Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “On Balance” as Want to Read:
On Balance
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

On Balance

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Set against a backdrop of ecological and economic instability, Sinéad Morrissey’s sixth collection, On Balance, revisits some of the great feats of human engineering to reveal the states of balance and inbalance that have shaped our history. The poems also address gender inequality and our inharmonious relationship with the natural world. A poem on Lilian Bland – the first ...more
Paperback, 71 pages
Published May 25th 2017 by Carcanet Press (first published March 25th 2017)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about On Balance, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about On Balance

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  93 ratings  ·  13 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of On Balance
Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)
Will echo here what another reader has said on GR about On Balance. I loved the range of imagery and some of the writing, however, the overall message and viewpoints struggled to come across to me.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Some I loved and appreciated so much I'm a bit sad to return this collection to the library. The Mayfly, Articulation, Whitelessness, The Rope... So good.
Some on the middle ground that didn't move me one way or another, neither intellectually nor emotionally.
And some I really didn't like. Too much layout wankery to my taste. However, I'm sure they would seem better after multiple reads (in fact, one managed to turn me over on the third read, so there's that). But then again, who of us common
Sarah Anne
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
"I would let you near
my brilliant daughter-
so far, in face, from dull,
that radiant, incandescent
are as shadows on the landscape
after staring at the sun."

A beautiful collection of poems that touch upon history, politics, architecture and nature. The Millihelen is about the launch of the Titanic from Belfast, A Very Dispaxic Child is about imagination and child's play. The May Fly tells the story of Lilian Bland, the first woman to design, build and fly her own aeroplane. My personal favourite is
Danny Daley
Dec 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
Morrissey has won many awards, including the Forward Prize for this collection, and the Goodreads ratings were stellar. Then, I read the first poem, The Millihelen," and liked it very much, so I bought the book. Imagine my surprise when, upon reading the rest of the collection, I did not find myself resonating with a single other poem in the entire book. Not one.

Poetry does not always need to be accessible. I usually prefer when it is, bit there are inaccessible collections that I like very
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although I loved most of poems, I had a hard time rating this collection because it is not really about what the back claims. While some of the poems really do deal with balance and ecology, most just deal with the past. Yes, the back does say that Morrissey revisits "some of the great feats of human engineering", but it does so in a way that seems reminiscing, not analyzing. It brings the reader back to he past and not the past to engage with the present.

Make of that what you will. I will
E A M Harris
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great collection of interesting poems. They roam geographically, emotionally and in time, and entertain and illuminate the oddities of life and science.
I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who likes modern poetry.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Morrissey is from Northern Ireland. I realized when I began listing to Poetry Please on BBC4 a few years ago that I knew little about living poets outside the U.S. That surprised me, since I read mostly British and Irish poets in college, but I also favored 19 c. literature then. In 2016, Morrissey was in Kansas City, so I got to hear her and buy her book Parallax. That’s why I dove into this new volume with high expectations. Morrissey is more erudite than most poets I prefer, but there are ...more
Sarah Hobbs
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sinéad Morrissey's latest collection acts as the metaphorical scales for the worlds political, economical and down-right sensible issues not only in the modern era but throughout time itself.

It is clear to see from the outset how On Balance has become one of the leading collections in the world of poetry and how it won the 2017 Forward Prize and shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards 2017.

Click here for my full review...
Eva Griffin
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
There were five poems from this collection that I loved. The rest left me wanting. Maybe it's a matter of taste but it seemed Morrissey got so bogged down in historical details that any sense of feeling or connection got lost. The theme? Tenuous. I'm disappointed as I had high hopes for a Forward Prize winner, but the majority of this collection failed to excite me in any meaningful way.
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Yet again, this talented poet strokes her poetic persuasions into a purring potency that entertains & provokes in equal parts...well worth the plaudits but perhaps not a perfect 5-star billing. Morrissey has claws & paws like any cat with the mouse at its mercy; an eternal feline conundrum...raw power or teasing playfulness?! Morrissey is a cat! (Cryptic, eh?!)
Amie Whittemore
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy Morrissey's adeptness with syntax and sound, her careful attention to each word. This book did not disappoint in those arenas, though there weren't many poems that, on their own swept me off my feet.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, electronic
This collection had stunning imagery but was sadly just out of my grasp of understanding.
Catherine Jeffrey
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Anton Isopoussu
rated it liked it
Sep 01, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Jul 01, 2018
Jude Alford
rated it really liked it
Dec 22, 2018
rated it really liked it
Apr 27, 2019
Lauren Davis
rated it really liked it
May 23, 2018
Megan Pattie
rated it liked it
Jul 18, 2019
Doc Martin
rated it it was amazing
Nov 29, 2017
Stephen Daniels
rated it it was amazing
Nov 05, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Jul 05, 2017
rated it really liked it
May 26, 2019
rated it liked it
Mar 17, 2018
rated it really liked it
Oct 27, 2019
rated it did not like it
Feb 17, 2020
Sarah Tait
rated it it was ok
Sep 08, 2018
Andrew Cowley
rated it really liked it
May 04, 2018
Yaasmeen Piper
rated it liked it
Oct 24, 2018
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Quoof
  • Deaf Republic
  • Family Values
  • Jesus' Son
  • Inside the Wave
  • Blonde Roots
  • Exterminate All the Brutes: One Man's Odyssey into the Heart of Darkness and the Origins of European Genocide
  • Kumukanda
  • Who Is Mary Sue?
  • Soho
  • Three Irish Poets
  • Death of a Naturalist
  • 82년생 김지영
  • Diary of a Somebody
  • Glasgow Zen
  • An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell
  • The Great Enigma: New Collected Poems
  • Du plus loin de l'oubli
See similar books…
Raised in Belfast, she was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where she took BA and PhD degrees, and won the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award in 1990. She has published four collections of poetry: There Was Fire in Vancouver (1996), Between Here and There (2001), The State of the Prisons (2005), and Through the Square Window (2009), the second, third and fourth of which were shortlisted for the T. ...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »