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)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Next Issue Sasha Dugdale, Intimacy and other poems Eugene Ostashevsky, The Feeling Sonnets Nyla Matuk, The Resistance Alex Wylie, Democratic Rags Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Two poems from the archive
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review Blog
Monthly Carcanet Books

This review is taken from PN Review 1, Volume 4 Number 1, October - December 1977.

ON THE PERIPHERY Padraic Fallon, Poems (1974), Dolmen Press and Oxford University Press.

Brought up in Galway and working for most of his life as a customs official in Wexford, Fallon knew the parochial hinterland of Ireland, not as pastoral or legendary terrain, but in its actual hidebound lethargy, marginal ('our wedge / Of world, here on the very edge') and yet circumscriptive ('the eye / And the boundary of his being'). It is 'the one simple thing, matter', which dominates his landscapes, where 'Men with meanings/Inside' must 'endure the wide stare of things'. The small houses of Wexford, 'laboured up from bits of earth', risk absorption back into the mud, like the 'tiny trickle' of the soul itself in another poem 'Dwindling back into the earth'. The world Fallon depicts has 'exhausted history', locked in the 'Eternal precincts/Of a huge present tense' where old men sit on the jetty,


Unhinged now from giant epics
And with as little space as
Dead starfish.


For Fallon, birth is 'a passport into things', bringing the 'displaced person'


To take up residence in the usual fears,
Loves and longings of the starbacked earth.


In its recurrent counterpoint of 'the usual' and the unexpected, the providential entrance or departure, his poetry finds its accustomed tensions. Love is 'the miracle' that 'Will open up the land'; Christmas 'On the west periphery' seems at first to be an event happening 'Elsewhere':

no


New ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image