The Next Parish Over: A Collection of Irish-American Writing
From Publishers Weekly
The 45 poems and 24 short stories in this work explore the moral staples of Irish-American life: the Church, alcohol, sexual tyranny, dynfunctional families and death. “They drink because their imaginations work overtime,” says the mother in Kay Marie Porterfield’s tale of recrimination over a crusty grandmother who likes to play a game called “Easter Rising.” Kathleen Lynch shows how booze can become more important than family. Sex is also prevalent in several kinky versions, although Phil Asaph’s teenage junkie knows “to a true Catholic anythin sexual is truly perverted.” In Sheila Mac Avoy’s story nothing really is said, but illicit sex is in the air. Robert Lacy and Pierce Butler reveal the power of the mother over the son, even as their protagonists wait for their mothers to die. Death adopts a curious smile as Maureen Walsh takes a loving look at a lively, eccentric godmother who, even in death, has the last laugh. Darcy Cummings’s poem recalls the drudgery of a family working to make ends meet; even the baby “mouths the red nipple / that is only memory, the cracked, sore breasts.” A solid, interesting collection of new voices. Poet Monaghan is the author of Winterburning.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
(It is Booklist policy that a book edited by a regular contributor receive a brief descriptive announcement rather than a recommending review.)
A hefty collection of stories and poems about the pains and pleasures of family–the institution that for Irish Americans, editor Monaghan observes, “both holds us up and holds us in.” The contributors are predominantly new writers with few books yet to their credit. Ray Olson