Julie's Reviews > The Mining Road

The Mining Road by Leanne O'Sullivan
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it was amazing
bookshelves: best-of-2014, ireland-theme-setting, poetry, read-2014

I discovered the poetry of Leanne O'Sullivan earlier this year while researching the legend of the Hag of Beara for the novel I was writing. I swooned over O'Sullivan's gorgeous verse -- Cailleach: The Hag of Beara and went in search of The Mining Road, feeling a divine connection between this writer's work and my own. My novel, set near the west Cork village of Allihies, also deals with mining. O'Sullivan found her inspiration for this collection from the neglected copper mines that mar the landscape of the region, and in the lives given and forgotten in their labor.

Published four years after Cailleach, the maturity of the poet is striking. The Mining Road is more angular, with lean, hard muscle. No less beautiful, but full of the sadness of experience. The poems are more rooted to the earth, as one would expect from verse borne of the scars and gouges of mines.

Small rappings
in the lode,
dark fluttering
across the beams.

It could be
a shiver in the earth
or a warning call raised,

their knuckles
panic white,
timbers rasping
in their hold.

Or a tap
on my shoulder
to a stream.

Listen the glut,
the first scree
howling down
the shaft.

the mouths
that lie foul
in the water.

But love, in all its sensual wonder, remains Leanne O'Sullivan's most treasured and prolific theme. She retains her delight, her elegant observations of the heart swelled by passion for a lover or the blind devotion of a mother:

When you smile in your sleep
I think of the seal's tail
whispering above the wave,
slipping back again into the deep.

What a joy to partake of poetry so clean, so rooted in a sense of place, yet limitless in its imagination and romance. Brava.
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Reading Progress

March 18, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
March 18, 2014 – Shelved
June 26, 2014 – Started Reading
June 26, 2014 – Shelved as: read-2014
June 26, 2014 – Shelved as: poetry
June 26, 2014 – Shelved as: ireland-theme-setting
June 26, 2014 – Shelved as: best-of-2014
June 26, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Joe (new)

Joe Valdez Your review was as vivid as your excerpts from it, Julie. Enjoy world building. I can't wait to read your novel!

Julie Joe wrote: "Your review was as vivid as your excerpts from it, Julie. Enjoy world building. I can't wait to read your novel!" Joe, thank you! Little did I know when I read this collection and wrote this review that I would have the opportunity to study with Leanne O'Sullivan. I blogged about it today! http://chalkthesun.org/2015/06/01/ful...

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