In her new collection, Toward, poet Moira Linehan makes us believe that landscape is destiny. As the book unfolds, we come to inhabit the land- and sea-scapes of the wild southwest of Ireland, the islands of America's Pacific Northwest, the poet's home in Massachusetts; and then round again, back to the land north of Dublin.
The poet's eye and imagination capture lyrical, sonic, imagistic details of these places. So, too, their embedded history: the Famine, the days of the whaling industry, the speaker's paternal genealogy, are all woven in.
But beyond those stories and images, the heart of this collection is the poet's missing lover--a presence haunting both landscape and memory. By means of crafting language and pushing its possibilities, the speaker searches for the most elemental in whatever place--physical or emotional--she finds herself.
As the literature of travel and especially pilgrimage shows, being on the move can become a journey to one's own interior. Here are poems of such witness, poems of reflection on how others on perpetual journeys have stayed the course. Here are poems about how this poet has come to places, as she says in her poem "In This Habitable Desert," she could not even imagine.
Toward brings the reader along with her to these places.