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Book Reviews
Colm Tóibín - On Elizabeth Bishop
The Irish writer Colm Tóibín has had a long fascination with the American poet Elizabeth Bishop whose poems he discovered in the 1970s. This engrossing 200-page study broadens out into an exploration of the role of silence and suppression after trauma occurs. Bishop's father died when she was 8 months old. In 1916, when the poet was 5, her mother was signed into a mental hospital. They never met again and her mother died in 1934. P K
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Junction City Eamonn Wall
The Wexford poet and academic Eamonn Wall has resided in various cities of the United States since 1982 and his Irish accent bears traces of disparate influences. This new selection of verse of poems published by Salmon Poetry between1990 and 2015 is the ideal place to start. Wall continues to weave a spell bound up with transatlantic crossings which enrich his work to such impressive effect. P K
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Over Our Heads Andrew Fox
The young Irish writer Andrew Fox (born Dublin 1985) now resides in New York and his first collection crackles with tales from both sides of the ocean, wandering pretty much at ease through the social strata in the case of his native Ireland, and deftly charting urban American life in a number of the 15 stories. Recommended. Paddy Kehoe
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Inspired Notes Tomas Tranströmer
The renowned Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer - who died on March 26 last, aged 83 - won the Nobel prize for Literature in 2011, the citation referring to his “condensed, translucent images” which gave us “fresh access to reality.” Many of the poems collected here in this Dedalus Press publication (which combines two previously published volumes) are operating in the dark recesses of the psyche and the poet worked for most of his life as a psychologist. Exceptional work and a profoundly humane sensibility.. PK
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The Days of Surprise by Paul Durcan
A Paul Durcan poem featured on the recent shortlist for A Poem For Ireland, itself a measure of his immense popularity in this country. The poet’s ever-changing moods range from devastating social satire, madcap comedy, elegy and wry expressions of outrage on behalf of those who feel left out. The poem 1916 Not to Be Commemorated is Durcan at his corrosive best. Paddy Kehoe
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