New and Selected Poems by Ian Duhig: Heart-stopping, perfectly framed poetry

Hard to separate music from language in Duhig’s finely-tuned poems

Ian Duhig’s finely-tuned quatrains bring the ballad to mind especially when allied with his distinctive narrative themes – social injustice, history, politics and folklore

Ian Duhig’s finely-tuned quatrains bring the ballad to mind especially when allied with his distinctive narrative themes – social injustice, history, politics and folklore

Well, if I say to you your face
is like a slice of half-boiled turnip,
your hair is the colour of a lake’s bottom
and at the centre of each of your eyes
is the mark of the beast, it is because
I want to love you properly, according to Dinneen.
(From The Irish)

Ian Duhig’s New and Selected opens with one of his signature poems, From The Irish, concise, funny, beautifully timed, wearing its scholarship lightly. It is two love poems in one – one for the beloved, the other for language itself, both Irish and English. This love of an organic, ever-changing language, of duality, of naming, lies under every Duhig poem. In the words of Patrick Kavanagh, “Naming is the love act.”

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