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
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.
GREG DELANTY was born in Cork City, Ireland, and maintains dual citizenship in Ireland and the United States, where he now lives. He is the author of The Ship of Birth and The Blind Stitch, among many other books, and he has received numerous awards for his poetry, including a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship
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