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Nourishment / Anne Le Marquand Hartigan

Nourishment

By: Anne Le Marquand Hartigan

€12.00
Nourishment celebrates the feasts, and mourns the fasts, of deep sexual love. Essential nourishment indeed: for this is what it is to be fully human, to rejoice in the radiant dance of one's body with another's, and to sing soul unto soul. Anne Hartigan's work has always been acutely tuned to the sacredness of the sensual. Her rhythms spring from the page, re-inventing themselves with echoes of chants and prayers and charms....
ISBN 1 903392 48 9
Pub Date Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Cover Image Anne Hartigan
Page Count 72
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Nourishment celebrates the feasts, and mourns the fasts, of deep sexual love. Essential nourishment indeed: for this is what it is to be fully human, to rejoice in the radiant dance of one's body with another's, and to sing soul unto soul. Anne Hartigan's work has always been acutely tuned to the sacredness of the sensual. Her rhythms spring from the page, re-inventing themselves with echoes of chants and prayers and charms. These poems reinvent and rewrite the erotic before our eyes, and 'rinse and wring the ear' with their rare emotional intelligence and compassion.

Catherine Byron


In Nourishment Hartigan explores the possibilities of love, sex and desire. The age-old association of food and sexuality is inscribed with the sacred connotations of a "holy sin", a private ritual that encompasses physical and emotional healing as well as the creative possibilities of words rooted in bodily experience. Love is both constructed by the social and unquestionably ruled by the needs of the individual. Hartigan's poems accomplish the difficult task of writing about love without ever falling prey to sentimentality. At times purely physical, at times deeply in love, her voice contributes to the dismantling of old-fashioned conceptions of female sexuality. These poems are a treat for the senses and present Anne Hartigan as undoubtedly one of the most talented voices in contemporary Irish poetry.

Luz Mar Gonzalez Arias, Universidad de Oviedo, Asturias, Spain

Anne Le Marquand Hartigan

Anne Le Marquand Hartigan was a prize-winning poet, playwright and painter. She trained as a painter at Reading University, England. She returned to Co. Louth, Ireland, in 1962 with her husband Tim Hartigan where they farmed and reared their six children. She lived in Dublin until her death in 2023. She published seven collections of poetry: Unsweet Dreams (Salmon, 2011); To Keep The Light Burning: Reflections in times of loss (Salmon, 2008); Nourishment (Salmon, 2005); Immortal Sins (Salmon, 1993); the award winning long poem with Anne’s drawings, Now is a Moveable Feast (Salmon, 1991); Return Single (Beaver Row Press, 1986); Long Tongue (Beaver Row Press, 1982). Her prose work includes Clearing The Space: A Why of Writing (Salmon, 1996). Her play Beds was performed at the Damer Hall in 1982 as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. Hartigan won the Mobil Prize for Playwriting for her play The Secret Game in 1995. In Other Worlds (2003) was commissioned and performed by Ohio University, USA, then performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. Jersey Lilies was performed at the Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin 1996, where Anne acted with Robert Gordon in this two hander. La Corbiere was performed at the Project Theatre during the Dublin Theatre Festival 1989, and has since been performed in Beirut 2004 and by Solas Nua Theatre Company in Washington DC July 2006 where it was the pick of the Fringe festival.

Nourishment

Because I have lain on your deep Africa
Gorse light and dusty cinnamon, burnt umbers
You drank deep of my waters north and south,
Arising dripping, a dark god. Knowledge of interiors.
How simple to exchange continents, to play so easily
A classic music.

Child's play, intricate and private, allowing love space
To move in. A sacred grove, rowan, ash, laurel
To cast and shed spells. This enchantment is as natural
As the moon. This is the first touch. Shock: your unknown
Face, skin. I roam in ochres, duns, siennas, gifts
Spread before me on the white cloth. This is the necessary
Air and water, the bread my mouth waters for, it can go on.
Review by James J. McAuley, The Irish Times, Saturday 3rd September, 2005

Anne Le Marquand Hartigan begins with an invitation-poem: "Here, take this/scatter of poems before you..." Is the reader addressed? No, the ironic last line - "The full abandon" -- reassures us we're not literally included.

From the first line of the second poem, we are immersed in a sequence of dramatic love-alogues. We find ourselves, like voyeurs, reeling precipitously through so many amorous moments that the lovers must have felt wearied by the time they reach The Weather Channel, Florida, 2001, where they move "into this, still carry between them/their own personal weather."

The sequence has formal and rhetorical flaws, but avid readers won't be deterred. The poems achieve high marks for two of Milton's criteria: only a C for "simple" in the Puritan sense, but A's for "sensuous" and passionate".

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