Waves and Trees is a book of unusual light, filled with scintillations, gleams, glints and glistenings. A series of delicate formal shapes, all rhymes and rhythms, follows a number of longer poems and together they meld the matter of contemporary Dublin suburbs with new, and renewed, bucolics, and a personal, familial world with historical dramas of an ancient European empire. A sequence of twenty sonnets amounts to a meditation on a seventeenth-century, landlocked capital filtered through the lens of living there.
Taking poems by Valéry and Petr Borkovec as touchstones, the book explores also the undulations of forest across the interior of Europe, its rivers rising in flood and leaving flood-plains — all this ghosted by the seacoast of the author’s native city. Justin Quinn’s Prague is a place of Baroque cathedrals and global street parades brought to life and clearly seen in ‘the lightness filling up these rooms.