Forty Foot Press

Deep Canyons

Poems By Students From

Loreto Abbey Dalkey

Edited by Anne Fitzgerald

"What the poems in Deep Canyons indicate is that young adulthood is as difficult and exhilarating as it has always been. The transition-year pupils of Loreto Abbey, Dalkey describe the teetering poise of adolescence with clear-eyed wisdom and humour. This is a robust collection of poems, shot through with an acute sense of beginnings."

Caitríona O’Reilly

Deep Canyons

(Dublin, Loreto Abbey Dalkey Press, 2005)

ISBN 0-9547366-1-3

Cover Photograph © Anne Fitzgerald

The instinct to make poetry is as old as humankind. The pleasure derived from rhythm - one of the ingredients of poetry - is first experienced even before birth, as a baby listens to its mother’s heartbeat. Our delight in sound is evidenced by our universal interest in music. In societies which had not yet developed a literature, an oral tradition of poetry was enjoyed. From this era, in Ireland, we inherited the ancient sagas such as Fionn and the Fianna or the stories of the Táin. Later these were written down and became part of our literary tradition.

With the advent of the written word another characteristic of poetry developed - the shape or form of a poem. In earlier centuries there were very definite rules about how a poem should be constructed and most poems were set out in regular stanzas and had an easily recognisable rhythm.

The extraordinary social upheaval caused in the Western world by the First World War was soon reflected in much of the poetry written after that period. Life was no longer as clearly structured as before and poets felt that literature should mirror this change. It was believed that the content or meaning of a poem should dictate its form and rhythm and so the ‘modern’ poem evolved.

In this collection of poems by our Transition Year, some students have chosen the traditional format, while others have experimented with shape and sound. Each has endeavoured to explore the deeper canyons of her mind and to express her own voice through her language and imagery.

We should like to thank and congratulate all our contributors to this book. Special thanks are due to Anne Fitzgerald, their mentor, whose enthusiasm and own gift as a poet have encouraged the girls and fostered their talents.

We hope you enjoy this second collection of poems from our school.

Introduction to Deep Canyons

Dolores MacKenna Principal,

Loreto Abbey, Dalkey