Aoife Lyall reviews & poem features

Aoife Lyall reviews & poem features


'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. Aoife launched the collection on 23 February at a joint livestreamed event hosted by Bloodaxe - see video below.

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.

A double-page interview with Aoife ran in the Aberdeen Press & Journal on 10 April 2021. Aoife was also interviewed in depth for the inaugural issue of Spelt magazine in April 2021. Both are in print only.

Bookanista featured two of the poems from Mother, Nature ahead of the launch reading on 23 February 2021.  Read the poems here
Aoife Lyall's beautiful poem 'Silt' was featured in Books Ireland's 'poetry happening' column on 21 April, along with a video of Aoife reading the poem recorded especially for this feature. Read the poem and watch the film here.
Aoife Lyall was interviewed about writing, motherhood and inspiration for the Mum Write blog here.
Hollie McNish read 'Lighthouse' from Mother, Nature on her Mother's Day edition of One I Wrote, One I Love video on Instagram. Watch here. She started by reading and talking a poem from Clare Pollard's Incarnation at 13:20, and then read Aoife's poem at 17:40. She called Mother, Nature 'a really very special poetry collection.'

Mother, Nature was reviewed in the Irish Times of 10 April 2021.

'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

The review is available in full by subscription 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.

'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)
Read the full review 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 photo for 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.

[06 March 2021]

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