The word ‘because’ recurs so often in Eamon Grennan’s vibrant collection that it signals an ongoing impulse to answer questions of being, and of being a body. Whether attending to the quietude of a Connemara mare or the frantic vitality of a wren in a bush or a painting’s mesmerizing details, whether contemplating the destruction of innocent victims of political violence or measuring the effects of time in domestic or erotic contexts, his imagination — at once elegiac, sceptical and celebratory — continues to wrestle with attempts to say what it means to be alert in the moment, whether the moment opens into memory or is lodged exactly in a present fact. As the poems in But the Body confirm and several of his titles suggest (‘World As Is’, ‘The Day That’s In It’) Eamon Grennan’s ‘migrant heart’ pulses strongly in descriptive language, enriched by assonance and consonance, that aims to make sense of the felt, immediate world.
. . . we stood in the light
of the there-and-then world that has become the here and now
of the world as is.’
‘Grennan’s inclusive, non-partisan embrace of ‘the things of this world’ hints at a spiritual openness reminiscent of the early Chinese Buddhist teachers . . . Aware that meaning inheres in that border zone where the ‘scrubbed exactitudes’ of our world give way to that ‘dimmer thing’, the ambient world that haloes what is perceptible to our senses, Grennan dwells sometimes exuberantly, sometimes grievingly, but always intently, in both worlds.’ — New England Review