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Mother, Nature | Bloodaxe Books
aoife-lyall-mother-nature

Aoife Lyall

Mother, Nature

Aoife Lyall

Publication Date : 25 Feb 2021

ISBN: 9781780375182

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

Shortlisted for the Scottish First Book Award 2021 (Scotland’s National Book Awards)

 

Aoife Lyall’s debut collection Mother, Nature explores the tragic and tender experiences of pregnancy and early motherhood, from ante-natal complications and the devastating pain of miscarriage to the overwhelming joy of healthy delivery and healthy infancy. Born and raised in Dublin, Aoife Lyall now lives in the Scottish Highlands. Shortlisted for the Hennessy New Writing Awards in 2016 and 2018, her work has appeared in many literary magazines.

‘Aoife Lyall is a poet whose first collection demonstrates such clarity of vision and assurance of language that one wonders how readers coped without Mother, Nature before it came along. It ought, really, to be available on the NHS, accessible at any stage of pregnancy, parenthood, or grief… Lyall is a generous, talented poet, and this first collection makes clear her skill and promise.’ – Alice Tarbuck, Northwords Now

‘Aoife Lyall’s collection Mother, Nature arrives with a magisterial maturity that belies its status as a first book-length offering… A remarkable debut from a strong talent.’ - Éamon Mag Uidhir, Dublin Review of Books

‘Individual poems of great beauty abound, but this collection works best when read as a continuous line from grief to joy, from birth to childminders and the return to work.’ - Frank Startup, The School Librarian on Mother, Nature (Editor’s Pick)

'The capacity of language to convey the intensity of the most human moments is explored with an unusual combination of directness and gentleness in Aoife Lyall’s startling debut, Mother, Nature. An intimate look at the pain of miscarriage and loss, bolstered by the blessedness of healthy pregnancy, this debut is assured and has the strength to be vulnerable... This is a strong first collection, rich as a newborn with promise.' - Elizabeth Ridout, Agenda

'Aoife Lyall’s Mother, Nature reimagines work by Heaney and Dickinson with her new-mother eyes, in a collection that is both heart-warming and heart-breaking. After a miscarriage, she addresses her lost child: “the house you never lived in / is overwhelmed by all the people who didn’t know to come.”' - Claire Hennessy, Irish Examiner

'Aoife Lyall’s debut, Mother, Nature, explores pregnancy, loss, motherhood, hospitals and grief in moving lyric poems that amount to an extended sequence – the thematic resonance of the collection is detailed, and shows a thoroughness in its consideration of small moments of private grief... One of Lyall's most effective techniques is the exploration of paradox, the volta-like turning of the lyric and its imagery, which makes the best poems here particularly devastating in their contained forms.' - Seán Hewitt, The Irish Times

'Hollie McNish’s jacket description of Aoife Lyall’s collection Mother, Nature is so accurate. The poems of this collection knocked me to the ground, only to have me scrambling back up so I could keep reading. The poems, two of which were shortlisted for the Hennessey New Irish Writing Awards, centre around Ireland-born Lyall’s own experiences of maternity, loss, and early motherhood. True, many writers have waded through such subjects, so what makes Lyall’s title special? There is her ability to bring such a dazzling array of raw emotion to the page without a hint of over-sentimentality. But there is also her profound ear for lyric and language.' - Nicole Gemine, DURA (Dundee University Review of the Arts)

'There are poems in this collection that knocked me clean to the ground, as others offered me a warm hand up and others still, which stroked my backbone as I sobbed. The subject is crucial, but it's the beauty of the poems which hold it all together.  “By law she carries you” is a line that I will never get out of my skin.' – Hollie McNish

‘Here’s a debut collection with a voice that is very much its own, and a way of writing that is subtly daring. These poems are staggeringly tender. They are open, vulnerable and emotionally raw – and with this, they are poetically precise, exactly crafted gems. These are poems that want to give to the reader – my advice is to open this book and let them.’ – Niall Campbell

‘In Aoife Lyall's beautiful, intimate debut collection, poignant and heart-rending personal experience nestles beside profound love and hard-earned wisdom.' – Helen Sedgwick

'This astonishing and compelling collection begins and ends in silence. But in between we are led through the minutiae of personal tragedy, with all its disbelief and numb acceptance, towards the challenges and rejoicings of motherhood and beyond. Lyall’s true skill is in refusing to allow us to be innocent bystanders loitering on the grass verges of her narratives; she draws us into every poem as material witnesses and insists we travel with her so that her loss becomes our loss and her joy ultimately becomes our own.' – John Glenday

'Aoife Lyall’s Mother, Nature is a beautiful and moving collection – a fine debut.' – Michael Longley

 

‘The Wanderers’: a film poem by Ted Fisher after a poem by Aoife Lyall

The cover picture of Mother, Nature is a still from The Wanderers (2018), a film poem directed and produced by Ted Fisher in collaboration with Magma and the University of Edinburgh. Aoife Lyall writes: ‘The most significant thing I learned was that the poem isn’t so much about welcoming my daughter into my life, as allowing myself to finally call Inverness home. I lived here for almost six years before she was born, and spent much of that comparing my life here to the life I had in Dublin. Walking the poem with Ted I came to realise it encapsulated what I had been missing – the accumulation of memories, moments, and experiences that layer themselves into the familiar.'

Aoife Lyall reads 'Month's Mind'

Aoife Lyall reads her poem 'Month's Mind' from Mother, Nature. She made this video at home in Scotland during lockdown in 2020.

Aoife Lyall reads 'Silt'

Aoife Lyall reads her poem 'Silt' from Mother, Nature.

 

Ireland: Click here to order from Books Upstairs in Dublin

USA: Click here to order from Indiebound or Bookshop.org

  

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