THE PARCHMENT BOAT by Moya Cannon

THE PARCHMENT BOAT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In her second collection of short poems, this Irish schoolteacher displays an archaeologist's eye for the telling object, whether it's a clay shard found in a garden (""Shards"") or the ""parchment boat"" of the title (""Patched Kayak""). A memory of parsing sentences in school reminds her that language bears a past, that ""grammar's dream of order"" can mask a history of oppression. Not particularly political in her Irishness, Cannon nevertheless connects to her ancestors and their ability to create with stone. In her mundane poems, she's constantly stumbling upon objects of beauty, unexpected things that illuminate the moment, usually involving more stones ("". . . a nest of stones/on a stoney shore"" or ""no one knows what joy the stone holds/in its stone heat""). Cannon can be vague or, worse, trite (especially in her paean to spring, ""Bulbs""), but excels when she keeps it simple and direct.

Pub Date: March 16th, 1998
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Gallery Press--dist. by Dufour