American Wake

Greg Delanty, Author Blackstaff Press $13.95 (61p) ISBN 978-0-85640-549-5
These poems whirl and veer about a topic that lies at the center of much of the best Irish writing of this century: exile. In Delanty's hands, the issue is quite humbly (and refreshingly) domesticated, brought not only down to earth but to the Bronx, to his adopted Vermont, cherished for its snow, which ""covers/ any resemblance/ to that other one/ & its perpetual row."" Still, one feels the longing in the voice, and at times the seducer seems set upon an Irish prey, not an American one. The collection is none the worse for that, however, for Delanty's voice indeed is Irish--making music of earthenware, a poetry ""hewn out of bones"" and displaying a deceptively casual mastery of form and softly muffled rhyme. Although there are a few throwaways here, and the final section may strike some readers as an all-too-grand (and unnecessary) summing up, this is an ambitious and smartly wrought meditation on over there from over here--the fifth province, as the poet would have it, ""where all exiles naturally land."" (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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