If any Galway-based poet deserves publication and decent critical acknowledgement for her literary work (in drama, no less than in poetry) it’s Patricia Burke Brogan, whose ‘new and selected’ is overdue. The title means (in aviation terms) a ‘take-off’ or, more mundanely, an ‘unsticking’; a breaking away, if you like. The cover is a painting, ‘Gaillimh,’ by Brogan. The overall production values of this enterprising independent publisher are extremely high.
I admit to having always been a supporter of Patricia Burke Brogan’s work, understanding too that she was miserably treated by some who wanted to piggy-back creatively on the success of her revelatory play, ‘Eclipsed.’ The poems here range widely in content and reach - there is a poem, ‘Haunted Space,’ written to commemorate the occasion of ‘Eclipsed’ first being produced in the innovative (and, consequently, now gone) Punchbag Theatre, Galway. There is a strong historical awareness running through some of the poems, mingling deftly with discussions on painting and painters, notions of spiritual intimation.
Patricia Burke Brogan’s language does not require decoding and it’s strength lies in this; the reader is aware of an underlying fierce gentleness, a slicing critical eye, coupled with a deceptive simplicity and a disarming linguistic beauty. A good glossary concludes the collection.
All in all, a solid and worthy collection of poems
by a mature and disciplined poet of whom more should have been heard long
before now. Unlike some others, this ‘New and Selected’ was long-awaited
and is a welcome brief of fresh air in a stale room. Congratulations to Galway-based
-From Fred Johnston, Kiosque Review
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