Aoife Lyall Readings
'Aoife Lyall’s Mother, Nature is a beautiful and moving collection – a fine debut.' – Michael Longley
Inverness-based Irish poet Aoife Lyall's debut collection was published by Bloodaxe on 25 February 2021. The poems of Mother, Nature follow the poet’s own experience of motherhood, from the trauma of pregnancy loss, to the overwhelming joy of a healthy birth. Her courageous, searing but tender poems of loss are deeply affecting – all the more so because of her understated language and formal control. As well as being shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Awards in 2018 and 2016, Aoife Lyall was awarded an Emerging Scottish Writer residency by Cove Park in 2020.
An interview with Aoife Lyall features on Smogasbord 2020 here.
Mother, Nature was reviewed by Claire Hennessy in the Irish Examiner's Weekend magazine as part of a feature on debuts by Irish women writers ahead of International Women's Day.
'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
Read the full feature here.
FORTHCOMING READINGS & EVENTS
Friday 1 October 2021, 16:00 – 17:00 BST, Ness Book Festival
Inverness Botanic Gardens, Bught Lane, Inverness IV3 5SS
Poetry with Aoife Lyall
Poetry reading and talk with Aoife Lyall.
Originally from Ireland, Aoife Lyall now lives in Inverness and is a poet, editor, reviewer, as well as a secondary school teacher of English. Rapidly gaining acclaim for her work, Aoife was awarded a Scottish Emerging Artist Residency by Cove Park in 2020 and has been a Guest Curator for the Scottish Poetry Library. Published in numerous journals and magazines, Aoife’s recent debut collection Mother, Nature was published in 2021 by Bloodaxe Books and has been hailed as ‘heart-rending’, ‘daring’ and ‘staggeringly tender’.
Free in-person event.
Register via Eventbrite here.
Tue 12 Oct 1:30pm - 2:30pm, Cheltenham Literature Festival
Irish Poetry: The New Generation: Seán Hewitt, Aoife Lyall and Nidhi Zak
Cheltenham has a long history of showcasing Ireland’s poetry greats including Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, PJ Kavanagh, Edna O’Brien, Michael Longley and Sinéad Morrissey. It’s time to introduce the next generation. We invite some of the brightest new voices in contemporary Irish poetry Seán Hewitt (Tongues of Fire), Aoife Lyall (Mother, Nature) and Nidhi Zak (Auguries of a Minor God) to read from their acclaimed collections.
£9 *plus booking fee
Gold & Silver Members – 10% off (booking from 3 September)
Thursday 14 October 2021, 6.30-7.30pm, Red Line Book Festival, Dublin
The Civic, Belgard Square East, Tallaght, D24 NWN7
Horror, Hope, Healing: Literary Motherhood with Aoife Lyall, Victoria Kennefick & Jessica Traynor
Red Line Book Festival brings together three rising Irish female poets in discussion about anchoring intimate and visceral experiences of motherhood in their poetry collections.
Victoria Kennefick's debut Eat or We Both Starve (Carcanet) was published shortly after Aoife Lyall's debut Mother, Nature. Aoife and Victoria read together at The Stay-at-Home! Literary Festival earlier this year - see video below. Jessica Traynor's third collection Pit Lullabies will be published by Bloodaxe in March 2022.
Price: €8 / €5 - in-person event.
Click here to book.
Thursday 29 April 2021, 7:00 pm, West Cork Literary Festival
Unlaunched: Martina Evans, Victoria Kennefick and Aoife Lyall
A special event with Martina Evans, Victoria Kennefick and Aoife Lyall in conversation with Séan Hewitt and John McAuliffe from the Unlaunched Books podcast to mark Poetry Day Ireland.
Aoife Lyall read poems from her debut poetry collection Mother, Nature and joined the discussion afterwards. It was especially interesting to hear her speak to John McAuliffe about the joys and benefits to be gained from reviewing other poets' work, given that all five poets taking part in the event are reviewers - John, Martina and Séan with The Irish Times, and Victoria with the Unlaunched Books podcast.
'These are really moving, lyric poems. They explore pregnancy, loss, motherhood and the disorientating world of hospitals. In the tradition of Rebecca Goss and Leanne O'Sullivan, Aoife's poems are built word by word, carefully, until we reach a volta, or a turn, and the speaker gestures downwards, and we can see that there's a chasm beneath these poems. There's also light and tenderness, and this is the scaffolding which Aoife builds across that chasm to help us understand things as big and as mind-boggling as love, grief and loss. They're incredibly intimate poems, and they're intricately formed.' - Séan Hewitt, introducing Mother, Nature
Séan Hewitt introduced Aoife at 18:58, and the discussion part of the event began at 41:22.
Saturday 1st May 2021, 2pm, The Stay-at-Home! Literary Festival
Home in Our Bodies: Reading & Workshop
Aoife Lyall (Bloodaxe) and Victoria Kennefick (Carcanet) gave readings from their body-focused debut collections, followed by a generative workshop. The event was streamed live on 1 May 2021, and is now on YouTube.
Aoife began by reading some poems from Mother, Nature, then Victoria read from her debut Eat or We Both Starve. This was followed by a short generative workshop.
'Was an incredible powerful event, a reading and a workshop activity. It was joy to discover the brave, honest voice of Aoife Lyall and the equal depth of Victoria Kennefick’s poetry.' - Nina Lewis, AWritersFountain. Read her blog on the Stay at Home! Literary Festival here.
Aoife Lyall reads her poem 'Silt' from Mother, Nature in a film she made especially for Books Ireland. Read the poem on their 'poetry happening' feature here.
Tuesday 23 February 2021, joint launch event with Fleur Adcock, Tiffany Atkinson and Susan Wicks
Livestreamed event launching four new collections by Bloodaxe poets, all of whom were publishing new collections in February 2021. Aoife Lyall read third in each set (she is introduced by Editor Neil Astley at 19:40). The readings were followed by a very engaging discussion and Q&A with the online audience.
‘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.' 'The Wanderers' is included in Mother, Nature.
Aoife Lyall's poems ‘Acrania’ and ‘Hermit Crab’ were shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing Awards in 2018 - both are now included in her debut collection. A recording of Aoife reading ‘Hermit Crab’ is on the title page for Mother, Nature (click on ‘related audio’); the poems were featured in The Irish Times of 28 January 2017 - read them here.
[04 February 2021]