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This interview is taken from PN Review 174, Volume 33 Number 4, March - April 2007.

Greg Delanty in Conversation Catherine Phil MacCarthy

Catherine Phil MacCarthy: Your poems suggest a good relationship with your father from childhood into adulthood. Would you describe your childhood as a happy one?

Greg Delanty: My feelings and thoughts regarding my father are somewhat separate from the question of whether my childhood was a happy one. 'Happy' seems to me one of the strangest words in the language. And when does child-hood begin and end? I think that all adults can have of their childhood in a conscious way are clips and snippets set off by the senses. So many lasting poems have issued from this zone - well-known sections of Wordsworth's 'Prelude' for instance, or Dylan Thomas's 'Poem In October'. Edward Thomas's poem 'Old Man' deals with this issue of memory. Memory, Mnemosyne, of course, is the mother of the muses. Some of my memories are happy, some not so happy, even miserable etc. But how true are they beyond the truth of memory one can never know. I think if I had to answer that question then my abiding memory-feeling now is a vague incomprehensible feeling of being lost.

I always felt safe in my father's company and not lost, and that he was the most ordinary, unassuming person I ever met. It is all in the poems.

There are poems to and about your mother. In the later elegiac poem 'Mother' she stands for something larger than herself.

Yes, in ...


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