A Present of Quince
From her mother’s story of riding on the milk-cart in 1919, an adventure that starts in high good humour and ends with a child’s first glimpse of death, to a tribute to the indomitable lady who decided to excavate Sutton Hoo in 1938, Jenny McMahon brings us the fruits of a long life’s clear-eyed celebration, in poems so well made that they might even win an approving nod from Hannah Mortimer, her Great-Grandmother, who
knew drawn thread-work and every chasing loop
or knobble of sheened cotton.
This is “handwork” of a different kind but it carries just as much of a family’s history, and promises to be just as longlasting.
Jenny McMahon’s lively, philosophical and witty poems please with beauty and tease with subtlety in equal measure. They are the fruits of an amply-stocked mind rich in its range of interest, understanding and compassion. There is a refreshing variety of themes, with frequent use of the memory of Jennifer’s own life, from childhood on.
Jennifer has a also a strong feeling for the ‘how’ of poetry – the craftsmanship that delights with the recognition of the exact and often unexpected word, and the shaking-awake of piercing endings.
Ann Philips, Librarian and Fellow Emerita of Newnham College Cambridge
About Jenny McMahon
Jenny McMahon was born in Doncaster in 1932. She worked in editing before marrying. When her two children were grown she qualified and practised as a drama therapist for fifteen rewarding years. She has written a sequence of poems recording that experience.
Jenny wrote poetry from the age of seven and vividly recalls the mental scuffle that initiated that practice. It gave a sense of identity and meaning to a childhood spent largely apart from her parents. who were in the Colonial Service.
Click on the link to watch Sybill Mitchell reading Jenny’s poems