Books : Poetry

Waking My Mother  (Word Press, 2013)

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“If art is what we do to break bread with the dead (Auden), and rhyme and meter are the table manners (Heaney), then Angela Alaimo O’Donnell’s hard-won, well-wrought, acoustically sumptuous poems set forth a proper feast: haunting, abundant, free of pieties.   As with any good wake, here the living and the dead behold one another. The kinship is astonishing.”-Thomas Lynch

Saint Sinatra and Other Poems (Word Press, 2011)

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“In Saint Sinatra, O’Donnell offers-with textured terms, savory wit, and estimable learning-an exhilarating hagiography, one that insists that whatever it is we choose to become, we begin here in the midst of our heavy-laden days, and together.” – Scott Cairns

“These are extraordinary poems, lucent, crafted, a-shine with life! O’Donnell’s book is a hymn of praise that celebrates the least as well as the greatest, the secular and the holy, art and reality, “the maker and the made.” Placed strategically throughout the book are six poems of “heresy,” because nothing is simple here: firm in its faith, St. Sinatra sings, and sings all things. I do not exaggerate: this book took my breath away.” – Kelly Cherry

Moving House (98 pgs, Word Press, 2009)

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“There is more than a touch of Elizabeth Bishop in these carefully constructed poems by Angela Alaimo O’Donnell. A quiet, but profound power is released in poem after poem as the poet exercises her talent for finding the unexpected blessings secreted within all the moments of our lives – even those that are most quotidian. From the tiny ‘pleasure of slicing celery’ to the ‘tornado that ripped/ the roof off your life,’ O’Donnell’s poetic world is continually replenished by a spiritual omnipresence that manifests itself as ordinary and domestic, but is nothing less transformative than grace.” – Kate Daniels

“In Moving House, her aptly-named first book of poems, Angela Alaimo O’Donnell demonstrates both her versatility and her mettle, flint-fiery and tender by turns. Here is a collection of grace-filled, gritty, vulnerable lyrics, rife with surprises at every turn, inscribed in a language we quickly come to trust. Here is the record of someone who has been through the fire and the pit, and emerged – thanks to a fierce wit and a hard-won faith – whole and healing. Hers is a welcome addition to the great tradition of religious poets, writing in an idiom we will recognize, a voice as much at home with Dante as with Melville and Van Gogh.” – Paul Mariani

Mine (Finishing Line Press, 2007)

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“With uncanny eye and ear, unfailing wit and heart, O’Donnell’s poems of hearth and home illuminate what is new even as they attend to what has been. I savor the grace by which what is Mine becomes what is ours. – Scott Cairns

“These are lovely poems that embrace unlovely realities – the hard life of ‘Coal Town,’ the families that labor beneath its ashen skies, the death of the father, and the loves of the mother, spiritual hope dogged by spiritual despair. It is O’Donnell’s superb, inspired language and forgiving imagination, of course, that survive the ‘slag heaps/ where culm dumps rise camel-backed,’ and in so doing, remind us of the salvation inherent in the art of poetry when it is performed at an exceptionally high level. Such is the quality of the finely crafted poems of Angela O’Donnell’s Mine.” – B.H. Fairchild

“Gritty and tender by turns, the poems in Angela Alaimo O’Donnell’s Mine evoke a lost world – the world of an Italian immigrant family pitted and shaped by Pennsylvania’s mining world. There’s such a trenchant bite and unswerving gaze in these poems, and yet a sense of the real value of these people, who would otherwise go nameless, except for the care and honor O’Donnell evokes from this world which might so easily otherwise have lacked a local habitation and a name, a luminescence against the ravages of time.”                – Paul Mariani

Waiting for Ecstasy: A Chapbook of Poems  (Franciscan University Press 2009)

Available from the author (email aodonnell@fordham.edu)            

Waiting For Ecstasy is a new chapbook by Angela Alaimo O’Donnell. It reads like Lives of the Saints. O’Donnell has been a professor at Jesuit institutions for her teaching career. Naturally, her works reflect the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola and the influences of Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, S. J. Like the English devotional poet, Geoffrey Hill, her poems here honor saints and martyrs.  Yet, not all of these poems are tributes to saints canonized by the Church. She makes saints of artists–like Vincent Van Gogh, Herman Melville, Anne Sexton, Antonio Saliere, and Frank Sinatra. The mark of the best poetry is evident here: the presence of  lines inspired by suffering and sacrifice.–Michael Lythgoe

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