With photographs by Carmel Cleary
Hands Moving at the Speed of Falling Snow explores a spectrum of conflicting emotions that hold us in their power. Some poems meticulously describe people and their particular ways, the point of view of the child interwoven with that of the adult. Other poems show a view of damage as though viewed from inside a wound; they ...
Saturday, May 15, 2010
From 'Passage', a collection of photographs by the artist Carmel Cleary - www.artbycarmel.com
Hands Moving at the Speed of Falling Snow explores a spectrum of conflicting emotions that hold us in their power. Some poems meticulously describe people and their particular ways, the point of view of the child interwoven with that of the adult. Other poems show a view of damage as though viewed from inside a wound; they try to name the unnameable, speak the unspeakable, to make sense of the complexities of life when experienced acutely. Throughout the collection there is a palpable sense of multiple parallel realities which surface at intervals from the subterranean continuum of the unconscious mind. This gives a feeling of pause, of an imagination straining to leave the quiet bay for the pitch and roll of the open sea.
Aideen Henry lives in Galway and works as a writer and a physician. She was shortlisted for the 2009 Hennessy X.O. Literary Awards for poetry. Her first collection of poetry, Hands Moving at the Speed of Falling Snow, was published in 2010 by Salmon Poetry. She also writes short fiction and her debut collection of short stories, Hugging Thistles, was published by Arlen House in 2013.
About the Artist: Mary Avril Gillan is an artist and educator and lives and works in Dublin. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and has received awards for her work both as an artist and educator. She is currently a lecturer in the National College of Art and Design and her work is held in both public and private collections in Ireland. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't want to sneak into your polite workshop,
sit on the edge of my seat with averted eyes,
whisper my incy mincy lines in the approved metre,
or scratch around optimistically for praise.
I'll kick out the chair from under your iambic pentameter,
rip free your expectations, fling them to the wind,
drag your emotions screaming on a wild goose chase,
then leave them for dead, as I torch the building.
The House of Forgotten Things
A Virgin Mary blue and white house,
on the road west of Dingle, reminded
passers to buy what they had forgotten.
What if you could drop off what you needed to forget?
Forgotten people in the upstairs rooms,
forgotten dreams, damp on the line in the back kitchen,
forgotten promises kicking the mattresses from under the beds,
and forgotten lovemaking tossing sheets and blankets each night.
Would the store of memories and passions reach a threshold,
and self-ignited, take the roof off the house?
Review: by Kevin Higgins, The Galway Advertiser, Thursday 2nd September 2010
Hands Moving at the Speed of Falling Snow (Salmon Poetry) is the imaginative title of the debut collection by Galway native Aideen Henry.
Salmon has a reputation for producing stylish books but here, Salmon exceeds even its own usual high standards. The colour photographs by Carmel Cleary, arranged throughout the book's 10 sections, have an intriguing beauty.
I first met Aideen Henry when she joined one of the poetry workshops at Galway Arts Centre four years ago. Bad poets tend to mistake constructive criticism for personal attack; Aideen always knew that feedback from others is a poet's best friend when it comes to making each poem the best it can be.
The result is a collection of poetry with hardly a superfluous word. Its pages are strewn with lines which are memorable because you've read nothing quite like them before; such as the first two lines of 'Buttress': 'I wonder how the bed feels/about having me all to itself', or the opening of 'Parental Guidance (PG)': 'What happens if there is a bomb in your belly,/Mommy?'
Where others would inflate their language, and bluster; Henry is clinical. In 'Kissing Cousins' she zooms in on childhood with a rare lack of sentiment. 'Over And Back', 'On The Couch', 'Hairshirt', and 'Femme Fatale Speaks' are unsettling in the way the best poems always are.
They drip with menace and loss and intelligence and confirm that Aideen Henry has no more emerging to do as poet. She has arrived.