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Sour Hill

Gary Allen




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Sour Hill is a book-length poem set in the townland of the same name in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

It tells the story of a particular place through the voices of the different peoples who have invaded, settled, lived and died there. The Viking raids, the arrivals of the Moravians, the Irish War of Independence, the ‘Troubles’, the encouragement of urbanisation – all have indelibly marked this once-isolated townland.

But these are not mere representations of impersonal history. Allen explores the individual, idiosyncratic voices of those who have been damaged or corrupted by life.

More than a geographical location Sour Hill is an interplay of voices – the ghosts that somehow cling on to old houses and woods that have long since disappeared; the Irish servant girls revelling in gossip; congregations steeped in religious faith but content in their hypocrisies; and the public men, the builders, architects and men of business who cleared the land and built public buildings, halls and suburban houses. All have space to tell their story and reveal their truths.

Yet, ultimately, Sour Hill is about the indestructibility of the land and the endless adaptability of life itself.


About the author:

Gary Allen was born in Ballymena. He has published several collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, and two novels. Widely published in international literary magazines and anthologies in Ireland, UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, he has been described as one of the most interesting and intriguing of the post-Heaney generation of Northern Irish poets.


84  pages

ISBN: 978-1-910996-24-9

Greenwich Exchange Category: Poetry

Series: None



Other books by Gary Allen published by Greenwich Exchange:

Jackson's Corner




‘Gary Allen is the type of poet I admire: he writes with passion and assurance, a poetry which is alive with real character and galvanised by the tensile potency of his language.’

Nigel McLoughlin