PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review Blog
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Vahni Capildeo The Boisterous Weeping of Margery Kempe Paul Muldoon The Fly Sinead Morrissey Put Off That Mask Jane Yeh Three Poems Sarah Rothenberg Poetry and Music: Exile and Return

This review is taken from PN Review 146, Volume 28 Number 6, July - August 2002.

LINGUISTIC LUSTFULNESS PEARSE HUTCHINSON, Collected Poems (Gallery) Euro 17.50
CIARAN O'DRISCOLL, Moving On, Still There: New and Selected Poems (Dedalus) £7.95
NIGEL McLOUGHLIN, At the Waters' Clearing (Flambard & Ballyclare: Black Mountain) £7.00

Towards the beginning of his long poetic career, Pearse Hutchinson published poems in The Bell - then still under Sean O'Faolain's editorship - and John Ryan's short-lived Envoy. These two journals valiantly combated the provincialism of post-war Irish culture, promoting connections between Irish literature and, in particular, European writing. Both guttered out in the culturally airless Irish atmosphere of the early 1950s, though they were succeeded by Liam Miller's crucial Dolmen Press, which would publish Hutchinson's first book, Tongue Without Hands, in 1963. During this period, Hutchinson left an Ireland he saw as hidebound and insular for continental Europe, to spend almost a decade in Spain, thus inaugurating his work as translator from Catalan and Galaico-Portuguese (a volume of his translations, Done into English, is forthcoming from Gallery). During these years, he also published the first of his many Irish-language poems.

Hutchinson's Iberian sojourn colours many of the opening poems in this longoverdue Collected Poems; the vantage-point of Spain allows the poet to look again at the cramped horizons of Ireland after the socalled 'Emergency':

Cicada, Chameleon, lagarto:
exotic names have come to mean
more than exotic creatures: they mean Spain,
a youthful healing of some northern shame...

Though Spain constitutes a 'liberation from green fields', once 'half-understood', it somehow comes to be 'their explanation, and their praise'. To the chameleon and cicada, the poem now adds the resonant 'yellow bittern', the subject of a famous poem, 'An ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image