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This review is taken from PN Review 11, Volume 6 Number 3, January - February 1980.

THE STAMP OF LIFE Anthony Cronin, Collected Poems 1950-1973 (New Writers Press, Dublin) £3.00

It is rarely enough that one comes across a book of poems which actually interests one, and when it happens to be a book which was never circulated in England, for review or otherwise, there is a moral duty to draw attention to it, if one has the means at one's disposal. The fact that this book is six years old, and still unknown here, is a reflection on the ineffectuality of the channels of circulation, choked at both ends, perhaps, with inferior and certainly too plentiful verse.

I have to declare an interest in the work of Anthony Cronin since I was acquainted with a long poem of his, "R.M.S. Titanic", which appeared in the second number of the Magazine X in March, 1960, and Cronin was closely associated with the magazine (edited by David Wright and Patrick Swift) which, with No. 4 of its seven numbers, began to publish my work. Before I saw the present volume no other poem of Cronin's, so far as I can recall, crossed my path, though I was aware-not least, though not only, from the autobiographical Dead as Doornails-that Cronin wrote a prose with that glinting quality which is to be observed in the best Irish prose-writers and which perhaps constitutes a larger contribution to the literature of the English language than all the twilights and romanticisms of Irish verse from Tom Moore onwards.

About the verse of Cronin there is neither twilight nor romanticism, and it ...


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