January 26 , 2008

In the Flesh


Adam O'Riordan's remarkable first collection traces the hidden paths from past to present, from the lost to the living, seeking familiarity in a world of 'false trails and disappearing acts'. Here relatives, friends and other absences are coaxed into life and urgently pressed on the reader as they surface, in the flesh.

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Journeys begin with indelible detail and open into new and astonishing landscapes of the head and the heart. Whether in graceful elegies for the dead or the charged lyrics of love and desire, poems cross space as well as time, from the 'blackened lung' of Victorian Manchester and the fateful events of the 1913 Derby, to enter a modern era of satellites and late night searches for lost lovers. At the heart of the collection lies the sonnet sequence 'Home', a slant look at the lives of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, intersected by more recent, sometimes unsettling, personal portraits.

Clear-eyed and sensuous, these are poems linked by a strong sense of place and presence, longing and loss; of history captured in an irrevocable moment. In the Flesh is a startling debut from one of our finest young British poets.

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