Monday, May 10, 2010

Noel Monahan - Diary of a Town - Granard

Niamh Boyce in her blog mentions how short story submission and competition rules influence the length of her finished stories. The same applies to poetry, most competitions limit the entry to 40 or 60 lines. All very well but the long poem has a fascination and pleasure as well, sometimes far in excess of those finely polished precious lyric nuggets.

I finished Noel Monahan's new book, Curve of the Moon, yesterday. The third part of the volume is one long dramatic poem called Diary of a Town. The town is Granard where Noel was born and the time sometime in his youth - Lonny Donnegan is singing My Old Man's A Dustman and By the Light of the Silvery Moon is coming to the cinema next week.

It's a cross between Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood and Kavanagh's The Great Hunger, people with a cast of small town characters and punctuated with the memories of school chants, church ritual, playground rhymes and popular song. It's fascinating and greatly enjoyable. Presumably the names have all been changed but we can all recognise similar characters from out childhood.

The almost 40 page poem is arranged in twelve sections each dealing with a month of the year an arrangement which works very well.

It starts with:

They were all waiting for something to happen
Diving time between waking and dreaming

and ends with

Doors squeak open
Another year begins.

1 comment:

Words A Day said...

And keeping it short (poetry or prose) for "outside reasons" removes opportunities to explore a certain kinds of musicality, or the older rhythms of yarn telling, going off in tangents, balladry (half these words don't exist - i blame that on the competitions too!)