Saturday, April 01, 2006

Review of Leland Bardwell's The Noise of Masonry Settling

Thomas Dillon Redshaw had some very interesting observations to make about Leland Bardwell's The Noise of Masonry Settling in his review of the book in today's Irish Times:

Bardwell's new collection "confirms dimensions of her sensibility - one-shaped and irritated by Ireland in the easy and the difficult decades. Eschewing both received forms and overt metaphor, Bardwell returns here to poems of Brechtian bite, as in 'Office Vignette'; of editorial impulse, as in 'Prison Poem IV'; and of more durable, stripped-down mystery, as in 'Song' or 'Black in Achill'."

Indeed, Bardwell resists sentimental inceptions in even the gentler of these poems, as in 'The Violets of the Poor'. Because Bardwell's allusions and imagery insistently site her poems in discomfiting Irish realities, the more confessional of her poems properly end and begin in the mode of Blake: "I'll do the messages,/ Give me the poison drops/ From the orphan's tongue./ I'll pre-digest the wrong." Recalling the startling outsider verse of Bardwell's contemporary, Patrick Galvin, such lines remind us that Bardwell remains an outsider at home in Yeats's Sligo - unnaturalised in EU Ireland."

It is especially encouraging to see the book reviewed only a few weeks after publication.

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