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May 2009

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Here and Gone
February 2014

She Alone

John Menaghan

ISBN: 1 903392 56 X

Page Count: 88

Publication Date: Saturday, April 01, 2006

Cover Artwork: Peter Voorn

About this Book

Humorous, ironic, erotic, neurotic, and tender both by turns & often simultaneously... Menaghan's verse is quite wonderful.

Kirkus Reviews

She Alone, a book-length poetic sequence, traces the life of an imaginary woman from birth to death and beyond, employing a wide range of forms from free verse to heroic couplets and a broad array of poetic devices, all designed to capture the changing moods and circumstances of this enigmatic, nameless woman and her lifelong struggle to find fulfillment, connection, and a stable sense of her own place and identity in a rapidly changing world.

Author Biography

John Menaghan, born in New Jersey to Irish-American parents, has lived in Boston, Berkeley, Vancouver, Syracuse, London, Dublin, Belfast, Galway, Gortahork, and Dingle, & presently makes his home in Venice, CA. Winner of an Academy of American Poets Prize and other awards, he has published poems and articles in Irish, American, and Canadian journals and given readings in Ireland, Hungary, and the U.S. Menaghan teaches literature and creative writing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he also serves as Director of both the Irish Studies and Summer in Ireland programs and runs the annual LMU Irish Cultural Festival.

Read a sample from this book


This place suffused not
with spirits but thin traces
gaunt remains of deeds
done words spoken or left
unsaid undone undoes her
now all these years later
coming back to find she
has no home not even one
away from home no firm
connection to the earth no
place that calls her back
and says abide here you
will thrive and feel fully
alive don't look back or
so the wisdom goes and
maybe it's always folly
this effort to visit a past
life situation context lost
dissolved surrendered at
the border to some newer
world so many years ago
some lustrous future once
her future till it too grew
old became no more than
just another past she'll
try to visit someday and
discover it too lies beyond
her grasp teasing her with
dangled shards of fact
fragments of circumstance
so many places where she
once existed still exist
themselves after a fashion
still remain but do not
know her name.


Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA)

A unique experience in epic poetry and enthusiastically recommended... Prize-winning poet John Menaghan presents "She Alone", a sequence of poetry in book form that follows the life of a woman from birth to death and beyond. Changing forms from free verse to heroic couplets and other poetic devices as suits the story, She Alone encapsulates its nameless protagonist's struggle to find her own sense of place and identity in a rapidly evolving world. Alternately passionate, tender, ironic, and erotic, She Alone is a unique experience in epic poetry and enthusiastically recommended.

David Mason , "The Poetry Circus,"
The Hudson Review, Volume LX, Number 1 (Spring 2007)

One of the best books of 2006. "She Alone" is a sort of novel in verse or fictional biography, but neither of those terms quite does it justice. It evokes the life of a woman artist in fifty-odd lyrics, each in a different form, each handled with unobtrusive panache. Here is a book in which style and substance harmonize. It is refreshingly devoted not to the poet's career but to another life-and an eloquent one at that. Some poems are expansive, others minimalist, but the book comes closer to the tone and tenor of Beckett (with its unsettling reverberations) than anything by Mark Strand. The following lyric, "What She Wanted," arrives late in the book:

She wanted to paint
and she has painted
but too little.
She wanted to wander
and she has wandered
but too little.
She wanted to dream
and she has dreamed
but too little.
She wanted to love & be loved
and she has loved & been loved
but too little.

She wanted to live
and she has lived
but too little.
She never wanted to die
yet she has died
little by little.

Published by Salmon Poetry in Ireland and available from Dufour Editions, "She Alone" is poetry with a human center, as smart and affecting as anything else under review here, utterly original without special pleading on behalf of the poet. John Menaghan is the real thing.

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