Discovering Paul Durcan

A poet I’ve discovered recently whilst on holiday in Ireland is Paul Durcan. ‘Discovered’ is not quite the right word as he was a poet I was aware of but hadn’t got around to reading properly. He has a new collection out and so was all over the Irish papers while we were there. ‘All over’ is again something of an exaggeration for an interview and a review of ‘Praise in which I live and Move and have My Being’ in the Irish Times. A poet on the front page of the newspaper would have been quite a thing but alas it didn’t happen.

While we were in May we visited the Museum of Country Life at Turlough – a fine place to find out about how people used to live. I was browsing the poetry in their shop – Yeats, Heaney and Durcan when the manageress came and put a pile of about half a dozen copies of ‘Praise’ next to me. The collection opens with a poem about a woman in an Irish bookshop taking it upon herself to sign copies of her own book On Glimpsing a Woman in Hodges Figgis Bookshop in Dublin”. I have never heard of Amanda Brucker but you didn’t need to in order to get the point of the poem. So there I was with this book in my hand with some irresistible poems in it and so I had to buy it but I bought it to give to my father in law. There you thought I’d broken my no new books rule (unless they are to do with Malta and for research purposes). My father in law had already told me he mostly reads only poetry these days and was pleased to be given it.

The only question is whether I should start with one of Durcan’s older collections or buy my own copy of ‘Praise’.

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