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Junction City - New & Selected Poems 1990-2015

Eamonn Wall

ISBN: 978-1-908836-87-8

Page Count: 140

Publication Date: Friday, March 13, 2015

Cover Artwork: St. Louis Arch, Missouri © Mwaits |

About this Book

It is Eamonn Wall’s exceptional achievement as a poet to have extended the sources and vision of his work on the open road of America while remaining vividly in step with whatever he encounters anywhere, and to have done so without losing sight of the horizon of the past likewise expanding intricately behind. His work also stands as witness to the migrant nature of human existence. At the same time, Wall’s ambition to create a technically hybrid poetry that draws from the aesthetic resources of both the Irish and American traditions of verse-making has found greater and greater impress in the work, as well as greater and greater variety. Junction City: New & Selected Poems 1990-2015 is an indispensable carryall filled with this remarkable poet’s best and most exemplary poems from his six previous books. These, together with the new poems of “The Gathering Suite,” confirm Eamonn Wall’s place as one of our very best and most essential poets writing on either side of the Atlantic. 
Daniel Tobin
Editor The Book of Irish American Poetry from the Eighteenth Century to the Present

Author Biography

Eamonn Wall is a native of Co. Wexford who has lived in the USA since 1982. In addition to his six volumes of poetry published by Salmon, Eamonn Wall has written two prose books: Writing the Irish West: Ecologies and Traditions (2011) and From the Sin-é Café to the Black Hills: Notes on the New Irish (2000). He lives in Missouri where he is employed by the University of Missouri-St. Louis as a professor of International Studies and English. Eamonn Wall serves on the board of Irish American Writers and Artists Inc., an organization founded to foster and promote the work of Irish American writers and artists. He is also a founder of Scallta Media—an initiative to promote the work of up-and-coming Co. Wexford creative artists.  Eamonn Wall: Your Rivers Have Trained You, a documentary on his career as a writer directed by Paul O’Reilly, was released last year by Lowland Films.


Review: Junction City Reviewed by Liam Murphy for the Munster Express (July 2015)

Salmonpoetry have published six of Enniscorthy-born poet Eamonn Wall's books since 1994 and this year they brought out Junction City ( New & Selected Poems 1990 - 2015). This contains a section of New Poems - The Gathering Suite and selections from the six other collections. This emphasises mostly the Irish themes where Wall has a liminal existence between Irish nostalgia and an emerging American voice that has more academic notes ( He is a professor of International Studies and English in the University of Missouri-St Louis). Water seems to be a confluence and a connection for his imagination.

The opening poem For The Gathering has a Ferlinghetti quotation " I like it here/ and I won't go back/ where I came from". But Eamonn Wall cannot stop himself going back and that is the energy of his poetry. An ebb and flow across two continents, restless and a touch lonely. That sadness is expressed in that opening poem: "Leaving Enniscorthy on the 5.55 bus to Dublin/ In the early evening darkness". And he continues: "Though there's talk again of trawling up/ one mighty gathering of emigres/We know it is impossible to collar/Shoals rendered so long invisible". Wall struggles to accept that 'invisibility' and writes " We are members the proud diaspora rolling out-of-town. My father's/ Face fully lighted up and laughing I would never see again... Roll on my river, roll. Roll on river, lead me home"

The next poem is Missouri River Runner with the echoing American line "Time is short". The poems seem to alternate: Hart Crane's Bridge with its nod to "the primrose on the Wexford road". River Slaney: New Year's Day has " a boychild builds a snowman in a Pennsylvania backyard".

In the title poem, he proclaims " My home is where I am, old wise blue bus". But I find it hard to believe him.

The influence of Rory Galagher blends " big muddy cities/ Gorey/Chicago/Arklow/ St Louis". In Your Rivers Have Trained You, Wall sums up his dilemma and the rivers in his life, Slaney, Hudson, Missouri, Mississippi and the refrain " You've got to leave home/ You don't want to do it too soon/ Or leave it too long". 

As part of my research into Eamonn Wall I viewed the film Eamonn Wall - Your Rivers Have Trained You by Paul O'Reilly of Scallta Media, where Wall reads his poetry and talks about his journey from home to home, restless like a river.

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