‘Ever since I read the line ‘Love takes a long and garrulous time to die’ (from ‘Be Born a Saint’) and found it imprinted on my memory for ever (or as long as my memory lasts, a proviso he would be careful to insert) I have been a little in awe of Pearse Hutchinson’s poems.
Underdogs, and underdog languages, he rushes to defend: ‘To kill a language is to kill one’s self’ (‘The Frost is All Over’). Merciless in his self-knowledge: doubts God (doubtfully) ‘but might not find it easy to refuse / if offered deification’; feels generous emotions, examines these, and also feels ‘one dry retch / of envy (that’s mine for sure)’ (‘Lyde’). He includes so much, the huge and the small – the noise, when clearing a cluttered kitchen table, that spent matches make against a silver spoon: it is time, more than high time, for this inclusive ‘Collected’.’
— P J Kavanagh