A NEW collection of poetry, The Purple Pencil, by Ballyhahill woman Peg Prendeville has been published and includes a CD of Peg reading the poems herself.
The book will be officially launched later this month by singer Nóirín Ní Riain, making the whole project very much a female affair as the publisher is Brigid McAuliffe of Red Hen Publishing.
It is Peg’s second published collection and follows on What’s for dinner, Ma? which came out in 2001. In the years since, Peg told the Limerick Leader this week, she has written a great many poems but she has carried out a great winnowing and weeding for her final selection for The Purple Pencil.
The collection itself is intended as a celebration and exploration of the everyday life of the a daughter, friend, wife and mother and deals with the changes that accompany that life and its distinctive but interwoven roles. The poems are tender but pin-point accurate in dealing with the emotions that accompany those changes – and their sometimes life-altering consequences.
But Peg points out, they are not all autobiographical. Yet, they all reflect somebody’s story. Just as some people take a photograph to remember an occasion, time or place, it is to poems that Peg turns when she wants to immortalise something, to hold it into the future.
Poet and author Gabriel Fitzmaurice, who played a positive role in nudging Peg towards a new collections, has described her as a “natural formalist”. “Metre and rhyme come naturally to her and when they work together in their poems they sing to us,” he said. And the poems, he added, were “songs of praise, blessing the blackness of life in this valley of tears”.
Limerick poet and artist Jo Slade has also added her voice to this positive reaction to the book. “Peg writes with quiet confidence about the things of this world: the heart and home, the natural world. She writes of intimate, fleeting moments in our lives, of the ordinary loves that enrich and sustain us. Her poems resonate with universal themes: familial love, loss, grief, joy and wisdom gleaned from a life lived attentive to the smallest details, the subtle changes in the world around her.”
Peg was born in Ballyahill and still lives just a stone’s throw from the house in which she grew up in Glenbawn. She has had a lifelong interest in writing and reading poetry and stories, and has attended workshops in creative writing and poetry. She has edited the Loughill/Ballyhahill
Parish Annual for the past 15 years and works part-time at the library in Glin . She is married with five grown-up children and four grandchildren.
The launch takes place in Newcastle West Library at 8pm on November 16. The Purple Pencil is already on sale in local shops for €12 which includes the CD or contact Peg on 087 6826878 or email firstname.lastname@example.org