There Now: Poems

Eamon Grennan. Graywolf, $16 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-55597-754-2

The latest collection from poet and translator Grennan (Matter of Fact) bursts with a fullness of life as he delights in observing landscapes, art, and all things ornithological. It’s a birdlike awareness, he notes, “that keeps you keeping a peeled eye on them/ in their infinitely minute changes of colour/ as each speedy heartbeat hammers its own brisk/ rivet of breath into the air you’re staring through/ at them.” Grennan, who splits his time between the Hudson Valley and the west of Ireland, uses language to texture the natural world’s array of colors, changes of season, and myriad sounds. He conveys the fleeting scenes he witnesses through poems of subtle rhyme and adept alliteration: “grass glows a shade of grey/ recalling what daylight does to operatic cloudbanks/ while across open fields brimming with silver-smitten/ shapes of thornbushes and sycamore leaves and spiny/ stilled rushes a single swan-white cottage glows.” Elsewhere, he watches a pregnant cow, with the fetus “soft-pulsing in tune and time to its mother’s entranced/ and steadily ruminative chewing.” Whether he’s savoring the word truffle, recording the sensations of standing inside a Richard Serra sculpture, or listening to rats in his attic, Grennan finds that “all is language settling and unsettling the world.” (Oct.)
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