The Gallery Press in association with Poetry Ireland hopes you will join us to celebrate the publication of four new titles:
Thursday 26 September
Poetry Ireland, 11 Parnell Square E, Dublin 1
The Last Peacock by Gerald Dawe
Lucy Collins praised Gerald Dawe’s poetry for ‘the seriousness of its engagement with acts of remembering. The very brevity and precision challenges the ease with which the past can be deployed in the contemporary lyric, suggesting instead the risk-taking — both creatively and emotionally — that such investigations involve.’ (Poetry Ireland Review)
The Last Peacock celebrates the lives of family and friends while viewing with a questioning and ironic eye the present-day world of conflict and crisis from his ‘eyrie’ in south County Dublin and from the River Lagan following his return to his native Belfast. In the Dublin Review of Books Richard Hayes acknowledged ‘A poetry that trusts in the power of images’ as history — ‘the near dark’ — erupts in the smallest, out-of-the-way detail to produce a powerful and cohesive collection.
Marine Cloud Brightening by Medbh McGuckian
There will be an empty setting at the already laid table: it is his. — ‘Tree Portrait Taken at Dusk’
At the emotional heart of Marine Cloud Brightening is a series of elegies for fellow Irish poets and for the author’s younger brother. The damage to and demise of our planet is heralded in a number of ecological warnings. As Caitríona O’Reilly has written in The Irish Times, ‘Medbh McGuckian’s has always been an illusive, continually self-masking aesthetic . . . the strength of her poetry lies in her capacity for phrase-making; her prosody has the ring of complete conviction even when it deals in gorgeous abstraction . . . her historical ventriloquism is simply another layer in the multi-layered, self-conscious, and simmeringly symphonic work.’
The Gravity Wave by Peter Sirr
‘Peter Sirr draws on the classics — Homer, Catullus, Sappho — to ask if we, in comparison, live in a disenchanted world:
Diminished? Really? Gods don’t hold us, the temples
wither, the priests are all in sales
but the sun still shines, the oxen low
and the winedark sea is still as dark as wine.
He acknowledges world-traumas — the Final Solution, “Shahad, Rawan, Maram / this hand in the rubble / these broken shutters / shrapnel on the bed cover” — while risking, as Auden had it, a voice of affirmation and praise. I admire this book for how it registers the weight of the world, and also for its creative resistance to the brutality of the actual.
Sirr combines vivid forms, their hewn heft . . . with a felicitously wrongfooting weirdness all his own: “as if here we might be, when it’s all over, / walking through fields of Lidl”; “the deviceless avenue / notified by trees, alerted / by fuchsia, montbretia”. Each poem seems written with immense care, not only to arrange words scintillatingly, but also to preserve the briefest, most otherwise-ephemeral details. Reading these poems, we’re reminded that exactly where we’re vulnerable is where change is possible.’ — from the PBS judge’s citation
Selected Poems 1961-2017 by John Montague
Poems by John Montague, admired and loved, long ago etched themselves in the consciousness and culture of Ireland. At once prophetic and taking the measure of his family’s, his province’s and his country’s travails, they introduced an international breadth to Irish poetry in the middle of the 20th-century. Selected Poems 1961-2017 draws on each of John Montague’s collections, from Poisoned Lands (1961) and his major orchestrations (The Rough Field, 1972, The Great Cloak, 1978, and The Dead Kingdom, 1984) to the books which followed the publication of Collected Poems (1995) including his posthumous Second Childhood (2017). It isolates the solos from the larger musical arrangements and exalts a poet of enduring value. Chosen by Peter Fallon, his editor for more than thirty years, it displays the highlights of what Seamus Heaney described as ‘an oeuvre of epic sweep and lyric intensity’.