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This review is taken from PN Review 159, Volume 31 Number 1, September - October 2004.

ANOTHER COUNTRY MICHAEL COADY, One Another (Gallery Press) €13.90 pb/€22.50 hb

Michael Coady's latest collection continues in the tradition of compendium or miscellany to which his readers will already be accustomed: predominantly verse, there is however something for everyone in this collection, ranging from short prose narrative, through ballad and haiku, to elegy and ponderous lyric.

Coady is a lifelong resident of Carrick on Suir, a small town in county Tipperary, Munster, Ireland. This geographical distinction is by no means unimportant as the significance of place and history and one's position within them are central themes in this ten part offering.

Provincial or parochial? Patrick Kavanagh claimed the precedence of the latter and the small town Irish poet can scarcely avoid dwelling on the importance or not of their `local row', or on which `gods make their own importance'. Indeed, we are not denied Homeric parallels as Coady playfully delights in recounting the genesis of a modern ballad, `The Carrick Nine' which takes as its heroes the eponymous male denizens and their attempt to navigate the river Suir as far as Waterford - `urbs intacta' - falling prey along the way to temptation, `not by flesh and blood sirens, but by barrels of Smithwicks beer'.

The subject matter is light but Coady's tongue-in-cheek exegesis in `Domains in Flux' provides an entertaining, schoolmasterly insight into Irish verse tradition, ballad metre, and theories of semiotics and literary transmission.

The strength of the oral tradition and vernacular speech patterns surfaces in the various narrative shorts ...


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