Increasingly accomplished, thoughtful and moving, Frank Dullaghan’s poetry is confident, elegant and accessible. His lucid style displays a humanity and experience that gives these pieces depth and makes them resonate long after reading. Reaching into memory and tracing the experiences that form us, there is a sweet-bitter wistfulness here, but never sentimentality; always moving to the heart of things, whether with affectionate humour or breath-taking insight, so the dark man looking back on the briefly blond haired boy that he was writes:
It was like we shared
the heartbreak of it – that short time
when her world was perfect
and I shone in it like the sun.
This collection is alive with people, including those who may be absent or deceased. All the poems feel like conversations, some with named dedicatees or family members, some poems responding to each other in matched pairs or sequences. In Frank Dullaghan’s writing, the remembered past and the real-world present (memorably, here, in first-hand experience of the Arab world) are held up with equal warmth and scrutiny. In the words of one poem, ‘Look how joined-up we are’. This is joined-up thinking of a high order – head with heart, honesty with humour, the everyday detail with the deep concerns of life.
Praise for previous collections:
Frank Dullaghan’s quietly spoken poems move between tenderness and terror with a humane warmth. They deal with the business of the world as experienced by a fully human being. The language follows and embraces a wide range of affairs, touching on loved, known and dangerous things – the texture of experience – lightly, unfussily, with a lovely ear for the plain cadence that is, for most of us, the sweet-sad music of being alive. - George Szirtes