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Winter 2022, Breakwater Books

Land of the Rock
Talamh an Carraig
By (author): Heather Nolan
Heather Nolan


Breakwater Books - St. John's



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Mar 07, 2022
Print Run: 400
$19.95 CAD


7.75in x 5 x 0.25 in | 0.25 kg

Page Count:

64 pages
Breakwater Books Ltd
Breakwater Books
POETRY / Women Authors

A poetic exploration of place and belonging, a quest that takes the speaker across the ocean in search of identity and origin.

The speaker in the poems that form Land of the Rock: Talamh an Carraig travels through Newfoundland and Ireland looking for meaning in words, places, and behaviour. Whether the subject is tourists on Fogo Island, conversations on Inis Oírr, flora and fauna of the Burren, or accents in Waterford, Nolan translates this sensory data into a narrative of someone seeking a sense of belonging in a lost ancestral culture. In Land of the Rock, the lost utopia of Gaelic Ireland, which is interwoven through Irish writing and consciousness, is reimagined and displaced across the Atlantic.

Heather Nolan is a neurodiverse writer from St. John’s, NL. They are the author of This Is Agatha Falling (Pedlar Press, 2019), which was longlisted for the BMO Winterset Award and the ReLit Award. They have published poetry and prose across Canada, the US, and the UK. They were the winner of the Gregory J. Power Poetry Award, and were longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. This is their first poetry collection.

“Nolan's debut collection offers a nod to The Grey Islands but, unlike Steffler's willfully secluded speaker, these poems seek other people (and other islands) to gauge against, cautioning that there's ‘no point / trying to keep anything out, / anything in.’ By turns critical and tender, Land of the Rock lets land, weather, and people wash over itself. Readers are reminded, like a lapping wave both gnawing and refreshing, that ‘here we are like cracked foundations / and here we are and / here we are.’”

- Douglas Walbourne-Gough, author of Crow Gulch

“The elemental seduction of sea and sky lives inside Heather Nolan’s Land of the Rock: Talamh an Carraig, with weather systems that mirror one another. In Newfoundland, the wind that sweeps over the house like a wave, and then in Ireland, the heady winds encountered in Galway Bay. Nolan’s poetry explores notions of how landscape works within the context of cultural and linguistic geographies, mindfully mapping out connections between one place and another. An ocean of time and space, they seem to say, will never sever the ties of ancestry and story.”

- Kim Fahner, author of These Wings

“With a musician’s ear and the eye of a hurricane, Heather Nolan mudlarks through the weatherworn landscapes of Newfoundland and Ireland, salvaging truth from the detritus of tourism and economic hardship. This is wily, perceptive poetry that ‘winks / and then turns a backflip’ as it brings to light the mineral veins of language and lived experience that still link communities across the Atlantic.”

- Matthew Hollett, author of Optic Nerve

“In this beautifully balanced collection, Heather Nolan considers the notion of how we come to meet our different ancestral stories, and then how we mine the past to find ourselves in the present places and spaces. For those of Irish descent, it’s an exploration of ideas that might haunt more than a few of us. Beyond that, though, Nolan’s collection roots you as a reader in geographical landscapes that echo one another, but encourages you to journey further, to consider how place and ancestry can influence identity, language, and story.”

- Kim Fahner, Periodicities

"Again and again, language—dialects and tongues—proves a pivotal throughline. Although it was serendipitous that I picked up [Land of the Rock: Talamh an Carraig and The Vernacular Strain in Newfoundland Poetry] together, in another way it’s no coincidence at all."

- Joan Sullivan, The Telegram

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