To Keep the Light Burning: Reflections in times of loss
|Anne Le Marquand Hartigan|
Page Count: 96
Publication Date: Saturday, November 01, 2008
Cover Artwork: Anne Hartigan
About this Book
To Keep the Light Burning: Reflections in times of loss is a particular book of poetry and prose put together with the aim to be of help to those experiencing loss and grief from death. A collection of poems that could be read at funerals; traditional burials or cremations. Poems for now, when many need a different way to express their loss, and may or may not choose a religious ceremony. Linking this with the traditional ways we in Ireland cope with and honour the dead.
Anne Le Marquand Hartigan is 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 now lives in Dublin. To Keep The Light Burning is her sixth collection of poetry. The others are Nourishment 2005, Immortal Sins 1993, award winning long poem with Anne's drawings, Now is a Moveable Feast, 1991, all published by Salmon. Return Single 1986 and Long Tongue 1982 both published by Beaver Row Press Dublin. Her prose work includes Clearing The Space, the Why of Writing, published in 1996 by Salmon Publishing.
Hartigan won the Mobil Prize for Playwriting for her play The Secret Game in 1995. In Other Worlds 2003 commissioned and performed by Ohio University, USA, then performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Otago Dunedin New Zealand. Jersey Lilies performed at the Samuel Beckett Theatre Dublin 1996, where Anne acted with Robert Gordon in this two hander. La Corbiere performed at Project Theatre in the Dublin Theatre Festival 1989, and since then been performed in Beirut 2004 and by Solas Nua Theatre Company in Washington DC July 2006 and in venues in Ireland. Her first play Beds at the Damer Theatre was part of the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1982. La Corbiere is published in SeenandHeard six new plays by Irish Women, edited by Cathy Leeney, published 2001 by Caryfort Press, Dublin.
Anne has exhibited her paintings, batiks and installations, for which she has won awards, in Ireland and the UK, with one woman, two person and in major national group shows.
Read a sample from this book
Galway Advertiser, February 12, 2009.
By Kevin Higgins
To Keep The Light Burning (Salmon Poetry) by Anne Le Marquand Hartigan is a mixture of poems and prose pieces designed to help those experiencing loss and grief. There is an introduction by Mark Patrick Hederman of Glenstal Abbey.
Some of the poems are taken from Anne's previous collections, published by Salmon Poetry and Beaver Row Press. The poems are arranged with a piece of prose introducing each one.
'What is poetry for?' is the question pedantic little men like to ask. Well, one of the things poetry is for is those occasions - be they joyful or sorrowful - when the ordinary words of everyday speech fail to adequately express what needs to be said.
'Heart's Blood' - on the death of a child - is a poem which, for me, brought to mind my cousin Robert who was barely a toddler when he died: "May you live in/warmlight/in kind gardens/with soft air/with light, loves, birds,/doves - animals to/play with you".
The final poem is 'Weighing Things Up - Four Sons to Carry My Coffin': "I will be the last weight on your shoulders/the groove of wood cutting down on your bone."
Poetry cannot repair our grief, no more than it can change the world, but it can help us put things in perspective at crucial times. One of the few things of which we can be certain is that each of us in turn will be visited some day by grief.
Review by Nessa O'Mahony, The Irish Times, Saturday, March 7, 2009
A poetry collection whose avowed aim is to provide poems that could be read at a funeral might appear depressing, but To Keep the Light Burning, by Anne Le Marquand Hartigan, is anything but grim. Many of the poems collected here are drawn from Hartigan's five previous collections or else have appeared in anthologies.
Each is accompanied by a prose essay that explains the poem's background or meditates on its theme.
There are beautiful poems here that would certainly provide solace to the bereaved. In "Apples" we are shown the natural cycle of death and rebirth: Slowly trees present their bones
shed, are stark, gaunt and grim,
leaving is a dying art
necessary to begin.
But it is also a very brave book; Hartigan is facing down her own mortality while comforting others and concludes that there is nothing at all to fear.