Hymn to a Young Demon (pub. Polygon, 2007):
“Here is a poetry collection with the richness and subtlety of a good malt. It can deliver a kick, but what remains is a runic, timeless savouring of finely distilled flavour. Aonghas MacNeacail thinks and writes in Gaelic, but his versions of his poems in English show no signs of being “translated.” They stand on their own as elegant, powerful statements. This is poetry stripped to the centre of meaning. His economy can be used to devastating polemical effect...jewel-like poems...his poems ring like song with the ancient authority of the language from which they come.” Alison Prince, The Herald.
“...long-awaited new collection from Aonghas MacNeacail. Prophetic, powerful, ranging from world events to pertinent intimacies, Laoidh an Donais Oig – Hymn to a Young Demon sings with anger, celebration and tenderness.” Janet Paisley, The Scotsman.
'Laoidh an Donais Oig' reviewed by Anna NicLeoid
Bha mi riamh den bheachd nach d'fhuair Aonghas MacNeacail an cliu agus an speis air a bheil e airidh. Tha an leabhar seo 'Laoidh an Donais Oig' a' dearbhadh sin. Tha an duine seo tuigseach, le beachd eadar-naiseanta air an t-saoghail. Ach cha d'chaill e greim a-riamh air na rudan a tha a' cunntais: gaol agus cridhe agus spiorad mac an duine. Tha a chuid bardachd breagha agus cumhachdach, aig an aon am. Miorbhaileach - cho math ri Derick MacThomais no duine sam bith eile sa ghinealach sin!
Rating: ***** On the Gaelic Books Council website
I've always thought that Aonghas MacNeacail hasn't received the respect or recognition he deserves. And this book 'Hymn for a Young Demon' confirms my assessment. This is a perceptive man, with an international perspective. But he has never lost his grip on what matters: love, heart and the human spirit. Beauty and power infuse his poetry simultaneously. Marvellous - as good as Derick Thomson or anyone else of that generation
An Turus (an opera, commissioned and performed by Paragon Ensemble, at Celtic Connections, 1998):
“By any standards, William Sweeney’s An Turus to text by Aonghas MacNeacail is a fine piece of work...an opera brilliantly of its time.” Mary Miller, The Scotsman.
“The first opera to feature a libretto in Gaelic...written by poet Aonghas MacNeacail, and directed by Gerda Stevenson, it re-enacted a tale from Gaelic myth to modern setting...a genuine opera in scope, form, emotional power, and dramatic presentation.” Kenny Matheson, The Herald.
“Willima Sweeney and poet Aonghas MacNeacail demonstrated that Gaelic opera is a viable artform...the potential to become a showpiece at international festivals. After all, a minority language has not prevented the operas of Janacek, the Czech composer, from being a world success. An Turus – The Journey – is an updated version of the Celtic legend Diarmid and Grainne. The story is as powerful as any Wagner devised and, when set to music firmly based in its own tradition, Gaelic is as lyrical as Italian, with MacNeacail’s text, full of symbolism and poetry.” J.L., Inverness Courier.