Moya Cannon

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Moya Cannon is an Irish poet with five published collections, the most recent being Keats Lives (Carcanet Press, Manchester, 2015). The mountains, the sea, and our primal and enduring responses to the beauty of the endangered earth are the inspiration for many of her poems. Archaeology and geology figure too as gateways to deeper understanding of our mysterious relationship with the natural world and our past.

Born in Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal Cannon studied history and politics at University College Dublin and at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge from which she went on to teaching traveller children at a special school in Galway.

Her first published collection 'Oar' (Salmon Poetry, Bridge Mills, Galway 1990, reprinted 1994) won the 1991 Brendan Behan Memorial Award. It already demonstrates the emergence of the poem through the rock, through the past and through story that is seen in the later collections. The poems operate at different levels, a simple evocation and a deeper reference. In 'Blossom Viewing in the Burren' the bushes mistaken for cattle from a distance, become the gorse, and resolve into separate bushes, then branches, then flowers - the whole mocking human concerns for "nothing will be judged".

Music, particularly traditional Irish music, has always been a deep interest and is a constant theme. She has given many readings with musicians and singers, among them the harper Kathleen Loughnane, the traditional singers Maighrėad and Triona Ní Dhomhnaill, and the RTE Con Tempo String Quartet.

Moya has been invited to read in Ireland; Europe; in the Americas, North and South; in Japan and India. Bilingual selections of her work have been published in Spanish, Portuguese, and German.

She has been honoured with the Brendan Behan Award and the O'Shaughnessy Award, and she was Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at Villanova University in 2011. She has been editor of Poetry Ireland Review and is a member of Aosdána[1]


  1. ^ "Aosdána appoints six new members". RTÉ News. 2004-03-23. Retrieved 2009-07-08.

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