Paul Durcan's twenty-second collection finds Monsieur le Poète on the road in Paris, New York City, Chicago, Brisbane, and Achill Island, meditating upon the sanctuary of home and what it means to feel truly at home.
Regarded by many as the great poet of contemporary Ireland, Durcan is on top form here as he contemplates the fall of the Celtic Tiger, while railing against bankers and 'bonus boys'. There are poems of love lost and won, and poems in memory of friends and relatives who have passed on, but there is also joy to be found in the birth of a grandson, and there is praise, too, for the modest heroism of truckers, air traffic controllers and nurses, those 'slim, sturdy, buxom nourishers' of fallen mankind. If for Sartre 'hell is other people', for Durcan 'heaven is other people, especially women'.
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A book filled with contemporary life, but the poems also have a way of evoking enduring human values, in all their odd tones and surprising textures, as much as the contemporary moment - Guardian Books of the Year
A poetry of encounter, of sidelong glances and exuberant strangeness. There will be many pleasures here for Durcan fans and aficionados - Irish Times
Superbly composed, uneasy, desperately witty and often startling… At his best, which he often surpasses in this book, he produces what blue, green and red make when mixed: a pure white light, the noble glow of true praise. In contemporary literature, and not just Irish poetry, Durcan is flying high. Noble may yet become Nobel - Irish Independent
One of the few genuinely popular poets of recent decades, a vital presence in Irish culture...entertaining, edgy, and with enough ironic self-awareness to make from such quirky subjects more than superficial reflections on his life and times. Durcan is the recording angel who preserves what could be lost, who brings tidings of change in some of the darker moments of history - Guardian
He is a prolific poet, and as he nears a venerable three-score years and 10, his prodigious output shows no signs of slowing… There will be many pleasures here for Durcan fans and aficionados - Irish Times
It was mesmerising and spellbinding and deeply affecting each poem received in awed silence - Herald
A personal journey through places and people I know - Irish Times
Paul Durcan is one of Ireland's foremost poets. He was born in Dublin in 1944. His first book, Endsville (1967), has been followed by more than twenty others, including The Berlin Wall Café (a Poetry Book Society Choice in 1985), Daddy, Daddy (winner of the Whitbread Award for Poetry in 1990), A Snail in My Prime: New and Selected Poems (1993), Cries of an Irish Caveman: New Poems (2001), The Art of Life (2004) and The Laughter of Mothers (2008). In 2009 he published a selection of his work from the previous forty years in one volume, Life is a Dream. In 2001 Paul Durcan received a Cholmondeley Award. He was the Ireland Professor of Poetry 2004-2007. In 2009 he was conferred with an honorary degree by Trinity College, Dublin. He is a member of Aosdána.