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John and Gabriel capture the poetry of Ireland's south


Seldom has the poetry of the southwest and the landscape inspiring it been brought together so beautifully in a single publication as in a new anthology that's to be launched in Listowel on Saturday.

Best Loved Poems: Favourite Poetry from the South of Ireland sets the poetry of the region, as chosen by its editor and Moyvane poet Gabriel Fitzmaurice, to a series of stunning landscapes and nature images captured by highly-regarded Castleisland photographer writer John Reidy.

Looking at the images in Best Loved Poems, it's easy to see how the southwest has proved such a fertile hotbed of inspirational poetry over the ages. And it's all there in this publication, from some of the greatest examples of the bardic tradition going right back to the ninth century up to the most contemporary of verse.

Its launch takes place in Woulfe's Bookshop in Listowel on Saturday next, November 19, at 2pm.

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"Best Loved Poems is an anthology of poems that will delight the general reader as well as the poetry specialist," publishers Currach Press promise.

"Here you will find poems from the 9th century along with contemporary favourites, some translated from the original Irish, the rest written in English."

As is poetry's wont, it doesn't shirk from the big questions of life with everything from love and death to religion and spirituality, faith and doubt, the experience of family and so much more as its subject matter.

And there's even an apposite verse for the year that's in it from Ireland's first man and Limerick native Michael D Higgins, The Betrayal - on the struggle for Irish Independence.

Best Loved is also a wonderful celebration of the women of the southwest with scores of poems written by and about women featuring; from the Old Woman of Beara of the 9th Century, in English translation here by Ballylongford's Brendan Kennelly, to Leanne O'Sullivan's much-loved celebration of her grandmother's life and death. A perfect Christmas read in every way.