Slow Mysteries

2012, published by Doghouse Books (sadly no longer with us…). Available from Amazon and from this website.


Frances Devlin-Glass Ph.D., Tinteán Magazine:  Monica Corish’s poems celebrate liminalities.  Singer-crafted darts turn a girl into a woman (‘Becoming Visible’); an election defeat  turns a sober woman into a tipsyCailleach (‘Cailleach’); the lighthouse keeper’s transfer of sexual allegiance from the sea to his waiting wife on the mainland (‘The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter’)… These songs that sing of the west of Ireland (Knocknarea of legend is her parish) avoid conventionalities, clichés, the overly familiar… domestic poems in which the ordinary is touched with sacredness….

Clairr O’ Connor, Orbis #161: This collection opens and closes with maritime images, and it’s the restlessness and the untamed energy of the sea that stays with the reader…This work takes us through many lands. Corish is a sharp observer with an empathetic heart.

Brian Leyden: As you immerse yourself in the pleasure and imagery of these poems you find it hard not to think of Monica as a lightkeeper with the lightest of touches, a beacon voice that gives light by knowing the dangers.… In her poems of the Rwandan genocide, Monica proves herself to be a safe guide for us to follow on the journey into darkness, and safely back out again. I would seriously counsel you to make friends of Monica’s poems… This is such a good collection that it was hard to chose poems to highlight… As with all poetry, this is a very personal collection, even more so as Corish explores her experiences in Africa and her injuries that called a halt to this part of her life. It is a very rewarding collection with so much for the reader to take away with them to consider.

From the back cover

Monica Corish writes that her task is: To catch the luminous from within, / light up from beneath, aboriginal light, / to make the paper shine / beyond reserved white. Time and again, she succeeds in this ambitious goal, and all that caught light makes for a collection with  the range and brilliance of an island lighthouse. Slow Mysteries is a book of marvels.

Theodore Deppe

Slow Mysteries is familiar and yet enchantingly strange.  Monica Corish celebrates her homeland: ‘Cill Úira, Carrowmore, Knocknarea . . .‘ from the first poem, but it is a homeland peopled with wondrously idiosyncratic angels as well as lighthouse keepers, ‘sea-struck, rock-bound men‘, and a child who lies in her mother’s womb ‘like the curled head of a fern.’ These poems are brave, ‘allowing space for paradox.’  They give us humor, wisdom, and ‘what we cannot bear to touch: / our own unbearable grief/ for the loss of unbearable joy.’ Monica Corish has given us poems we want to hold like gifts, to open again and again.

Pat Schneider

A reading from Slow Mysteries, recorded with Tom Sigafoos for the virtual 2020 Allingham Festival.