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Southward

Poems

64 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations

Poetry

  Hardcover / 9780807117330 / March 1992
  Paperback / 9780807117347 / March 1992

In “Home from Home,” Greg Delanty encapsulates an immigrant’s lament: “I’m in a place, but it is not in me.” A native of Ireland who now spends much of his time in the United States, Delanty has assembled inSouthward a collection of poems whose settings are predominantly Cork City and County Kerry, in the southernmost part of the Irish Republic, a region warmed by the Gulf Stream and by a people whose language is as vivid as the area’s abundant wild fuchsia. In “The Fuchsia Blaze,” Delanty writes:


The purple petticoated 
& crimson frocks
of the open flowers
are known as Dancers, blown by the fast & slow
airs of the wind;
one minute sean-nós melancholy,
the next jigging & reeling 
like Irish character itself 
& like these, my fuchsia verse,
struggling to escape 
the English garden
& flourish
in a wilder landscape

In many of the poems Delanty evokes the Ireland that was and is, while in others he mourns the loss of a lover, the death of his father, separation from his mother. In “The Emigrant’s Apology,” through a haunting image of a black-scarfed woman worshiping alone, he describes his mother, who, with the loss of her husband and the scattering of her family, is a symbol of the grief of separation from his mother. In “The Emigrant’s Apology,” through a haunting image of a black-scarfed woman worshiping alone, he describes his mother, who, with the loss of her husband and the scattering of her family, is a symbol of the grief of separation.

Always home in the natural world, even in his adopted landscape, Delanty closes the book with a handful of poems set in the United States. The imagery of these latter poems ranges from a quiet pond in southern Florida to a military base on the border of Canada, and their concerns range from the personal to the political. 

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