I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized How Perfectly the Parts Fit

How Perfectly the Parts Fit

Given Light, by Michael Coady, Gallery Press, 96 pp, €12.95, ISBN: 978-1911337300 The title poem of Michael Coady’s latest collection concerns a couple of trees planted in the early years of his marriage. The reader comes on it half-way through Given Light, at a point where the importance of interrelationships of people, families and earth has already emerged clearly. Its conclusion contemplates even larger connections; the poet looking at the moon between the trees is conscious of … this older self rooted in surprise here now on moonstruck Earth, breathing my share of its slim envelope of air while heart beats out its little time under this light while others I have known have gone ahead into a radiance or dark that’s absolute. That “slim” is almost the only place in the poem where he permits himself a small flourish of language; the plainness of expression throughout has already impressed on us the primacy of meaning and fact. And the pressing subject of loss through the deaths of friends, neighbours and also ancestors has been spelled out. Coady’s style is direct, even sometimes flat; it is not surprising that the book includes a number of prose pieces; and the black-and-white photographs at intervals support the emphasis on literal truths, genealogical detail. Occasional banalities of adjectives, “haunting cadence” for example, seem irrelevant to the insistence on the reality of his subjects. “On the Eve of a Tree-felling”, placed near the end of the book, returns to one of those trees, which has now grown so large it has to be cut down. While its fate is felt as tragic, the impression made by the poems taken as a whole is quite far from undiluted nature-worship. They are centred on Coady’s home town of Carrick-on-Suir, where the river and the countryside around are as essential to living as the air, but it is the presence of people, alive and dead, their relationships, memories, agreements and disagreements that fills them with life. His exclamation in the title poem, “How perfectly the parts seem to fit // as though designed for this” applies to the total effect. Single poems may appear initially to be just rising to an occasion, or capturing an eccentric connection, but their fitting together is organic. A poem addressed to the late Dennis O’Driscoll relates the progress of his funeral, a conceit worthy of the younger poet himself, with a…

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