Kevin Higgins on Anne Walsh Donnelly’s The Woman With An Owl Tattoo

Profile Kevin Higgins LE P&W Sept 2019

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This intimate, life-affirming poetry chapbook explores the author’s growth since the ending of her marriage, her subsequent journey of sexuality and what it means to be gay in your fifties. The collection is both brave and touching, marking this debut collection as a triumph.

Anne Walsh Donnelly is by far the most daring poet to emerge in Ireland of late. The starkly honest and overt sexuality which pervades Anne’s poetry make the work of pretty much all her contemporaries appear repressed and backward-looking in comparison. This publication would certainly have been banned in the Ireland of the past. Indeed, she is one of the few poets around whose work has the glorious ability to get moralistic, supposedly liberal eyebrows twitching. Anne’s poems are pretty perfectly formed hand grenades which she tosses about the place with abandon while maintaining a deadpan face. I think this publication is the beginning of something great.

Kevin Higgins, author of Song of Songs 2.0: New & Selected Poems (Salmon Poetry, 2017).

The Woman with an Owl Tattoo by Anne Walsh Donnelly

Published by Fly on the Wall Press May 2019.

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Anne Walsh Donnelly lives in the west of Ireland.  Her work has appeared in many publications including Hennessy New Irish Writing in The Irish Times. She was shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Award for emerging poetry and selected for Poetry Ireland Introductions in 2019. Her poetry chapbook, “The Woman With An Owl Tattoo” was  published in May 2019 by Fly On The Wall Poetry Press. Her debut short story collection, “Demise of the Undertaker’s Wife” will be published by Blue Nib in September 2019.

© Kevin Higgins