Salmon Poetry Collections

Book Launch: Hoops of Holiness & Bone Fire | Salmon Poetry


Wednesday 21 September

6:30pm | All welcome

All are welcome to the launch of two new poetry collections from Salmon PoetryHoops of Holiness by Maurice Harmon is his sixth collection of poetry and will be launched by Seamus Cashman. Bone Fire by Susan Millar DuMars is her fourth collection and will be launched by Dave Lordan.

Hoops of Holiness moves from the sunlit terraces of faith to the dismemberment of a rural estate and that mingling of the metaphorical and the realistic characterises much of the poetry. The decline of Catholic power and the losses that went with it is a kind of underlying event that drives much of the poetry from the compelling dramatisation in ‘Hoops of Holiness’ to the human narrative of ‘Tales Out of School’, the libretto at the end of the book. It permeates the portrait of the priest who is having a passionate affair, a boy’s desperate flight from boarding school, and a woman’s determined efforts to keep a marriage going. Harmon responds with compassion and understanding to abusive priests, to the homeless and the hapless, and to disturbing events in his own life. Maurice Harmon writes in a variety of forms, elegies, narratives, nature poems, villanelles, satires. His humane perspective enables him to write sensitively about individuals and to consider how we fail to understand and to interpret historical events, such as the sieges of Drogheda and Limerick. Hoops of Holiness is the product of a mature and intelligent imagination.

Maurice Harmon, a distinguished academic, critic and scholar, has published studies of Irish writers from William Carleton to Mary Lavin, Seán O’Faoláin, and Benedict Kiely, from Austin Clarke to Thomas Kinsella, Seamus Heaney, and Dennis O’Driscoll. His pioneer anthology Irish Poetry after Yeats appeared in 1979 and his Dialogue of the Ancients of Ireland, a translation of Acallam na Senórach, the medieval Irish compendium of poems and stories, was published in 2009. Harmon’s reputation as poet has grown particularly with the publication of his acclaimed When Love Is Not Enough: New and Selected Poems (Salmon, 2010), followed by the stylish and humane Loose Collections (Salmon, 2012). Hoops of Holiness is his sixth collection.

Bone Fire asks how to mourn what’s lost; love what is.
The bones are the bones of the poet – integral to the landscape of her body. The bones are the spines of trees, the bone white of the moon. They belong to the hawk, the blackbird, the lion and the deer.  They are, too, the bones of the dead and discarded, the martyred and maimed and the simply inconvenient. They are the bones of the forgotten, who have not forgotten us....
The fire is love and lust – a lover’s tongue, a naked woman. It’s the red stones of a canyon. The fire is the red hair of the poet’s grandfather, the blood of JFK, a warehouse burning in South Philadelphia.  Most of all, the fire is destruction; a torching, a bonfire, a clearing of space for whatever comes next.
Susan Millar DuMars has published three previous collections with Salmon Poetry, the most recent of which, The God Thing, appeared in March, 2013. She published a book of short stories, Lights in the Distance, with Doire Press in 2010, and was a featured fiction writer on Atticus Review in late 2014. She is currently at work on a second story collection. Her work has been widely anthologized. Born in Philadelphia, Susan lives in Galway, Ireland, where she and her husband Kevin Higgins have coordinated the Over the Edge readings series since 2003. She is the editor of the 2013 anthology Over the Edge: The First Ten Years, published by Salmon.
Praise for The God Thing by Susan Millar DuMars -
A poet who...asks the bigger questions – unapologetically so – in language that is direct and immediate. Philip Cummins (Poetry Ireland Review)