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Published on October 18th, 2010 | by Sinead Keogh


Competition Closed: Soundings

**Competition closed, congratulations to Emer.**

If you were in secondary school in the ’80s or ’90s then you probably had a copy of Soundings. It was the go-to poetry anthology for Leaving Cert for over two decades and I’m told it holds many happy memories for many a grown up.(I don’t mean to kick you in the stomach or anything, but I’m too young to know, Leaving Cert ’04 REPRESENT! :p).

Luckily, it’s got more than its nostalgia factor going for it. When the good folk at Gill & MacMillan sent us a review copy there was plenty to be delighted by on browsing through the poems as a Soundings first-timer. From Monaghan’s own Patrick Kavanagh (“the bicycles go by in twos and threes, there’s a dance in Billy Brennan’s barn tonight” – Patrick Kavanagh. “Nobody on them, just these feckin’ bicycles!” – Tommy Tiernan) to Eliot, Yeats, Thomas Kinsella and John Donne there’s a collection of memorable lines and new discoveries between the covers that will impress any poetry lover.

If you’d like a copy of Soundings for your very own then read on. It’s the review copy so it’s been well-thumbed…but you can just say we ‘authenticated’ it for you and made it even more like the dog-eared original (tis far from brand new school books you were reared). To get your hands on it just leave us a comment telling us the name of one of your favourite poems (or a quote, we’re not fussy) and we’ll pick a winner at random next Monday (25th). And if you’re wondering, yes, the competition question is just a shameless bid to find new poems to read.

Remember, if you’re not lucky enough to win, you can grab a copy in the shops or from @gillandmac themselves.

Good Luck!

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About the Author

Sinéad edits books for her real job. She has never met a punctuation mark she didn't like. She likes cheese (both kinds). She is a lip-biter and a knuckle cracker. She has made a list of 50 things to do before she dies - you're not on it. In particular, she looks after movies, comedy gigs and the Event of the Week series for Culch. You can email her if you want, she loves attention. sinead@culch.ie

13 Responses to Competition Closed: Soundings

  1. Sweary says:

    I know I’m not allowed win or nawthin’, but gosh, I wish I knew where my copy of Soundings was. My money-grubbing mother probably sold it to buy my University textbooks. The wagon.

    My favourite poem was probably The Circus Animals’ Desertion, by W.B. Yeats (of all the Yeats stuff I loved). It’s the one that ends …

    “I must lie down where all the ladders start
    In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart”

    … which still gets to my scribbly, blackened heart.

    Also, I heard that LC04 was the easiest LC by miles, and that anyone who did it is instantly discredited by the Cool Brigade. So there.

  2. James says:

    Ode to Autumn by John Keats
    Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
    Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun

    I love this poem and am reminded of it when this time of year comes round.

  3. James says:

    Patrick Kavanagh’s Canal Bank Walk
    “Leafy-with-love banks and the green waters of the canal
    Pouring redemption for me, that I do
    The will of God, wallow in the habitual, the banal…”

    Everytime I’m in Dublin and see the canal I almost feel Kavanagh’s spirit there.

  4. Darren says:

    Oh sweet Jebus. Can I enter?

    An aged man is but a paltry thing,
    A tattered coat upon a stick,
    Unless the soul clap its hands and sing
    For every tatter in its mortal dress,
    Nor is there singing school but studying
    Monuments of its own magnificence;
    And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
    To the holy city of Byzantium.

    (from memory)

  5. Green Of Eye says:

    Oh i want!

    I’m all about Mr Wordsworth

  6. Thomas says:

    A Dream for Winter by Arthur Rimbaud, beautiful poem

  7. Clars1909 says:

    Inversnaid by Gerald Manley Hopkins- unbelievable rhythm.

    This darksome burn, horseback brown,
    His rollrock highroad roaring down,
    In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam
    Flutes and low to the lake falls home.

  8. emer says:

    I always love Paradise Lost – weird i know!!

  9. Niall says:

    I’m going with Heaney’s Digging, just for these two verses…

    The cold smell of potato mold, the squelch and slap
    Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
    Through living roots awaken in my head.
    But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

    Between my finger and my thumb
    The squat pen rests.
    I’ll dig with it.

  10. Anne marie says:

    Has to be Seamus Heaney – Mid Term Break. I remember almost crying when I first heard it in school.

    I sat all morning in the college sick bay
    Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
    At two o’clock our neighbors drove me home.

    In the porch I met my father crying–
    He had always taken funerals in his stride–
    And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

    The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
    When I came in, and I was embarrassed
    By old men standing up to shake my hand

    And tell me they were “sorry for my trouble,”
    Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
    Away at school, as my mother held my hand

    In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
    At ten o’clock the ambulance arrived
    With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

    Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
    And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
    For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

    Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
    He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
    No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

    A four foot box, a foot for every year.

  11. Fiona says:

    Shelley’s Ozymandias, superb:

    “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

  12. Sinead Keogh says:

    Loving reading all of these! Yeats and Kavanagh rock my little emo socks so they do.

    As long as we’re playing the From Memory game:

    Looking up at the stars I know quite well
    that for all they care I can go to hell
    but on earth indifference is the least
    we have to dread from man or beast

    How should we like it if stars were to burn
    With a passion for us we could not return
    If equal affection cannot be
    Let the more loving one be me

    Admirer as I think I am
    Of stars that do not give a damn
    I cannot now I see them say
    I missed one terribly all day

    Were all stars to disappear or die
    I’d learn to look at an empty sky
    And feel it’s total dark sublime
    though this might take me a little time


  13. Patricia Larkin says:

    @Oh stoney grey soil of monaghan the laugh of my love you theived!!!@

    Can’t remember any more think it may have been Patrick Kavanagh?

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