Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review: Touch the Dead by Mary Ann Mulhern

The grave digger's daughter, former nun, and present poet Mary Ann Mulhern shares her peculiar childhood in this collection of poems inspired by growing up in a graveyard in the 1940s. Mary Ann, from St.Thomas, Ontario, now lives in Windsor. Her poems have appeared in Tower, the Windsor Review, Room of One's Own, and Windfall.

Touch the Dead was short-listed for the Acorn-Plantos award in 2007, an award for Canadian poetry written with accessible language and imagery. The poems in this collection are directly inspired by the poet's memories of her childhood, experiences reflected and transformed into strikingly moving images. The language is intimate and narrative. Each short poem tells the story by drawing the reader into a moment from years ago. Coming to terms with mortality, but also the co-existence of life with death run through the poems making the collection very engaging.

'Root Cellar' by Mary Ann Mulhern from Touch the Dead

My father digs a root cellar
deeper than a grave
Earth takes back her harvest
apples, potatoes, turnips and squash
Seeds still alive
like a woman whose
buried children turned to ghosts
while they still had breath and eyes
to beg for sustenance
Apples for a Sunday pie
potatoes for a stew
turnips and squash streaming in a pot
Sweet resurrection

Touch the Dead and other works by Mary Ann Mulhern are published by Black Moss Press and available from

No comments:

Post a Comment