And in all I do / and say there's the scene / the heart prefers, // of that first loneliness / of trees / and northern birds. Seán Lysaght's retelling of the tradition that has it that Achilles reached Achill is emblematic of the range of this watchful poet's concerns. His field-trips in the west of Ireland, following the footsteps of pioneering naturalists, resulted in exact, distinctive early poems that refracted a local focus through broader perspectives. Alert to the exertions of human presence he repeatedly pays tribute to the splendours of Ireland's natural habitats. Excerpts from The O"""""' demonstrate in their awareness of the heroic migrations of sea-trout and salmon a capacity to explore ideas of language, self and identity in extended work. Poems from his Bird Sweeney' sequence include learning and lore as they conjure the frenzied movements of a cursed cleric in new variations on an archetype. Seán Lysaght's Selected Poems draws on the work of more than twenty years and five collections. Combining lyric darts and tracts of near-Wordsworthian contemplation, it is a carefully considered distillation of what Edward Larrissy praised in Stand as a poetry of observation, but also of meditation; a poetry where the everyday verges on the visionary'.
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