What Light There Is by Eamon Grennan was published first in 1987 to the unanimous approval of reviewers:
‘a wonderful discovery.’
— Hugh Bredin, Fortnight
An American edition of What Light There Is was shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Award for Poetry.
‘The Irish poet now residing in the U.S. makes his American debut with verse that celebrates the quotidian — a child’s first day at school, a son and mother curling up together, a bird crashing into a window. Grennan’s persona goes for a walk and comes home to his children, “nuzzling them awake / with my rimey beard and the names of birds / I’d seen.” Birds and other animals are ever-present, treated with a compassion the poet extends to all living creatures. Flies swarming around the “raspberry”-red belly of a dead rabbit are likened to the animal’s lovers. Grennan makes loss as tender as love; without chronicling the nature or process of his separation, the persona finds himself missing his children. “Daughter Lying Awake,” told in the voice of a youth learning of her grandfather’s death, is a small masterpiece. The sight of a neighbor walking a dog reminds the narrator of his father “hastening . . . home to the wife / who, when he leaves her behind, will run aground with grief / at being no one in the world.”’ — Publishers Weekly