A Dying Language

2016, published by the Irish Hospice Foundation. Available from A Novel Idea, Ballyshannon; Liber Books, Sligo; The Reading Room, Carrick on Shannon; Barnes & Noble; and Amazon.

Hospice Foundation press release; Interview with the Five Glens Arts Festival.

Poems from A Dying Language have won the 2014 North West Words Poetry Prize; been commended for the 2014 and 2016 Hippocratic Prize for Poetry and Medicine; and been published in Poetry Ireland Review, THE SHOp, The Stinging Fly, Antiphon, Orbis, The North, The Irish Medical Journal and elsewhere. 


Vincent Woods “I imagine there isn’t a family in Ireland that hasn’t experienced something of what Monica Corish captures so acutely in these poems… The domestic, medical and personal merge in factual accounts illuminated and distorted by slowed-down, sped-up time and by sudden, glimpsed-and-gone image and intervention… An expansiveness of vision is one of the strengths of this book, but strong too is small and intimate domestic detail, and the almost casual but meticulous detailing of medical care… the unavoidable business of flesh and suffering... This poetry of grief is also a kind of love poetry. These poems are a blessing of sorts – making a living language, striking a flame of light out of shadow and sorrow.”

Eugene McGloin, Sligo Today A Dying Language by Leitrim based writer Monica Corish, casts a warm, sometimes witty eye on illness, dying, death and aftermath… It takes a lot of honesty to let all the hard pain and honest insights here on these pages show through, neither to censor nor ‘shine’ them. In contrast, Dreamtime, set on the plains of Africa, has a spirit of sweetness and spirituality to close a memorable book.”

Sharon Foley, CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation: “The dance of language, of knowing and not knowing that death is near, of sharing and hiding, of anger and tenderness, make Monica Corish’s poems worthy additions to the canon of grief poetry.”

From the back cover

Monica Corish’s deftly crafted poems in A Dying Language manage to be unflinchingly honest about the actuality of terminal illness, while simultaneously remaining tender, lyrical and deeply humane about the intricate emotional tapestries of family life. This is an elegy for a lost mother and a courageous insight into a journey of loss, but also a celebration of the memories that bind tight as part of the ongoing story that links those who have gone before us with those who remain behind.

Dermot Bolger 

It is times of grief that bring many people to poetry or back to poetry. There is something about the intensity of the language, the pictures it creates, the hand it reaches out, the way it shows that sorrow can be borne.  C S Lewis said we read so as not to feel alone… [This] is the kind of collection that one person will give to another and say – I think you might like this, I found it very helpful myself. It is the kind of collection which someone somewhere on a dark night, having changed the sheets for the third time that day, will reach for, read one or two or three of the poems and will feel less alone.

Jane Clarke

Monica Corish is a love poet. She has hammered out her language on the hardest anvil of all, and reached an utterance surprising in its clarity, stark in detail, universal in its accessibility while deeply personal... This is not the Wordsworthian emotion recollected in tranquillity.  From the very beginning, that long distance phone call of bad news which smashes its way into our life, this is so much part of the Irish experience.  We are in the middle of an on-going drama.  Emotion and experience, not tranquillity, and recorded as it happened, raw and confused, exhausted and torn by conflicting loyalties, professionally disciplined and in human rejection of too hard a role, this is Monica’s raw material.   The poet transmutes tragedy to art.  This collection of poems is a social testament just as it is a human document, evidencing the dignity and the frailty of human beings and their relationships.

 Gréagóir Ó Dúill

Reading Anubis at the Glens Centre, Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim. Video courtesy of Rachel Webb