The Kerryman: Writers’ Week launch for Matt Mooney’s new collection of poetry ‘The Singing Woods’

The Kerryman,  June 3 2017 

Well-known Listowel poet Matt Mooney’s latest collection of verse is set to ‘shake us out of our complacency’ according to the man about to launch it at Writers’ Week.

Listowel native Éamon Ó Murchú will officiate at the launch of Matt’s latest collection The Singing Woods in the Seanchaí on Thursday, June 1, next at 12noon – an event taking place side-by-side with the launch of another Kerry collection, From Doll House Windows by Fenit-based poet Lorraine Carey.

Matt’s latest collection represents a major return to form taking his verse to yet another level of artistry, according to Éamon.

“These are poems that shake us out of our complacency and challenge us to reflect on our lives and their place in the world around us,” Éamon told The Kerryman this week.

“I think the current collection is quite exceptional and looking back over previous volumes can see how Matt was climbing higher and higher with each, all the time getting nearer the top.”

One of the great things about Matt’s poetry always is its accessibility. “As Matt explained to me when I was down with him recently ‘I don’t like to get too abstract, I like to write poems that can be understood.

“He’s certainly achieved that and one of the things I love about Matt’s work is the language used in it. Matt is absolutely mesmerised by language and the richness of native idioms, which shines through in The Singing Woods,” Éamon added.

Local fans will be delighted to hear that Listowel features more heavily in this collection than in its precursors. Matt – a native of Galway – arrived to town as a teacher to fall in love with his adopted place in short order.

“There is more about Listowel in here as Matt celebrates beautifully some lovely, lovely people we all knew.”

One exemplar in particular also marries Matt’s love of the Irish language which he taught so brilliantly in the Community College during his career. “The moving ode to Mary John B is written in wonderful, traditional Irish reflecting Matt’s love of the language deeply,” Éamon explained.

The launch comes as a very welcome return home for Éamon touching as it does on a proud Writers’ Week heritage for the retired teacher – as Éamon’s father was Luaí Ó Murchú, one of the founding members of the festival.

“He was the first chairperson of Writers’ Week and a writer himself. I actually had occasion to speak at Writers’ Week myself on his work ‘Journey Home’ a few years ago.” It was Éamon who also gave the graveside orations for both his former mentor Bryan MacMahon and the great scéalaí Éamon Kelly.

“I can’t wait for Writer’s Week and the opportunity to launch Matt’s book.”


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