Retired Consul Publishes a Lifelong Collection of Poetry

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“IONA” reveals poet Martin Lahiff’s journey through four major phases in life.

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Retired consul Martin Lahiff has published several nonfiction books including “His Way” (1996), “To Build a Cross” (1997), “Two Histories” (1998), the autobiographical “Rancho Minovi” (2001), and “Cien Poemas” (2003). After a decade of silence, Lahiff returns to publish his book, “The Other Side,” and his latest anthology of handpicked poems grouped into four phases of his life, titled “IONA.”

According to its brief introduction, Lahiff’s new poetry collection is composed of four parts, each roughly matching a changing scene in the author-poet’s long life, perhaps in an effort to achieve a sort of reader sympathy for the deficiencies and excesses that show in poetic outbursts owing to flaming youth, midlife crises, and aged omniscience.

Part I, titled “Iona,” after a small island off the coast of Scotland, marks Lahiff’s college years when his discovery of immortal poets and poetry fueled his passion for writing. Part II captures his return to poetry after a long hiatus following “Iona.” Part III finds him in the bureaucratic doldrums, while a final Part IV poetically chronicles the events that led him to publish his compelling works of nonfiction, following an unpoetic surgery.

A treasure trove of about six dozen poems spanning six decades, “IONA” is a remarkable literary collection that traces one man’s lifelong journey through poignant poetry. Lahiff denies our enthusiastic claim that his work has made a dent in the universe, saying the dent happened when he failed to signal on the road to Coatepec. He says his contribution to humanity is limited to those who buy his book.

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About the Author
Martin Lahiff, like all poets, cannot explain why he has spent over 80 years under what William Shakespeare might have called the “spell of the Muse.” His book, “IONA,” records the raids of the Muse over the course of his lifetime, from his early college enlightenments at a school by that name in New Rochelle, N.Y., through the civil rights and hippie movements of the 60s in San Francisco, the misery of Communist Europe, the emergence of Moslems in the East, 30 years deep in Mexico due to another kind of spell that has lasted 53 years, and his job as a U.S. Consul. It all comes together in the book that he has to offer to at least the few who understand the insistence of the Muse.

Lahiff and his wife and musette, Cecilia Rogel, have found last refuge in Patagonia, Ariz., a high desert town far enough away amid rolling green hills watered by high peaks and populated by writers and readers who will know what he is talking about. His verses, with meter and at least internal rhyme, qualify as the music that he says makes poetry. To get there, his Muse needs help. Beyond that, his main concern is the need for a baseball and soccer sandlot closer in to town.

IONA * by Martin Lahiff
Publication Date: October 4, 2013
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 130 pages; 978-1-4931-0127-6
Trade Hardback; $29.99; 130 pages; 978-1-4931-0128-3
e-book; $3.99; 130 pages; 978-1-4931-0129-0

Members of the media who wish to review this book may request a complimentary paperback copy by contacting the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (812) 355-4079 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879.

For more information on self-publishing or marketing with Xlibris, visit To receive a free publishing guide, please call (888) 795-4274.

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