before.It really is a good book,buy it!

Totalfeckineejit said...

A deadly notion,isn't it Willow?

Totalfeckineejit said...

See you've got both pics up now Jeanne.I haven't finished Nuala's book yet but I like what I've read so far and looking forward to the rest(slow reader!)

Totalfeckineejit said...

Thanks John,unique she is for sure!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Now Heather,you don't have to be as good as liz till next weeek!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Brilliant, Titus, thanks, you'll love it or I'll give you the money back!Do dogs have money by the way?

Totalfeckineejit said...

Looking forward to it Weaver,I've wire brushed my teeth specially.

Totalfeckineejit said...

You're most welcome Liz,congrats on the book.

j. said...

that was quite a wonderful poem.

thank you for sharing.

-j.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Tis a great poem J and the rest of the book is as good!